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Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Next Fest Thing

A year after the Wakarusa festival split town, the much smaller Festy Fest fills the summer outdoor music void

Mike West and Katie Euliss of Truckstop Honeymoon. Their band will be one of three dozen performing at the fourth annual Festy Fest this weekend.

Mike West and Katie Euliss of Truckstop Honeymoon. Their band will be one of three dozen performing at the fourth annual Festy Fest this weekend.

May 20, 2010

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Past Event
Festy Fest

with Split Lip Rayfield / Truckstop Honeymoon / Mountain Sprout / Oakhurst / Rocket Science / Deadman Flats / Calamity Cubes and many more

  • When: Friday, May 21, 2010, noon to 11:59 p.m.
  • Where: 25511 Linwood Road
  • Cost: $30 - $85
  • More on this event....
Past Event
Festy Fest

with Split Lip Rayfield / Truckstop Honeymoon / Mountain Sprout / Oakhurst / Rocket Science / Deadman Flats / Calamity Cubes and many more

  • When: Saturday, May 22, 2010, noon to 11:59 p.m.
  • Where: 25511 Linwood Road
  • Cost: $30 - $85
  • More on this event....
Past Event
Festy Fest

with Split Lip Rayfield / Truckstop Honeymoon / Mountain Sprout / Oakhurst / Rocket Science / Deadman Flats / Calamity Cubes and many more

The mailbox outside Pat Murphy's property at 25511 Linwood Road is the easiest landmark for the road into Festy Fest.

The mailbox outside Pat Murphy's property at 25511 Linwood Road is the easiest landmark for the road into Festy Fest.

A panorama of part of the Festy Fest grounds — one of two fields where a stage will be set up. <a href="http://media.lawrence.com/img/photos/2010/05/19/festyfest-panorama.jpg">View the full sized panorama</a>.

A panorama of part of the Festy Fest grounds — one of two fields where a stage will be set up. <a href="http://media.lawrence.com/img/photos/2010/05/19/festyfest-panorama.jpg">View the full sized panorama</a>.

Split Lip Rayfield, one of the main draws for this year's Festy Fest.

Split Lip Rayfield, one of the main draws for this year's Festy Fest.

Since the Wakarusa Festival left Lawrence last year, something called "Festy Fest" is likely the largest remaining multiday musical gathering left in town.

What started as the graduation party for Lawrencian Justin Falleaf three years ago has grown into an annual bluegrass and camping extravaganza that has drawn a few hundred people from Iowa, Colorado and all over Kansas.

Although he expects it to be bigger this year, Falleaf says it's still essentially a backyard gathering of music lovers.

"I don't want this to be compared to Wakarusa. This is not Wakarusa. That's not what we're doing," Falleaf says.

"I've had all these sponsorship people get ahold of me," he laughs while walking the Festy Fest grounds. "I just don't want this all tagged up with signs and ads. I just want a stage over there and right over there out in the woods with just some sound, and a generator out back that you hardly even notice. And everybody just enjoying themselves."

That said, this Festy Fest promises to be significantly bigger than before. In the past, the event was solely promoted by word of mouth, but this year Falleaf and a few volunteers made it more "official" by selling tickets through The Bottleneck and advertising.

They've also booked three dozen bands — including big draws such as Split Lip Rayfield — rented two stages, two sound systems and a tent that will shelter some 600 people.

One thing they don't have quite yet, though, is a permit.

After working with the Leavenworth County sheriff off-and-on for weeks to make sure their festival ducks were in a row, the organizers asked the county commissioners Monday for a temporary use permit for the festival from Friday to Sunday.

"We want these kinds of things in the county," Commissioner J.C. Tollefson told them. "But you kind of sound like four guys putting on a festival."

The commissioners decided they'd consider the application today provided the organizers met a checklist of 13 requirements — such as directing any lighting away from neighbors and ending the amplified music at midnight Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday.

"The main thing they wanted was for me to hire a (bonded) security company," says Falleaf, who had planned to employ some acquaintances who work as bouncers in Lawrence bars.

"They also wanted me to have insurance — which I already had — and fix a couple issues with the driveway ... put up reflective fencing," among other smaller things, he says. "We're still piddling around with it, but I don't think it's going to be too big of a problem."

If for some reason he's denied the permit, Falleaf's got a backup plan.

"The beauty of this is, most of the bands can play acoustically," he says. "No matter what, people can show up."


If you mow it, they will come

Falleaf has spent just about every day since March out at the Festy Fest site — a beautiful 60 acres on Linwood Road, a half-mile west of 250th Street.

Half the land is a field on the side of a hill. Down the hill is a small pond and several acres of trees, then a smaller field, more trees, and between that and Linwood Road is the home of the property's owner, Pat Murphy.

