Bluebird festival features 72 acts, art gallery crawl

Friday, October 16, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Downtown clubs, galleries and cafes will showcase Midwestern entertainment this weekend during the collaborative Bluebird Music and Art Festival.

The festival brings together 72 musical acts to play at 12 venues Friday and Saturday and includes a three-block art gallery crawl Saturday night.

If you go

What: Bluebird Music and Art Festival

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Downtown Columbia

Tickets: $15 for a day pass, $25 for the weekend. Tickets for individual venues are available.

More information:

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Some of the music locations are genre-specific. The Broadway Brewery and Top Ten Wines, for example,  will feature singer/songwriters with an acoustic emphasis. The Forge & Vine will have bluegrass, while the The Blue Fugue will feature rock ‘n’ roll.

Tonic will host hip-hop and electronica music, and The Blue Note will be split between indie and Americana.

Other venues include Mojo's, Harpo's, The Vault, Underground Cafe, Quinton's and Eastside Tavern.

The crawl from 4-7 p.m. Saturday puts musicians in six art galleries: Poppy, Artlandish Gallery, Calhoun's, Sven's Kafe & Gallery, Orr Street Studios and 9th Street Deli.

This is Bluebird’s second effort to capture the contemporary cultural spirit of the region. Unlike the East and West coasts, festival organizers say the Midwest is a state of mind. When booking acts, they said it was important that the artists considered themselves Midwesterners.

Many of the organizers, such as John Henry Parr and Pat Kay, are working musicians who will perform during the festival.

Parr plays in his namesake band John Henry and the Engine, a band that has origins in Columbia. Kay plays with The Hipnecks.

Casey Reeves, a singer/songwriter, will perform at Top Ten Wines with his sister Hannah Reeves. Casey Reeves is also one of the festival's directors, and Hannah Reeves is the art director.

She was the art director for last year’s crawl, which had 18 stops. Although there are fewer stops this year, she said organizers were more discriminating in making their selections.

“This year,” she said “we were looking for edgy, conceptual pieces with thought behind it. That’s where the good Midwest ideas come through.”

Wes Wingate plays with John Henry and the Engine, The Hipnecks and Hilary Scott, all Bluebird acts. He will also perform with The Doxies in a reunion show.

Wingate, another director of the festival, is the co-owner and vice-president of Home Tone Records, a music label that recently put out "Million Dollar Bash," a Bob Dylan double-disc tribute cover album by Missouri artists.

The organizers hope the music festival grows, but first they need to pull through this second year, Casey Reeves said. Bluebird is using a lot of the knowledge that has made True/False Film Fest successful, including assembling more than 100 volunteers.

“It’s like True/False but with music,” Casey Reeves said.

An all-day pass costs $15, and a weekend pass costs $25. Individual tickets are available at each venue for $5 to $12. Art events are free.

MU students can purchase and student charge tickets at the MSA/GPC Box Office, a Ticketmaster outlet located on the second level of the MU Student Center.

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