By Gretchen Gregory
LOGAN — The fencing is in place, music stages and tents are arriving today, and crews have been working around the clock decorating and constructing platforms of various shapes and sizes, where live murals will be created by a gathering of artists from the Midwest. And it’s all part of Rootwire Music & Arts Festival, happening this weekend at Kaeppner’s Woods, located just off of state Route 93 North on Sutton Road.
The festival is youth-led by a group of young adults, but is the brainchild of Athens band Papadosio. It will feature a combination of art, environmental workshops and music from bands currently on national tour, ushering in an eclectic type college crowd reminiscence of a circus atmosphere more than anything else.
“The goal is to literally help inspire Ohio people into realizing there is a lot of really good art here,” explained Anthony Thogmartin, a member of Papadosio.
“I think there’s a lot of nihilism in the art scene, especially the music scene, and most seem to be out to just make a buck,” Thogmartin said. “We just expect to break even this year. We are trying to remind people that visual art is art, dancing is art, and interpretive dancing is interpretive thinking. Just because it’s not profitable doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be part of the collective experience. If your just getting the music part, your missing much of the art. We’re focusing on what makes people love art, and this is kind of our take on it.”
Throughout the event, several artists will be painting murals, creating “live art,” while live music is performed. According to artist Michael Garfield, his painting are “improvised,” based on the music on stage and the crowd’s response. “Each painting grows according to an evolving visual genome, translated from the throb of the house and the crowd,” he explains on the Rootwire Web site.
There will be a total of seven artists creating “live art” throughout the three-day event.
Lindsay Nova, a certified yoga teacher and hoop dancer, holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance and will teach yoga classes this weekend. Besides Nova, there will be others teaching hooping techniques, along with how to belly dance. There also will be fire-eaters, just like the circus.
There also will be workshops on living a sustainable life and each one seems to have its own zen-like quality, such as “Exploring the Energy of Awakening,” “Living Together on Mother Earth,” and “Uncovering the Reciprocity between Ecology and Technology.”
Papadosio, the band headlining the festival, has developed a young college-age fan following over the past few years, and their music is best described as jamtronic, a mixture of electronica straight out of Detroit combined with improvised jams similar to that of jam bands.
Malah, another band on the bill, hails from Greenville, S.C., and self-describes themselves as having “structurally written music mixed with improvisational jams.”
The Werks of Dayton also has a large following of fans, and are a fusion of rock, funk, jam and trance. The band recently signed with Nimblesick and Rootwire is one stop on its national tour.
Zoogma performed at Wakarusa Music Festival in Arkansas, one of the biggest music festivals in the country, earlier this summer. They bring a highly energetic performance and their own artistic light show. They hail from Oxford, Miss.
Ep3 from Atlanta, Ga., is currently touring the Midwest and Southeastern part of the United States. “They have taken a hold of new technologies and traditional improvisational elements to create a progressive and fresh take on livetronica,” according to the Rootwire Web site.
UV Hippo of Grand Rapids, Mich., short for ultraviolet hippopotamus, take their name from a Robert Anton Wilson book. “UV Hippo mixes tight funky jams with original dance beats and strange effects for a killer musical experience,” the site continues. “The band performs an eclectic array of composed and improvised original material, dancing between genres of funk, jazz, electronica, reggae, bluegrass and progressive rock.
Macpodz is visiting from Michigan, performing funky dance music coined “disco bebop.” Moon Taxi hails from Nashville, Tenn., and is an explosive rock bank that has opened for acts such as Umphrey’s McGee, Matisyahu, Gov’t Mule and DJ Logic.
Twin Cats from Indianapolis, Ind., is a progressive rock band, while Jimkata is a four piece electro-rock band based out of Ithaca, N.Y. Flow Trio of New York is a collaboration of organ player Soren Moller of Jazzheads Records, saxophonist Kim Bock of SteepleChase Records and drummer Peter Retzlaff of Universal Records.
Silo Effect of Richmond, Va., plays 70s funk with heavy guitar effects, and Strange Arrangement of Chicago is a four-piece band bordering on the livetronica and jam scenes.
The weekend also includes performances by Nala of Saratoga Spring, N.Y., Sci Fi of Wilmington, N.C., Super Massive of Cincinnati, The Floozies, Garganta of Grand Rapids, Mich., aFugate of Pittsburgh, Pa., Shank Bone of Athens and Elemental Groove Theory of Athens.
The gates open Friday August 6 at 9 a.m., with the festival officially ending early Sunday morning August 8. A three-day weekend pass is $70 at the gate, and includes primitive camping at Kaeppner’s Woods, which features more than 200 acres of hiking and biking trails, along with hot showers. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.rootwirefestival.com.