The standard music festival attendee usually approaches the buffet-style slate of acts, both known and unknown, in one of two ways. The first is to find favorites and make those sets the foundation for the experience. For instance, at the recent Shaky Knees Festival, I talked to people who, while perhaps not a fan of the band’s later work, insisted that Wilco is a must-see act.
The second group of people take a more educational approach, taking measures to include the unknown in their musical diet.
I like to include myself in those numbers.
So while I did slip in for a few minutes of nostalgia with Shaky Knees, – bands I’ve seen on numerous occasions over the years, like Pixies for instance, much of my time was spent checking out acts I had either never seen live or never heard at all. Among my discoveries were the magnificent Los Angeles acts Mariachi El Bronx and FIDLAR.
Of course Shaky Knees, which continues to grow by leaps and bounds, is designed with this sort of exploration in mind. My question is this – is this exploration the exclusive domain of a large event such as Shaky Knees or might a smaller event – such as the upcoming locals-mostly Mayapple Music & Arts Festival, set for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30, offer the same opportunities?
I believe they do.
In terms of footprint, Mayapple is significantly smaller than most self-proclaimed festivals. Taking place outside the also diminutive M.A.D Studios – which is presenting the event – there will be little space spared on the event site between Ellis and Greene. Still, it offers that same blend of the new and familiar, of the comfortable and the unexpected, as larger and higher profile events.
For instance, Chris Hardy, Wade Teston and Craig Hendricks are familiar names to Augusta music fans, as is Beauty Fools, slated to play the official festival after-party from 7-9 p.m. at the downtown Pizza Joint location.
Others – despite having local ties – do not. I, for one, am interested in checking out North Augusta funk/rock act Lemon Twist, Rising Stone – also from North Augusta and Aiken’s Andrew Payne.
Something that Mayapple also offers that a larger, more commercial festival cannot is stage time. Just as I am interested in seeing some of these acts on stage, it also offers an opportunity to artists that might not get that important feedback that can only come from playing in front of an audience.
It’s the philosophy the intimate M.A.D. Studios was built on and obviously the philosophy its diminutive inaugural festival is being built on as well.
It should be interesting.