Alicia Champion, Executive Producer, San Diego IndieFest
Danielle LoPresti, Executive Producer, San Diego IndieFest
Related Story: San Diego IndieFest Is Back
CAVANAUGH: San Diego IndieFest is back this year, and bigger and better than effort. It features a wide range of music genres including rap, Latin, jazz, country, and yes, indie rock! It's also in a larger venue, the NTC stage at Liberty Station. And it lasts for three days, starting this Friday. Joining me are my guests, the two executive producers are of the festival. Alicia champion.
CHAMPION: Thank you for having us.
CAVANAUGH: And Danielle LoPresti. You said you wanted to restructure the festival. What did you mean by this?
LOPRESTI: We just moved to liberty station, and it's always a really big deal when you move your festival. We wanted to take stock of what, worked. Tried to make some plans for things we wanted to see improve. And we also welcomed the birth of our son. So we had a lot to do in that space. And we're really glad we did it because we're back bigger than we've ever been, and we feel really excited about the quality and diversity we're presenting this year.
CAVANAUGH: Alicia, how did you decide you wanted to emphasize?
CHAMPION: Well, are the decision to move came out of a need. We're in North Park for four years before that. And in 2010, we just outgrow the space. We had turn away almost 1,000 people in 2010. And we knew, okay, it's time for a bigger space. So we spent the rest of that year shopping around for a new venue, found liberty station, which had just kind of reopened and was working on refurbishing those buildings, and wanted to establish themselves as a arts and culture hub. And the dance place is there. Art is a reason to be there.
>> And there's a space for children. It really is a family event. But the space for kids to run around, for people to stretch out and lie in the sun when they enjoy the music stages, to do the -- participate in the interactive art, to go inside a big, beautiful theatre for the film portion of indie fest, just the space is wonderful. And the parking is easy. It's just a much more enjoyable experience when you're not worried about where am I going to park, when there's all that grass and trees and sky, it's just a beautiful weekend.
CAVANAUGH: Let's talk about the headliners. Of course there's Cake. And that's an alternative rock band, if anybody doesn't know, from Sacramento. Everywhere excited to be here, right?
LOPRESTI: Yeah, we're really excited for them. They've got a whole bunch of hits. Almost everybody knows who they are if we start singing their songs.
CAVANAUGH: Sure! And we can start singing the song, Human Mic, from Talib Kweli. Let's just hear that for a moment.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: And the next clip, Best Coast, an American indie rock band. This is Our Deal.
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: Danielle, you really have all sorts of music.
LOPRESTI: We really do! Our jazz headliner is Gilbert Castellanos. All the hip hop we book is passionate, intelligent hip hop. We're passionate about people understanding hip hop is not misogynistic or violent. All the hip hop is inspiring, intelligent. We have country, Americana, world, we have Latin, we have spoken word.
CHAMPION: And a whole night dedicated to electronic dance music as well. Friday.
CAVANAUGH: We actually have a little of that!
[ LAUGHTER ]
CAVANAUGH: We have Future Primitive, and this is from the album, “Searching for Beauty in the Dark.”
(Audio Recording Played)
CAVANAUGH: I don't want to glaze over the fact that you're having country. You're having one of the biggest YouTube stars of the summertime here in San Diego, Steve Grand. Tell us about him.
CHAMPION: Well, about eight weeks ago, most of the country didn't know who he was. He was just another indie musician, just like all of us, playing cover gigs, and church gigs just trying to make his bread. He put together whatever savings he had and made a fantastic video that he uploaded to YouTube. And it just skyrocketed, went viral. He had some 1.6million hits in a week.
LOPRESTI: All American Boy.
CAVANAUGH: He's been on principally every big talk show across the nation.
CAVANAUGH: And he's going to be at undery fest.
LOPRESTI: Making his California debut.
CHAMPION: And he'll be sitting here with us on our set opening for Cake.
CAVANAUGH: That's great! And it's not just music, indie fest.
LOPRESTI: No, not at all.
CAVANAUGH: Movies too.
LOPRESTI: We are so proud of our film stage this year. We have two academy award winning films, one, Inocente, about a young girl here in San Diego.
CAVANAUGH: A homeless artist.
LOPRESTI: Yes. Just fantastic diverse, films. Lots of shorts but also some features, lots of interactive visual art this year that we're really excited about. But mostly what we really want people to feel when they go to indie fest is inspired. We want them to walk away with armloads of all this wonderful new music and film and art that they never knew was out there. Because what we're trying to fight is this false misconception that a band or artist must be famous in order for them to be any good. That's not true. There are so many fantastic independent artists and businesses and nonprofits out there right here in our own community that simply aren't well known. So we want you to come to indie fest and make discoveries.
CAVANAUGH: And also I'm intrigued by the fact that you say there's a nonviolence theme in this.
CHAMPION: We're so committed to many social causes. Especially this year. We've been deeply affected by the George Zimmerman verdict, and we wanted to really focus on particularly this year on a nonviolent theme. Just stretching over any kind of violence. And we're showing the Invisible War on our film stage which was Oscar help nominated this year about sexual violence in the military. And we have the Clothes Line Project, which is a wonderful nonprofit dedicated to nonviolent conflict resolution, and especially violence against women. They are sponsoring the Rock to Stop Violence stage.
CAVANAUGH: So there's a really political edge to this as well.
LOPRESTI: Well, we like to --
CHAMPION: Social, social definitely.
LOPRESTI: We really want to build community. We want people to know what is in their community, we want them to move out of apathy, into action, and find the things that they really care about, find a way to express themselves through all these fantastic groups that are really working day to day to make a difference.
CAVANAUGH: How do you put on such a big production? How is it financed?
LOPRESTI: Well, isn't that always the question! We work really hard all year long, and we work to find funding and to find sponsors that are really excited to be a part of this. And we keep growing the event. And we see a day when they're all going to be coming to us, and it's not going to be as difficult or as challenging. And it is getting easier. So that's good.
CHAMPION: But this event does survive because of the community around
LOPRESTI: That's a great point. We need people to buy tickets and come.
CHAMPION: It's largely volunteers, it's a big artists' collective who just believe in the mission and give their blood, sweat, and tears to it. Paul Garret, our film stage producer has been working tirelessly on this program.
LOPRESTI: It's really a family production.
CAVANAUGH: And also, you make a very strong point that this is it a family-friendly event. You want people to bring their kids, bring their moms, dads.
CHAMPION: Oh, that is so huge to us! This is a multicultural, multiracial, multigenerational event. We want to be the most diverse audience you have ever been a part of. That is so important to us and sacred to our hearts. The big day to go with your kids is Saturday.
CAVANAUGH: And they can check out your website to see which events are which days?
LOPRESTI: Absolutely. But the interactive app is the best way to do it because they can hear the artists' music, they can see the trailer, and they can create a personal play list of the acts they want to make sure not to miss. And they can download that for free at SanDiego IndieFest, at the app store or Google Play.
CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much for being here.
CHAMPION: Thank you.
LOPRESTI: Thank you, it was a real pleasure.