The Crossroads Music Fest turns 10 years old this year, but it’s a milestone year for its founder, Bill Sundahl, for another reason.
In May, Sundahl was named coordinator of special events and volunteers for community radio station KKFI (90.1 FM). When he started his job in May, Sundahl brought with him several of the events he had founded as part of his Spice of Life Productions, including the annual KC Spring Dance and the Crossroads festival, which has become a highlight in the local music scene.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Sundahl said of his KKFI position. “I get to keep doing all the events I’ve loved to do, but now I do them to help raise money for a station that has been really good to me.”
Sundahl was hired after longtime coordinator for events Bill Clause retired.
“I’d been looking to get into this work full time,” Sundahl said. “And this job came up.”
Station manager Barry Lee said, “We were fortunate to be able to hire him. Once he told me he’d be bringing (the festival) to KKFI, it was a no-brainer. It’s also good to have a musician involved in doing events. He can relate to musicians’ needs.”
The festival already has benefited from having the station behind it, Sundahl said.
“Now I have 100,000 watts to talk about it,” he said. “There are rules regulating what you can and can’t talk about on the air, depending on whether or not it’s a station event. Because it’s a KKFI event now, we can talk about ticket prices and other details.
“It has also opened doors to grants we didn’t have access to before. This year, we got a (Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund) grant.
Sundahl also will enlist the station’s on-air personalities to help at the festival.
“I’ve always wanted to have emcees at every stage to introduce the bands,” he said. “But I couldn’t afford to pay people and didn’t want to ask people to volunteer to emcee at a stage all night.
“This year, I’m getting a lot of programmers involved. We’ll have them introducing the acts and be emcees all night.”
The festival lost one venue, the Midwestern Musical Co., which is in the process of closing its doors, but has added two others: The Tank Room, 1813 Grand Blvd., and the alley behind the Mercy Seat Tattoo and Art Gallery at 16th Street and Grand Boulevard. The alley previously had been a venue, but was not part of last year’s festival.
For the first time, Sundahl has relinquished booking of two of the venues to local record labels so they can do label showcases: Money Wolf Music at Collection, 1532 Grand Blvd. and the Record Machine at Czar Bar, 1531 Grand Blvd.
“We’ve never done that,” he said. “I was too much of a control freak to say, ‘Here, do what you want.’ I’ve wanted to do it, and this year I let it happen.”
He has focused heavily on music since he started, but the job involves more than that.
“A quarter of our programming is public affairs and talk,” Sundahl said. “I’ve been learning how events can support those shows and help fund the station. For example, for the Ethnic Enrichment Festival, we ran spots on the air and set up a booth on the site, just to give us a presence at the festival.”
“This not-for-profit thing is a completely different world. No more handshake deals. Everything has to be documented and put on paper and made traceable. And the volunteer coordination is a big job in itself.”
Beyond the festival, Lee said, Sundahl and the station have plenty in store.
“The Crossroads Music Fest is only the beginning,” Lee said. “We have some other very cool events coming up.”
The 10th annual Crossroads Music Fest begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at seven venues in downtown Kansas City. Advance tickets are $15 and are available at cmfkc.com. Tickets are $20 at the door.
GREEN LADY LOUNGE, 1809 GRAND BLVD.
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Chris Hazelton Trio
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.: Organ Jazz Trio
THE TANK ROOM, 1813 GRAND BLVD.
6 to 6:45 p.m.: Scott Hrabko and the Rabbits
7:15 to 8 p.m.: Old Sound
8:30 to 9:30 p.m.: Maria the Mexican
10 to 11 p.m.: Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.: The Philistines
COLLECTION, 1532 GRAND BLVD.
6 to 7:15 p.m.: Beau Bledsoe, Danny Krause, Chad Abernathy and Will Mallott.
7:30 to 8:45 p.m.: Gregg Todt, John Stubblefield, Justin Penney and Gary Cloud.
9 to 10:15 p.m.: Kris Bruders, Thom Hoskins, Mikal Shapiro and Tommy Donoho.
10:30 p.m. to midnight: Mike Alexander, Jason Beers, Dead Ven and Robert Paulson.
CZAR BAR, 1531 GRAND BLVD.
6 to 7 p.m.: Gastly Menace
8 to 9 p.m.: La Guerre
10 to 11 p.m.: Chambers
Midnight to 1 a.m.: The Noise FM
1 to 2 a.m.: Max Justus
MERCY SEAT ALLEY, 16TH STREET AND GRAND BOULEVARD
7 to 8 p.m.: Onward Crispin Glover
9 to 10 p.m.: Hipshot Killer
11 p.m. to midnight: Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds
THE BRICK, 1727 MCGEE ST.
6 to 7 p.m.: Rural Grit All-Stars
7:20 to 8:20 p.m.: Starhaven Rounders
8:40 to 9:40 p.m.: Dead Voices
10 to 11 p.m.: AY Musik
11:45 p.m. to 12:45 a.m.: Mark Lowrey and Drums
1 to 2 a.m.: Bacon Shoe
CROSSROADS KC, 417 E. 18TH ST.
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Loose Park
8 to 9 p.m.: Not a Planet
9:30 to 10:30 p.m.: My Brothers and Sisters
11 p.m. to midnight: Me Like Bees