Tuesday, April 22, 2008


FreeKY Fest & Alt Music Week Field Guide

Awight, friends.

This one’s all about WRFL’s Alternative Music Week and FreeKY Fest activities. Something to do every night of the week with the big payoff coming with the FREE day-long fest on Saturday. Get out and celebrate all the station has meant to Lexington over the past 20 years, and pitch-in to the “Build the Tower, Boost the Power” fund so the station can do even more in the future.

Hope all are well.
Luv, Ross

::::::::::::::::::::::::::: WRFL’s FreeKY Fest & Alternative Music Week :::::::::::::::::::::::::::

WRFL gives us the build-up (Alternative Music Week), the big party (FreeKY Fest), and then the afterglow (a post-fest potluck picnic/show on Sunday). Here’s the skinny …

I) Alternative Music Week – foreplay!

A week of concerts celebrating the station’s programming diversity – from indie rock to bluegrass to jazz to noise – and to kick off the station’s “Build the Tower, Boost the Power” fundraising effort. The new tower will upgrade the station’s power from its modest 250 Watts to a robust 7900 (!) Watts. As I understand it, the station has a three year window in which to make use of FCC allotted upgrade. In order to do that, RFL needs to raise in the neighborhood of $150,000-$200,000. That’s a chunk o’ change. The money raised by the week’s concerts will be the first drops in the bucket. You can help. Turn out, pitch in, and enjoy some good music. Here’s a rundown of the week:

NOTE: Some of these shows are a little more expensive (in the $10 range) than what I usually recommend in the Lex Pro. I know that, for a bunch of us, it can be hard to come up with the dough, but, think long, y’all - it’s not just door money, it’s a contribution to the long-term health of RFL. You’ll get your money’s worth.

• Tuesday, April 22: Blues, Bluegrass and Jazz Benefit Concert at the Kentucky Theatre (214 E. Main St) featuring performances by SOME OTHER MEANNESS (Southern Gothic sounds – http://myspace.com/someothermeanness - what up Grote!), OLD VINE STREET SOCIAL AND PLEASURE CLUB (New Orleans funk), BLUE DAWG (bluegrass), SOUL PATCH (blues) and the UK Graduate Jazz Combo. Admission is $10. The concert will start at 7pm. All ages welcome.

• Wednesday, April 23: The Void Skateshop (518 E. High St) hosts a benefit featuring three of my favorite locals - ZAVALA, EYES AND ARMS OF SMOKE, and BEN ALLEN. Admission is $3. The show starts at 8pm. All ages welcome. http://myspace.com/theelephants (Zavala), http://www.eyesandarmsofsmoke.com, http://myspace.com/darkerinthecorners (Ben Allen)

• Thursday, April 24: WRFL and Al's Bar present a Bluegrass and folk showcase at Al's Bar (corner of 6th St and Limestone) featuring DEAN OSBORNE, BLUE DAWG, THE DOWNTOWN COUNTY BAND, THE RAINJUNKIES (http://myspace.com/rainjunkies - featuring Lex Pro contributor Brian Manke on drums), QUOTE (http://myspace.com/quotemusic - from Nashville), THE FLOORWALKERS, DANIEL ELLSWORTH (http://myspace.com/danielellsworthmusic), and BROTHER BARRET. Long lineup, so this one starts early - around 5pm. Suggested donation is $10, but no one will be turned away. All ages welcome.

* And, Friday, RFL strings us around campus and downtown with three events.

1) Friday, April 25: An exhibit of WRFL dj artwork at Isle of You boutique (corner of Short and Jefferson Sts). Musical performances by Eyes and Arms of Smoke and Eric Lanahm. Opening 5-8pm. FREE. All ages welcome.

2) Friday, April 25: WRFL presents an exhibit of artwork by past and present RFL djs in the Cat's Den at UK's Student Center (across the walkway from University Bookstore). Reception starts at 8:30pm and runs until 10. FREE. All ages welcome. Note: At 9:30pm, filmmaker Ayser Salman will debut a rough-cut of her documentary about the station's founding.

3) Friday, April 25: "Radio Vaudeville" @ Al's Bar (corner of 6th and Limestone) - "A cosmic vaudeville journey sacrificed at the alter of New Orleans jazz." Doors open at 9 with performances by The Mezmer Society from Asheville, NC, Rakadu Gypsy Dance and The Swells. Doors open at 9pm. Admission is $5. All ages welcome. http://www.meccadance.com.

II) FreeKY Fest – the main event!
Saturday, April 26: WRFL presents FreeKY Fest in the parking lot atop the Downtown Transit Center - 11am-11pm, all ages welcome, FREE

Twelve hours of fantastic fun. Music, dance, food (from local vendors) and beverage (I know, Budweiser will be on hand - I think Ale-8 may be in the mix as well), and more.

Action will be divided amongst three areas – the main stage, a concourse stage, and ‘the underworld’ (the floor of the parking garage immediately below the festival staging grounds). The underworld has a lot of cool things going on – a screen printing demo by Cricket Press, Jason Corder’s Phonograffiti interactive art/sound project, a performance by Everyone Lives, Everyone Wins, and more. Unfortunately, I don’t have the timeline for all those happenings, just yet. As I get hipped, I’ll try to integrate that info into the blog.

Here’s a rundown of the main stage and concourse stage haps in chronological order:
(Note: Performances are on the main stage unless noted otherwise.)

