Fifty musical acts to perform at FAIRfest
After All Things Italian Street Festival and before RAGBRAI, a very big music festival plays in Fairfield, the inaugural FAIRfest — four days with numerous genres of music and food, art and speakers — emphasizing sustainability, creativity, economic fairness and community empowerment.
Beginning at 6 p.m. June 20 with the Third Street Block Party, next weekend offers to fill the senses with tastes, sights and sounds — and most likely dancing in the streets, all at no cost to attend.
Presented by Fairfield’s solar-powered radio station KRUU, station manager James Moore expressed in his blog, the four-day festival is a “perfect excuse to invite friends and family to visit” Fairfield.
“We want FAIRfest to be one of the best excuses of the year for people to explore southeast Iowa’s creative, cultural, cuisine-rich community,” Moore writes in his blog. “It’s designed to entice people to come and share some big small-town fun with us. And everyone is welcome at the table.”
FAIRfest will celebrate the best of Fairfield and Iowa, June 20-23, featuring national, regional and local music, artisan food, top speakers, specialty vendors and cultural leaders, according to a KRUU news release.
New Orleans’ jazz/Cuban flavor
“It will have a New Orleans’ jazz and Cuban flair,” said FAIRfest producer Erika Richards. “We’re up to 50 musical acts over the four days, now. We’ll have ongoing music from noon to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“The main stage is huge, it will be outdoors on Main Street between the arts and convention center and the courthouse,” she said. “We’ll also be using the stage inside at the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts. So two stages will have music performing those three afternoons and evenings.”
Hempstead Avenue and Main Street in front of the convention center will be blocked to traffic. Vendors and food artisans will be set up around the area.
“A group of us has been trying to make this festival happen for several years,” said Richards. “Fairfield is a ripe environment for something large like this. It’s our intention to create a tradition and hold an annual FAIRfest for the next 20, 40 years.
“Everyone is invited to come out and support musicians so they will come back to Fairfield again.”
To highlight a few bands coming to Fairfield — view the full lineup online at fairfiestiowa.com/lineup — Bonerama, from New Orleans, will play on the main stage, outdoors from 7-8:30 p.m. June 21.
Publicity for Bonerama says: “Even in a city that doesn’t play by the rules, New Orleans’ Bonerama is something different. They can evoke vintage funk, classic rock and free improvisation in the same set; maybe even the same song. Bonerama has been repeatedly recognized by Rolling Stone, hailed as “the ultimate in brass balls” (2005) and praised for their “…crushing ensemble riffing, human-feedback shrieks and wah-wah growls” (2007). Bonerama carries the brass-band concept to places unknown; what other brass band could snag an honor for “Best Rock Band” (Big Easy Awards 2007 and 2010)? As co-founder Mark Mullins puts it, “We thought we could expand what a New Orleans brass band could do. Bands like Dirty Dozen started the ‘anything goes’ concept, bringing in the guitars and the drum kit and using the sousaphone like a bass guitar. We thought we could push things a little further.”
The next evening, Charanga Tropical plays on the main stage from 5-6:30 p.m. June 22. It’s website describes them as “a nine-piece salsa ensemble that performs classic and modern salsa music. Performing with the unique Cuban “charanga” instrumentation that includes violins and flute, the group presents a sound that is harmonically rich and infectiously rhythmic, inspiring visions mojitos and Caribbean sunsets. Featuring musicians from throughout the Americas, this band knows how to fill a dance floor and start a party.”
Musicians are coming from Memphis, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, two more New Orleans artists, Brooklyn, Iowa City, Des Moines, Minneapolis and other places.
Several local musicians and some dancers are scheduled throughout the FAIRfest.
It all begins in one week, from 6-10:30 p.m. June 20 on North Third Street between Grimes Avenue and the railroad tracks. This first evening is organized by Nicholas Naioti, Dominic Rabalais and Jason Burkhardt to celebrate Fairfield’s thriving, creative community.
Two stages will showcase several musicians in Fairfield and Iowa and two groups from Missouri.
Volunteer as hospitality, security
Richards is looking for community volunteers to lend a hand during the festival.
“We’re having a volunteer organizational meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at KRUU,” she said.
Call or email Richards, publicity coordinator 233-1755 or firstname.lastname@example.org; KRUU, 101.1 FM at 209-1083 or email@example.com; or stop by the station.
Three categories of volunteers are needed:
• Hosts will be assigned to one of the visiting bands to be available to answer questions and help with their itinerary and related needs.
• Hospitality — 30 volunteers to help with backstage hospitality and elsewhere throughout the four-day event.
• Security, backstage at the Sondheim and backstage of outdoor venue. Four volunteers per shift; two people per site. Shifts: 3-7 p.m.; 7-11 p.m.; midnight to 6 a.m.; 6 a.m. to noon, June 21-22. Also security shifts noon to 5 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. June 23.
The four-day event keynote speaker is Jeffery Hollander, a leading authority on corporate responsibility, co-founder of Seventh Generation, board member of Greenpeace and co-founder of the American Sustainable Business Council.
Hollander will speak about “The Responsibility Revolution” at 10 a.m. to noon June 22 in the Sondheim center.
FAIRfest celebrates the official debut of the Iowa Sustainable Business Alliance, described on its website, asbcouncil.org/node/1101 as “a growing family of Iowa businesses, organizations, social enterprises and individuals advocating for a restorative, equitable sustainable economy which promotes the health and happiness of people and maintains an abundant planet.
“ISBA will serve to inform and engage the public, policy makers and media, highlighting the necessity, opportunity and benefits of building a sustainable economy.”