It’s our first meeting in January, and Lyndzapalooza (LP) is stuck in a bind.
We had thrown an event the third Saturday of every May for five years, and we already spread the word that people should expect a sixth edition. But, as we sadly informed the sales rep at our awesome potential location, we simply didn’t have enough lead-time to raise the cash or audience support to head out to a farm,
Even if we didn’t throw an event on a farm, we had to throw something. We couldn’t afford to forfeite our established festival date – we’d run the risk of losing whatever brand value and tradition we had built to-date.
We couldn’t just throw a Spring Mixer – it would seem like a letdown after last year’s huge spring event. At the same time, we couldn’t just go back to the same-old house party – not just because we actually had a business model now, but because we promised everyone (ourselves included) that we would evolve.
So: bigger than a mixer, smaller than a farm festival, and fundamentally different than our previous spring concerts.
What would that be, exactly?
We mulled and brainstormed, poked and prodded, but ultimately it was Lindsay who came up with the answer.
So, I was thinking, if we’re doing it in Yardley again we should have an actual stage – like, build a stage – so that it feels more like a real music festival. And then I thought, you could just walk out of the house and say, “hey, there’s a stage on my lawn!” So. why don’t we just call it “There’s a Stage on My Lawn!”?
Or, something like that.
As soon as the event was named we compiled our dream-list of artists and Dante started reaching out to them to see if they could play.
We nailed down two bands to anchor the lineup – the universally-adored Jesse Schurr Band and Radiohead v. Tool young rockers Just Like Me. From there we filled out the rest of the set with some local songwriters breaking through at local venues and radio (Bevin Caulfield and Irene Molloy), a handful of our favorite open mic acts (Da1 and Brian Flannagan), some emerging voices on the scene (Ben Guez and our founder Lindsay Wilhelmi), as well as some perennial favorites like our friends Jon Glaubitz and Geoff Ednie, the hypnotic hang drumming of Dante Bucci, and good ol’ harmony-laden Arcati Crisis – all tied together by the talents of improv comedy veteran Matt Lydon as emcee.
With a title and a lineup in place the other details came together with alarming efficiency, including a list of firsts for our event: official staff t-shirts; volunteers with specific assignments; full-day photo and video coverage; grilled food for sale; a constructed stage complete with scrim; a professional light hang; and independent vendors, including body-painting and airbrushing from our amazingly talented friend Jennifer Vessels.
Lindsay and I marveled to each other that we had six other pairs of hands to assist in our traditional duties, and how it freed us to go above and beyond what we had done in past years. Lindsay had the opportunity to design a beautifully detailed logo, and I spent weeks writing copy for our various websites and interviewing our artists.
But, well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. Just Like Me had a time restriction that kept them segregated to the first half of the schedule, and Jesse Schurr would be appearing sans band due to schedule conflicts. Suddenly it was anchors-away for our lineup, and we were afraid the lack of bands would be disappointing to our audience.
In past years this sort of thing would completely railroad us, but here we were prepared. We had already put out early feelers to two of my absolutely favorite local bands – Enter the Rooms and Old Man Cactus – and it took only a week to secure them both. In that same week Just Like Me eliminated their time crunch, leaving us with an intensely packed lineup of amazing music.
That brings us to present day. The festival kicks off in exactly 36-hours, and I am a wired blend of enthusiasm and anxiety. We’ve done five festivals, three open mics, and a mixer, but this is the first time the full force of our organization and branding is on the line.
Success isn’t too far from our grasp. We are featuring fourteen amazing artists, and even if they each only bring a handful of audience members we’ll have quite a crowd when you also include general fans, perennial guests, plus volunteers and directors.
It isn’t hard to imagine us topping a hundred attendees, and we’d all be thrilled to see that happen – thrilled for the exposure for our artists, thrilled for the support, and thrilled that we are that much closer to the farm festival we’re so eager to throw in 2009.
That’s the story of Lyndzapalooza’s There’s a Stage on My Lawn! Hopefully I’ve given you some insight into how much behind-the-scenes work has gone into our sixth annual festival, although I can’t approach detailing all of the personal effort that each of our directors and volunteers have put into the planning of the event.
If you’re in Philadelphia on Saturday you should come to our festival. You can purchase or reserve tickets on the web at TicketLeap, or just grab driving directions and pay at the door. The closest train station is the R3 Yardley stop, which is three miles from the festival. If you’re stuck for a ride please leave a comment and I’ll find a way to get you to us.
I’ll be back with one more post with links to the music of everyone on our lineup. But, if I’m going to be using power-tools in eight hours I should probably get some sleep.