By Judy Brumley
Local festival goers can expect a heavy dose of rhythm, blues, Americana, New Orleans funk, electronic indie and bluegrass music this summer, with two of Lexington’s outdoor music festivals – one in its fourth year and one just out of the gates – having recently released their initial lineup announcements.
On Saturday, Aug. 26, MoonTower Music Festival will host 14 bands on two stages at the fourth annual day-long, family-friendly event, which also features a bevy of local food and beer vendors. While the full music lineup (including top-tier headliners) won’t be revealed until June 12, acts announced last week include the Florida-based rock-and-blues band JJ Grey & MoFro; the Nashville electro-indie duo Cherub, known for the 2012 viral hit “Doses and Mimosas;” and Portland-based alt-country songwriter Todd Snider, who will perform with his band The Great American Taxi. A second round of artist announcements is scheduled for May 1.
New Orleans funk outfit Big Sam’s Funky Nation, popular Kentucky songwriter Tyler Childers and Philadelphia-based synth-pop group Vita & the Woolf round out the initial line-up for the festival, which is produced by local event management company LexEffect. Also on the horizon for this year’s event are “a revamped food pavilion featuring over 20 different food and beverage options, a can-only beer garden with larger check-out areas, specially marked VIP zones, designated seating and tenting sections as well as a special late night show,” according to a press release.
“We try to create an environment that’s more laid back, family friendly, have-a-beer-by-the-river so to speak kind of vibe,” said Kaelyn Query said, festival organizer and the founder and president of LexEffect. “We’re not a big mosh pit festival, we don’t have camping, so it’s very much about local vendors, local people, and local music.”
In response to feedback from last year’s festival, Query said attendees can expect a wider variety of food vendors.
“We have things that are healthy, we have things that are vegetarian and vegan friendly, we have things that are not,” she explained. “There will be a little something for everyone, even the kids and dogs, to enjoy.”
Entertainment for kids will include games and face-painting, and the festival will feature a section with water and treats for the four-legged friends as well.
But several months before that late summer event, seven local bands will take the stage at the inaugural Tahlsound Music Festival, which takes place at Oleika Temple’s Great Lawn on Southland Drive on Saturday, May 27. Among the performers for this first-year festival are the Lexington-based bluegrass group NewTown; up-and-coming soul outfit Joslyn & the Sweet Compressions; the KY Hoss Cats, a local honky tonk group with a “hot band” era sound; and ATTEMPT, a prog-funk-soul outfit fronted by Lexington’s Trevor Tremaine that is somewhat difficult to classify. The young, horn-based jazz and funk band Coleslaw, indie music group, The Forthlins, and The Recipe for Gamma Rays, whose music blends euphonic vocals with synthesizers, guitar, and bass, round out the line-up for the inaugural festival.
According to festival co-organizer Gareth Evans, Tahlsound – an anagram for “Southland” – aims to celebrate, elevate and recognize the Southland neighborhood’s musical and artistic vibrancy. Organizers say the festival aims to be inclusive, with an emphasis on music and visual artists from surrounding communities and family-friendly activities. The festival will feature a handful of local food vendors, including Willie’s Locally Known, Sav’s Chill, North Lime Coffee & Donuts and GastroGnomes.
“Southland’s appreciation for the music, art, and community gatherings is just the type of environment to host such an event,” said festival co-organizer Brandon Pittard.
Advance tickets for the new music festival are available for $8; kids under 12 are free.
MoonTower Music Festival: Masterson Station Park | 3051 Leestown Road | Website
Tahlsound Music Festival: Oleika Temple Great Lawn | 326 Southland Drive | Website