SEPTEMBER 1, 2009
2009 Fall Festival Roundup
Nat Geo Music Handicaps The Best Of This Fall’s Festivalsby Tom Pryor
September's here, and the kids are back in school, Congress is back in session, and everybody here in our office is back from vay-kay, all grumpy and sunburned.
But if you thought that the end of summer meant the end of festival season, au contraire, mon frere! These days the festival biz is a year-round moneymaker, and some of the biggest festivals of '09 are yet to come.
Seattle's venerable Bumbershoot, Texas' Austin City Limits and Chicago's adventurous Chicago World Music festival are all must-see, destination events for serious music lovers. While smaller regional "microfestivals," like Bloomington, Indiana's Lotus festival and New Mexico's Globalquerque! festival give the big boys a run for their money. And, in a class all its own, there's New York City's annual CMJ Music Marathon madness.
And some of our favorite acts are out touring this fall, too, most conspicuously South African rockers BLK JKS, New York Brazilian hipsters Forro In The Dark, legendary Brazilian tropicalistas Os Mutantes and Malian superstar Baaba Maal are all hitting the road in North America this fall.
So hire the neighbor's kid to rake the leaves and come out to see some music with us - and don't forget to pack a sweater.
FALL FESTIVAL ROUNDUP '09
When: September 5 - 7
Where: Seattle, WA
What: Going strong since 1971, Seattle's Bumbershoot festival is one of the biggest and best arts festivals in the country - a weekend long mashup that's part music festival, part State Fair and wholly Seattle. Taking place in Seattle Center, a 74-acre park, Bumbershoot offers up more than music, with film, comedy, spoken word, dance and more scattered over 20 indoor and outdoor venues.
Who: Franz Ferdinand, Black Eyed Peas, Old 97s, Os Mutantes, De La Soul, Vieux Farka Toure, Extra Golden, Michael Franti & Spearhead, & More
All Tomorrow's Parties, NYC
When: September 11 - 13
Where: Monticello, NY
What: New Yorkers who would rather not be reminded of 9/11 have the chance to escape upstate for a mellow weekend of (mostly) indie and alternative rock in the East Coast edition of this hip UK festival franchise. This year's festival "curated" by The Flaming Lip's Wayne Coyne.
Who: The Flaming Lips (duh!), Sufjan Stevens, Panda Bear, Animal Collective, Deerhoof, Super Furry Animals, Caribou Vibration Ensemble, The Jesus Lizard, Boss Hogg & More
New York Gypsy Festival
When: September 11 - 25
What: Now in its fifth year, New York's annual Gypsy Festival is one of those great microfestivals that often fly under the radar in the City That Never Sleeps. But every year its organizers manage to put on a diverse array of Rom (Gypsy) and Rom-inspired acts from all over the world, making it one of the must-see festivals of the year.
Who: Little Cow, Rhythm of Rajasthan, Barbaros Erkose, NY Gypsy Allstars, Hazmat Modine, Zlatne Uste Brass Band & More
When: September 13 - 19
Where: Morrison, CO
What: Okay, so maybe this one is a lil' on the corporate side, with branded stages sponsored by e-surance and Southern Comfort, but everybody's gotta pay the bills somehow, right? And the spectacular setting of Colorado's famed Red Rocks Stadium more than makes up for nascent corporatism? besides, the music is really, really good?
Who: Girl Talk, Thao Nyguen With The Get Down Stay Down, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Mars Volta, Rahzel, Of Montreal, We Were Promised Jetpacks & More
Chicago World Music Festival
When: September 18- 24
Where: Chicago, IL
What: Perhaps the biggest and most adventurous world music festival in the U.S., the annual Chicago even is now in its 11th season. The multi-venue, one-week festival, which attracts an average of 45,000 visitors each year, showcases both traditional and contemporary music from diverse cultures across the world. The 2009 festival line-up will feature 55 events at 21 venues. Events include live radio broadcasts and a mix of free and ticketed concerts presented in museums, parks, cultural centers, plazas, theaters, music stores, clubs and other venues throughout Chicago.
Who: BLK JKS, Cheb I Sabah, Los De Abajo, Orchestra of Tetuan, Hanggai Red Baraat, Forro In The Dark, Watcha Clan, Little Cow, Blick Bassy, & More
Lotus World Music & Arts Festival
When: September 24 - 27
Where: Bloomington, IN
What: Bet you didn't realize that the epicenter of world music was in Bloomington, Indiana? Well it is for one weekend every year, anyway. That's when the annual Lotus World Music & Arts Festival transforms this postcard-perfect college town into a hotbed of heartland multiculturalism, attracting some of the biggest names in world music.
Who: BLK JKS, Bajofondo, Forro In The Dark, Hanggai, Huun Huur-Tu & Carmen Rizzo, Los De Abajo, Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, Rupa and the April Fishes, Väsen & More
When: September 25 - 26
Where: Albuquerque, NM
What: Another great regional "microfestival" that punches far above its weight, New Mexico's Globalquerque! festival offers some of the most adventurous world music programming set against one of the Southwest's most beautiful cities . Now in its fifth year, the festival is becoming a destination in its own right.
Who: Blick Bassy, Maria de Barros, Indian Ocean, Mamak Khadem, Little Cow, Robert Mirabal, Nation Beat, Novalima, Väsen with Darol Anger & Mike Marshall & More
Austin City Limits
When: October 2 - 4
Where: Austin, TX
What: Austin, Texas' other big annual music event. Smaller and more intimate than the madness that is SXSW, Austin City Limits is a hometown favorite. Held in Austin's Zilker Park, ACL offers up a diverse lineup of indie faves, rock gods, electronica acts and even a few international types.
Who: Pearl Jam, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, Thievery Corporation, Bon Iver, Girl Talk, The Knux, Ghostland Observatory, Ben Harper & Renlentless 7 & More
CMJ Music Marathon
When: October 20- 24
Where: New York, NY
What: The venerable CMJ Music Marathon unleashes four days of annual madness on the clubs and music venues of New York City. Founded in 1980 as a conference for college radio geeks and the bands who love them, the marathon now attracts hundreds and hundreds of bands, mostly unsigned, unsung and unwashed for the duration of the marathon.
Who: Too Many To Mention?