Murphy and Falleaf have been busy cleaning up about 20 acres for music and camping — mowing, clearing out woodlands, killing poison ivy, putting down tick and mosquito repellent, installing extra water spigots, a shower, a dozen portable toilets ... In short, making the place ready for potentially hundreds of campers.

They have no way of knowing just how many people will end up coming — tickets are capped at 1,200 total for the weekend, but less than a couple hundred have sold so far — but they're preparing for the top end.

Especially when it comes to the neighbors, says Cole Smith, who lives in one of the four houses on the land.

"We let them know that there will be some noise for a couple days and they're kinda ready for those couple days. We had it at this location last year, and we had no problems or complaints from any neighbors," Smith says.

"These people enjoy country living and it's pretty quiet out here, so we got permission from them before we asked anyone else's permission."


A Fest for the Rest of us

Hank Osterhout's band, Deadman Flats, was one of a handful of bands that played the first Festy Fest.

"It's been really interesting to watch it develop over these four years," he says. "In a lot of respects, it's kinda like my own band. We started off just talking (expletive) and playing music, and before you knew it, it became something people really enjoyed."

Deadman Flats, a Lawrence bluegrass band that's played every year at Festy Fest. Hank Osterhout is second from the right.

Deadman Flats, a Lawrence bluegrass band that's played every year at Festy Fest. Hank Osterhout is second from the right.

Deadman Flats now tours the country, regularly playing several small festivals like Festy Fest. There's Sproutstock in central Oklahoma, Tickfest in Cameron, Mo., Alkalai Flats in Grand Junction, Colo., and several others.

Osterhout says these kinds of gatherings are the lifeblood of grass-roots music and culture, and it's little wonder Lawrence has one of its own, given how many quality bluegrass bands are in the area.

"Some folks don't have the $200 or the time to go two states away to a major festival to see huge bands," he says. "But they still wanna let loose and get out and enjoy one another. This is a celebration of the summer."

"Festy Fest will be what we, as Lawrencians, make it," Osterhout says. "Wakarusa was such a grand opportunity — here we have an opportunity to have a yearly thing. It just depends on how the people involved embrace it."

For his part, Falleaf will consider it a success if more people around town are turned on to what he says are truly great bluegrass bands. He gets visibly excited when talking about any given one of the three dozen that will be playing this weekend.

"National festivals like Wakarusa or Bonnaroo — their success is measured in tens of thousands of people. For Festy Fest, it might be 800 people," he says.

"It's still at such a young stage, that if enough of the community were to go and put their energy into it, it could be the best thing that ever happened."

Comments

asbury 4 years, 7 months ago

I hope they get the permit....It sounds like they've thought it all out, and have done the required footwork.

somedude20 4 years, 7 months ago

When people tell you that you are too loud, remember these words: Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and... Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten? Nigel Tufnel: Exactly. Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder? Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where? Marty DiBergi: I don't know. Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven. Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder. Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder? Nigel Tufnel: These go to eleven. Nigel Tufnel: The sustain, listen to it. Marty DiBergi: I don't hear anything. Nigel Tufnel: Well you would though, if it were playing.

smerdyakov 4 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like this is going to be A M A Z I N G. So many of those bands are great — I just hope Leavenworth Co. handles this better than Douglas did with Wakarusa. And that Leaf plays his end of the deal better.

My 2cent Leaf— Like you said, they can all play acoustic... so don't roll the dice and leave the PAs on past midnight! If that means moving the headliners to earlier slots I'd do it. If this party gets shut down by the sheriff, you're going to have a lot of people wanting their $80 back. And bummed out~

smerdyakov 4 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like this is going to be A M A Z I N G. So many of those bands are great — I just hope Leavenworth Co. handles this better than Douglas did with Wakarusa. And that Leaf plays his end of the deal better.

My 2cent Leaf— Like you said, they can all play acoustic... so don't roll the dice and leave the PAs on past midnight! If that means moving the headliners to earlier slots I'd do it. If this party gets shut down by the sheriff, you're going to have a lot of people wanting their $80 back. And bummed out~

Shelby 4 years, 7 months ago

It actually doesn't sound all that hard to put on a music festival.

Maybe everybody should do it.

Very nice article--it's great that they asked the neighbors/locals first for permission.

smerdyakov 4 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like this is going to be A M A Z I N G. So many of those bands are great — I just hope Leavenworth Co. handles this better than Douglas did with Wakarusa. And that Leaf plays his end of the deal better.

