For the 12th year in a row, Bill Sundahl has organized the Crossroads Music Fest. And like most of its 11 predecessors, this year’s festival will feature new events and some well-known first-time performers.
The festival runs from 6 p.m. Saturday until 2 a.m. Sunday, and it comprises more than 40 bands at nine venues.
One of those venues is the RecordBar, which moved downtown, to 1520 Grand Blvd., from its Westport location and is participating in the festival for the first time.
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“Last year, we built a venue in a parking lot as our main venue,” Sundahl said. “But with the RecordBar in town, we’ve made that our main stage, though there’s so much good music at all the venues, it’s tough to declare one as the main venue.”
Two of the RecordBar performers will be making their inaugural Crossroads Music Fest appearances: the punk band Radkey and singer/songwriter Kelley Hunt.
“I’ve been calling (Radkey) for three years,” Sundahl said, “but we couldn’t do it schedule-wise, being in Europe or wherever. I’m really excited about it, to have this band of international import.”
Hunt, who has toured plenty internationally, said local festivals are vital for bands trying to get their footing in, and break out of, their hometown music communities.
“Anything that showcases and nurtures the energy of the local music scene is really important. It’s also incredibly important, more than people realize, the quality of the coverage the local scene gets,” she said. “Festivals like the CMF create opportunities for growth, help set high performance standards and provide chances for local artists who are building something to be heard, written about and connect with local fans.”
Before the festival, Hunt will conduct a songwriting workshop and participate in a panel discussion about women in music. The songwriting panel is 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. The panel discussion follows from 5 to 6 p.m. Both are at Collection, 1532 Grand Blvd. Both are free and open to the public.
“I’ve got some ways we can bring novice songwriters into a process they can work with and give experienced songwriters some additional ways to look at the craft and some techniques that possibly can serve them both,” she said. “It will be a very inclusive and hands-on approach set up for participants to do some writing and, hopefully, have some ideas and tools … to keep the process going.”
The panel discussion, she said, can be an opportunity for the audience and her fellow panelists — singer/songwriter Jessica Paige and Michelle Bacon of the Philistines and Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds — to share their experiences in the music world.
“One thing I hope happens is there will be a lot of young … aspiring artists and songwriters there,” she said. “It’s a way for me and the other panelists to actually have the opportunity to interact with people and … pass along some things that might (help them) understand the music business.”
Paige will participate in another first-time feature of the fest: the VIP venue.
“The size of our venues made it difficult to set up a separate VIP area,” Sundahl said. “Instead, we created another, separate venue where artists and volunteers who aren’t working can hang out. “
That venue is Good Golly, 1815 McGee St., a studio, production and events space. VIP tickets are available to the general public for $90, which includes access to all other festival venues plus food and drinks from 6 p.m. to midnight.
In addition, every hour from 7 to 10 p.m. there will be a 20-minute performance, but they won’t be typical performances.
“I’ve asked performers to find a partner to collaborate with,” Sundahl said. “They’ll be pretty stripped-down performances. The stage is small, and it’s a shotgun room so you can’t really get loud.”
Among the collaborations: flat-picker Julian Davis with the funk/rap/soul band the Phantastics; and Paige, a folk/pop/soul singer, with indie-rock singer/songwriter Heidi Lynn Gluck. Two other performances are also in the works; blues-whiz Brody Buster will be part of one of them.
This will be the third year that Sundahl is running the festival as the special events coordinator for community radio station KKFI (90.1 FM). The festival is a major fundraiser for the station, and his appointment has been beneficial for everyone.
“Now, instead of a great big passion that took over my life for several months, it’s my full-time job to make (the festival) happen and make it better,” he said. “Now, I’m working on it all year. And that’s better for everyone. The attention to detail is greater, and I’m not calling someone two or three days before the festival going, ‘Um, yeah, OK … I forgot …’”
Kelley Hunt will conduct a songwriting workshop from 3 to 5 p.m. at Collection, 1532 Grand Blvd. Hunt will then participate in a panel discussion about women in music from 5 to 6 p.m., also at Collection. Both events are part of the Crossroads Music Fest, and both are free and open to the public.
The 12th annual Crossroads Music Fest runs from 6 p.m. Saturday till 2 a.m. Sunday at several venues in the Crossroads Arts District. A festival pass is $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. VIP tickets are available for $90 in advance, $110 at the gate. To buy tickets and/or for a complete music schedule, visit CMFKC.com