11am – Coffee in hand, fresh from your trip to the Farmer’s Market, you drag yourself and your kiddies (grab ‘em, if you got ‘em) to the Children’s Concert. Quick-moving, 10-15 minute sets by PEZHED & THE BLIPSQUAD (genius non-sequitur silliness and sound set led by our friend Dave Farris and featuring more friends – Eli Riveire, Nick Warner, Tripp Bratton, Teresa Tomb, Lori Houlihan, among others – check the sounds at http://myspace.com/pezblip), ROBBERT BOBBERT & THE BUBBLE MACHINE (delightful kids’ songs from our friend, Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider – http://myspace.com/robbertbobbert - “Gravity / Gravity / It’s pulling on you / and it’s pulling on me” – indeed, my man), RAKADU GYPSY DANCE (TT and her finest fellow belly dancers shake it for the kids, whilst three fine drummer boys – Dave Farris, Tripp Bratton, and Jeff Watts – teach us sumpin ‘bout riddim - http://www.meccadance.com/rakadu.html), and, finally, SNOW MONSTER! (from Louisville - led by a funny, five year-old girl who, at times, seems to be channeling the spirit of Wesley Willis – http://myspace.com/snowmonsterband).

12noon – Tommy Miller, longtime RFL old-school hip hop dj and current middle school teacher in the Fayette County school system, spins records while some of his young protégés show off their breakdancing prowess on the concourse stage.

12:30pm – Local pure pop heroes BIG FRESH endeavor to present a condensed “History of College Radio” via choice covers songs. Any guesses on the set list? (http://myspace.com/bigfresh)

1:30pm – RFL dj Stephen Wiggins spins records while the UK Fencing Team demonstrate their skills on the councourse stage. (Word is, the organizers are working on a nunchuck demo for next years festival.)

2pm – Music of India dj Veena Bensal presents a Dewali and Punjab dance performance on the main stage

2:30pm – Percussion wizards SOUND/VISION perform excerpts from “Drumming” by Steve Reich on the concourse stage

3pm – THE HEALTH & HAPPINESS FAMILY GOSPEL BAND. Louisville’s Health & Happiness Family Gospel Band, a collection of punk rockers and miscreant musicians (featuring our friend and former RFL “Late Late Show” dj Brian Manley), find the light in raucous gospel sounds. Expect an ecstatic, energetic set ranging from the soulful gospel of Nina Simone and Otis Redding to rock n’ gospel of Johnny Cash to traditional country and bluegrass hymns. Check out this clip from their performance last summer (courtesy of our friend Tim Stamps) for a sample of the fun they bring to the project - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wihvYpVyIk.

4pm – Capoeira demonstration by the good folks at the Capoeira Cultural Center (on N. Limestone near 7th) on the concourse stage

4:30pm – HAIR POLICE. Gnarly, noisy mayhem from three of our favorite mens. Not-so-little-known fact: these world-conquers actually met through dj’ing at RFL. http://www.gnarlytimes.com

5pm – RAKADU GYPSY DANCE returns for a longer performance. This time on the concourse stage. http://www.meccadance.com/rakadu.html

5:30pm – MAHJONGG. Skittering, danceable, elctro-punk from Chicago by way of Columbia, Missouri. That’s a lame description of the band. Please just go listen to them – http://myspace.com/machinegong. They’re amazing live. Their new record, “Kontpab,” was just released on Calvin Johnson’s K Records.

6:30pm – Hip hop connoisseur par none, Shareef Hakim has spent the last ten years passionately promoting hip hop culture via the RFL airwaves. Now, he receives the honor of spinning a few records to put us in the proper head-space for the Coup.

7pm – THE COUP. The cream of the crop. Funky, politically-minded hip hop of the highest order from the Bay Area. “I’m here to / Laugh / Love / F*ck / and drink liquor / and help the damn revolution come quicker” – that’s my jam. Of the artists on the bill, The Coup is probably the one I’m most excited to see. http://myspace.com/thecoupmusic

8pm – FOXFIRE HYPNOTICA on the concourse stage. Fire dancers, y’all!

8:30pm – JOLIE HOLLAND. Beautiful old-timey folk from the Bay Area. Jolie’s performance at the Downtown Arts Center a few years ago was an absolute stunner. http://myspace.com/jolieholland
10pm – THE APPLES IN STEREO. The festival closes with the bouncy, blissfully melodic, psychedelic pop of our friends the Apples in Stereo. http://www.applesinstereo.com

III) All-RFL potluck picnic/show – the afterglow

• Sunday, April 27th: WRFL and the Lexington Art League host the All-WRFL Picnic and Potluck at the Loudoun House (209 Castlewood Dr.) Noon-4pm. FREE. All ages welcome. Performances by HALF HANDED CLOUD and LAKE.

An event to help ease you back down after the festival-day high. Food sharing will start at noon. Some grub will be provided (there will be separate grills, of course, for meat and veggies), but folks are encouraged to bring a dish (or some chips, or anything) to contribute to the feast. Music will start around 1pm with the gentle pop sounds of Olympia, WA’s LAKE. (http://www.myspace.com/lakemusicmusic) Then, around 2 o’clock, it’s the endearing and uplifting, kitchen-sink pop sounds of our friend John Ringhofer, aka HALF HANDED CLOUD. (http://www.myspace.com/handycloud) Should be a wonderful way to wrap up the frantic, festive week.

OK, all, I think that’s a fairly exhaustive account of the Alt Music Week and FreeKY events. If’n you want more scoop or background info, check http://freekyfest.org. See you all out this week, yes?

Happy Birthday, WRFL!
- Ross

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this was a blast--danced my ass off--no hassles (from the man or angry people)--good food, good people (a gathering of the tribes--there are more of us than I thought), good music, good causes

at the least we need this to happen every year.

see you all at the Peace and Global Citizenship Festival on the campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College May 10th
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