My 2cent Leaf— Like you said, they can all play acoustic... so don't roll the dice and leave the PAs on past midnight! If that means moving the headliners to earlier slots I'd do it. If this party gets shut down by the sheriff, you're going to have a lot of people wanting their $80 back. And bummed out~

smerdyakov 4 years, 7 months ago

Pardon that— I have no idea why that posted three times. I hope this one doesn't~

Paul Geisler 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm so stoked to be attending Festy Fest again this year! My wife & I had a blast last year, as did our boys! And this year's fest looks like it will be an even better! I'm really glad there is an event like this in Lawrence where so many wonderful local bands can display their talents to a larger audience, especially since we know members from six of the bands! And the regional/national acts are sweet too! I think Great American Taxi is a great addition to this year's line-up!

The weather forecast for the weekend appears to be right favorable too! So go buy your tickets and come out this weekend for some great music, great friends, & great fun!

editer 4 years, 7 months ago

U P D A T E: The Tonganoxie paper reports that Leavenworth County commissioners today declined Falleaf's permit application because his insurance policy did not cover the county, only Falleaf LLC. Also, Falleaf had yet to provide the required security bond.

http://tonganoxiemirror.com/news/2010/may/20/promoters-failure-navigate-red-tape-silences-blueg/

I called Falleaf to ask him about this — he said his lawyer was working to address the issues and the Falleaf was confident that he would be able to finish doing so today. He said they were meeting with a commissioner later this afternoon to discuss whether Leavenworth County's requirements for issuing the permit had been met.

wamola 4 years, 7 months ago

why the hell do you need a county permit to throw a party and play music. That's not american and Leavenworth should be as ashamed for ignoring the fact that as Americans I can play music and party without your permission. If they decline again, I say 1000 people go party at the commisioners house, that's they only this could be illegal. Being that he's coming to our house and telling us what to do, lets show him what we do at his house. Grow up Leavenworth!!!

mr_right_wing 4 years, 7 months ago

The thing about Wakarusa was that it was well established amoung druggies... Has word gotten around to the stoners about this one?

I remember with Wakarusa, they did a drug screen outside the gates; and you were not admitted unless you failed said drug screen; if you passed you were refused admittance. Will these folks be doing the same thing?

pills4profit 4 years, 7 months ago

haha, your name just shows how foolish/ignorant/sheltered you are . . . enjoy your life in that tiny bubble mr party pooper . . .

terrapin2 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't know why YOU would, but I know why I will! And we'll all be just fine without you and your attitude.

And I believe you mean Truckstop Honeymoon.

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 7 months ago

What? You mean the LV County Sheriff is not shaking down the organizers for $60,000 of overtime pay for themselves, like the DG County Sheriff did for waka?

Mike Ford 4 years, 7 months ago

Falleaf is doing this on lands that belonged to his Delaware Tribe until the late 1860's. An area between LV County Road 1 and North Lawrence was called Falleaf in Delaware times in the mid 19th century. The invading people should grant his permit.

lounger 4 years, 7 months ago

This is good. Now can we have a festival for good Songwriting. Jam bands are fun but so is a song to remember.

heybluekc 4 years, 7 months ago

Split Lip, Oakhurst, Great American Taxi and Truckstop Honeymoon are better than any national headlining bands. Stay at home and listen to your glorified karoke stars (Carrie Underwood, Daughtrey, and your pop country acts like Rascal Flats and Little Big Town) we will go have fun listening to these groups and then jamming with them around the campsites in wee hours of the morning. Peace!

lounger 4 years, 7 months ago

agreed heybluekc! Good bands listed here, waaay better than national acts. But we also need a festival for the bands around here who are not bluegrass. Quite a few bands in lawrence dont have a venue because it seems either they are bluegrass venues (festivals) or Punk, emo (downtown clubs, bars). I find it amazing that some of these bands here have to go out of town to play. Open up the possibilitys....

gphawk89 4 years, 7 months ago

Is there a "suggest removal" button for articles? Or is it OK if we use the "S" word now? Good article, but I was a bit shocked to see profanity.

imagold 4 years, 7 months ago

I thought I was the only one who noticed. I wouldn't remove the article, but would have them remove the "S" word and replace it with "(expletive)".

gphawk89 4 years, 7 months ago

Remove the article. It's only fair. If I submitted a post with the "S" word, it would be removed, not edited.

editer 4 years, 7 months ago

The latest from Falleaf on Friday morning:

Falleaf said the festival is proceeding as planned, although they may not use amplification, or keep it to a minimum. They've been warned by the sheriff that they risk a $500 fine for a major noise complaint.

Note: although this story... http://www.tonganoxiemirror.com/news/2010/may/20/promoters-failure-navigate-red-tape-silences-blueg/ ...says that the festival has been canceled, that may not be the case. Organizers weren't able to secure a permit, which is why they've decided to eliminate or reduce amplification.

smerdyakov 4 years, 7 months ago

Beautiful to be here. Finally. A bit windy. But beautiful!

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