Monday, April 16, 2007

Toledo Indie Pop Festival - The nuts and bolts

A few Toledo teenagers are trying to single-handedly bring a new genre to their fine city, with the inception of the Toledo Indie Pop Festival.
Kyle Bliss, co-organizer, recently explained what it takes for someone his age to get things moving.
"My friend and I are just teenagers who enjoy our pop music catalog. The bands we like never play in this area and don't even consider trying to play here, so instead of complaining we got off of our butts and did something about it," Bliss said.
It took a trip down to Athens, GA's POP Fest in 2006 to see the light, calling the experience "amazing and a big influence."
Bliss said he went back to Toledo with a thought-seed planted and went out to a local party.
"There we met a cultural artist who was interested in doing festivals including the arts. We ended up deciding to focus on the indiepop scene," he said.
Even though the artist they sought did not end up helping out, Bliss and friends dove into organizing what would become Toledo's Indie Pop Festival. The concert is still in its younger years, but the word is getting out.
"We were worried everyday waking up, that things wouldn't work out," Bliss said. "We had booked bands and promoted for the festival only two months beforehand. Everything has worked out fine, however. Mainly we just wanted to get the music scene that we loved to consider playing in the area because they never have before. Now we are in the presence of emails from touring pop bands today... mission accomplished I'd say."
Bliss is joined by fellow co-organizer James Degregorio. He said the two have set up 2007's Toledo Indie Pop Festival for "lots of music all through the day, art display, crafters and zines, and a friendly environment."
Right now all they have are the concert dates scheduled: July 27th and 28th (Friday and Saturday). More work is in the planning stages.
"As soon as the location is confirmed we will let all of you know, so stay tuned. As far as last year we were not sure If we would be able to afford both days at Vamps [a Toledo area venue] so we had to get the second night at an odd location."
As with any new festival there were some hurdles to get over initially.
Bliss said Toledo's posh Diva bar held the second day of Indie Popfest, to some confusion.
"The bands and kids started to show up with awkward looks on their faces as the 'Wine Tasting' was taking place in the front of the restaurant. As you can see we all forgot our suits, this place is pretty classy. By the end of the night everyone had fun. The turnout wasn't as great as the night before due to location confusion (even one of the bands showed up at Vamps on accident) but it was a great experience. We could surely use a better turnout, though I was surprised by the one we ended up with the first night. It was definitely a big risk since kids aren't too familiar with the pop scene. Its catching on I think."
Venues for 2007 are still up in the air, as Vamps might not be able to renew their liquor license.
For Indie Pop-focused bands looking to take part, submissions are open.
"Since the title of the festival includes 'Indiepop,' we try to be relative to that genre. However, at least half the bands fall into a lot of other music categories. From pop, indierock-pop, folk, electro, etc. Bands and ourselves find it usually most convenient to send us an email or via 'Myspace.' They explain they are interested and can make it. Then we check their songs out and see how much promotion they are capable of and how much they have done for themselves as a band. If we're interested we let them know. As far as headliners, were not as worried about it as much. As long as we get bands that we like and are fun. The turnout is the influence on having an unnecessary headliner. Perhaps we'll have a surprise."

Contact Toledo Indie Pop Festival:


Send demos to:

566 S Wheeling St.
Oregon, OH 43616

Other people involved with the festival:
Crew/ Street Team- Grace Powers, Steve Mohr

Detroit Urban Craft Fair
Toledo City Paper
Food not Bombs
Little Pocket Records
BBop Records
Zines - tba

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