Archive for the ‘Forward Music Fest’ Category

Forward Music Fest Recap: Part II

September 25, 2009


photo of Alan Sparhawk by DJ Hochstettler

photo of Alan Sparhawk by DJ Hostettler

Words by DJ Hostettler

The Saturday of the Forward Music Fest was all about one band for me—Low. I hadn’t seen Duluth’s Mormon balladeers in well over ten years, and it had gotten so bad that I couldn’t tell you the name of one of their songs if you threatened me with a forced preview of the new Vampire Weekend album. But I remembered them as the band that could teach every sad bastard playing sad bastard music on the planet how the hell it’s done, and I didn’t wanna miss it. Fortunately, they were slated to hit the stage at the High Noon Saloon at 6 p.m., allowing me to see what was likely to be the best show of the festival before heading back to Milwaukee to see some touring friends at the Borg Ward. All too easy. 


Forward Music Fest Recap: Part I

September 23, 2009


photo of the New Loud by DJ Hostettler

photo of the New Loud by DJ Hostettler

Words By DJ Hostettler

While doing some shopping at B-Side Records on State Street before the bands started on Saturday, I overheard some of the store employees echoing a sentiment I had been hearing from a few other people regarding this year’s Forward Music Festival in Madison: “where’s the draw this year?” Sure, acts like Andrew Bird and Low are nothing to sneeze at, but when compared to last year’s diverse three-pronged attack of Neko Case, Bob Mould, and local legends Killdozer, this year’s crop of national headliners felt a little less exciting. Add to this the fact that most of the national acts seemed lazily culled from the annals of Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” (Yacht, Antlers, Ra Ra Riot), and my enthusiasm for the trek to Madtown wasn’t what it was last year. Still, I’m a huge fan of the Festival in principle, and want to see a big, multivenue music fest succeed and thrive in Wisconsin, so I hopped in the car and drove west. 


Forward, Madison!

September 19, 2008

Image courtesy of Google Images

Forward Music Fest is in its inaugural round, has gone from wish-list to set-list in a short amount of time. This Friday and Saturday, Madison will be magnetizing musicians, both national and local, to the Midwest to play not only at the fest, but also surrounding venues in surrounding cities, all weekend long. Fan-belt blog’s Erin Wolf talks to Madison promoter and writer Kyle Pfister, one of five organizers of the festival that’s got the attention of its more experienced predecessors to find out what’s in store for the future of not only Madison’s music culture, nor Milwaukee’s, but the Midwest’s as a whole.

How did the idea for Forward Music Fest come about? I saw in an earlier interview that the idea was to get more UW students to attend Madison venues because many hadn’t attended a show at one? Is this true?

The idea of Forward Music Fest is based on a respect for the Madison music scene and the city’s potential as an arts destination. So encouraging everyone (students included) to support the exciting things happening at our amazing music venues in town is a big part of our mission.

The all-weekend access pass is a calling card of larger, established music festivals (SXSW, Lollapalooza, etc.)…was this to establish rank with these other festivals and lift some eyebrows by going ‘big’ right away?

The all-access wristband is what makes our event unique among what’s already happening in town. $40 for seventy-two bands is not just a fantastic deal, it’s the structure that allows sampling of many bands and genres as well as the collaboration between venues that we sought to achieve. We’re definitely taking a chance, but we believe in this idea and hope that our ambition attracts others to the table to support the project as we grow.

What was the first national act you sought out?

We started with a huge list of possible bands and attempted to concentrate on bands with some sort of connection to the Midwest. These conversations started back in the summer of 2007, so the festival has been through many reincarnations since then.

What was the first national act you booked?

I believe Dan Deacon was one of the first acts we booked, since he has never played Madison before and oozes the “festival” atmosphere we were shooting for after hitting the big festival circuit hard this last summer.

How did you go about doing the local bookings?

Members of our collaborative have a lot of experience booking smaller shows around Madison, so we had connections with many of the local bands we wanted to feature. We also received a lot of emails over this process. The goal was to pair national acts and local acts with similar sounds and I think we achieved that pretty well. Jake Shut of Crustacean Records was a fantastic help in booking the Killdozer and Dillinger Four openers.

To you, what is a trademark ‘Midwest sound’ or attitude shared by all of the artists playing at the fest?

