Swerve Festival: Day Two 09/30/07
With indie rock mainstays Devotchka, Oh No! Oh My!, Foreign Born, Snowden, Illinois, The Black Angels, St. Vincent, and Thee More Shallows, how can one really go wrong? Well, quite simply by not publicizing your festival enough. My experience swerving was a little disconcerting, mainly because of the poor turnout. It's my turn to take a stab at this whole Swerve Festival.
Everything seemed perfect on paper (the music, the art, the film, and the ideas) yet for some reason Swerve did not come together as well as I had imagined it to. I was an envisioning an influx of hipsters from the surrounding areas to congregate upon a hill and have a wild time. Instead on Saturday, I arrived at the Swerve Festival to twenty people watching Illinois. Silence prevailed. In between songs there was the distant rumblings of applause, but I doubt the band could even hear it. And as I explained to my friend, "Half of the audience were old people who looked like they didn't even know how they got there or why they were there!" It probably wasn't the warm Los Angeles welcome a small band from PA, who graced a Weeds episode earlier this year, expected.
Although things picked up progressively as the festival continued on Sunday the general consensus was that attendance was lower than expected. My friend, a Los Feliz native, decided to come merely because he heard music coming from a nearby hillside. Not because he had read about it in the LA Weekly or the Times. A photographer reminded me of the more successful Barnsdall festival endeavors in times past. The Arthurfest in 2005 was a perfect example of how to effectively execute such ideas. There wasn't an empty spot on the pinnacle of that hill. The point is if you're going to hold a festival, investing so much time, money, and effort into the music facet, then you better ensure a considerable audience.