We’re excited that the majority of FMF artists share a connection to the Midwest, but even more excited to show off the diversity of the Midwestern sound. From the pop of the Headlights to the gritty garage rock of the Detroit Cobras to the hip hop of Yea Big & Kid Static to the dance party that is Flosstradamus – I’d be lying if I said we found a singular Midwestern sound.

What do you hope will come of introducing these national and local acts to each other?

Festival goers will buy ticket to see their favorite headliner and we hope they really enjoy an opening set by a local act that they can support in town year round.

What are your personal picks?

The Dan Deacon and Leslie and the Lys bill at the Majestic will be the most interactive and beautifully raucous. The Headlights and Decibully bill at Café Montmartre will be classic. Thao with the Get Down Stay Down released one of my favorite indie albums of the year so far – so I’m really excited for them. And the Stars Like Fleas and Pale Young Gentlemen set is a perfect pairing for those looking for a really interesting evening.

No direct advertising was done, correct? Were there any hesitations about this approach?

Our media sponsor,
The Onion, ran advertisements. But we also commissioned ten Midwestern artists to design posters for each headline showcase. You can view these posters and the artist bios in the merch section of our website or at the shows themselves.

What’s the Madison Area Music Awards charitable foundation’s role in FMF and the Madison music community?

A portion of any proceeds made will be donated to the MAMA’s foundation, which makes sure our youngest Madisonians experience the creativity that playing and appreciating music provides for a lifetime.

Anything concrete for FMF, 2009?

Nope – just that we want to grow. And that we’re open to ideas. Anyone with passion, connections, or ideas should contact us and get involved in the collaborative effort.

For FMF’s weekend line-up and show times, or to schedule a collaboration, click *here*.

TGIT: Our Weekend Picks!

September 18, 2008


Photo of The Nice Outfit by Scott Winklebleck
Thursday, September 18th
The Detroit Cobras/Jail/The Nice Outfit @ Mad Planet, 10 p.m. (533 E. Center Street)
The Detroit Cobras are *yes*, one of those…a cover band. Lower those raised eyebrows and open those ears and eyes, for this is one cover band that knows how to entertain show-goers like no other. Expect debauchery in varying degrees. Debauchery, loud guitars and raunchily growled vocals. Local openers Jail and The Nice Outfit better be ready to warm up the stage properly. Undoubtedly, they’ll hold their own just fine.

Photo courtesy of Google Images
Friday, September 19th
Forward Music Fest:  Various Artists, Various Venues, Madison, WI
The coordinators behind Madison’s first annual Forward Music Fest completely (and thankfully) have outdone themselves — national and local acts will be dotted throughout various Madisonian venues for two days showcasing both the near and the far. Neko Case, Killdozer, Flosstradamus, Giant Sand, Decibully, Screaming Cyn Cyn & the Pons, His and Her Vanities and way more than is humanly possible to see in a two day time-span, will all be present.  Fan-belt blog will have the full tutorial on FMF for tomorrow, but in the meantime, check out the lineup *here*. FMF is affordable (a $25 general admission wristband gives access to all eight venues both Friday and Saturday) and a lot closer in approximation, than say, SXSW?

Image courtesy of Myspace
Saturday, September 20th
Deastro/Geocash/Alethio @ The Borg Ward, 7 p.m. (823 W. National Avenue)
Detroitian Deastro (dubbed as ‘German/Italian pop’) create recorded sounds that are upbeat and not afraid of the occasional dark synth. Will Deastro’s live performance live up to the geeked-out sounds made immortal via sound recording? Only one way to find out — see the man responsible behind Deastro (Randolph Chabot) live, along with Geocash, featured in a former Fan-belt post *here* and Madison natives, Alethio. Pop is not all sunshine and lollipops anymore. It’s smoke and laserbeams from here, on forth.

…AND *an addendum*!

You, readers, called it. Fan-belt  doesn’t want to pass up the opportunity to give a heads’ up to this:

Friday, September 19th & Saturday, September 20th
Activities (Recordings) fest:  Various Artists @ Linneman’s 9 p.m. (1001 E. Locust Street)
We don’t want to miss out on this, either, that’s why we’re giving you the last-minute report. Activities (Recordings) is throwing a two-day music fest of their own. Who needs to go to Madison for FMF when scores of awesome bands are playing right here, at Linneman’s? Here’s the line-up:

The Candliers
The Trusty Knife
The Elusive Parallelograms

Farms in Trouble
John the Savage
Pigs on Ice