Yesterday, the official Kansas City Reggae Uprising Festival website launched. Run by the organizers of the festival, it will be a clearinghouse for all things about the festival and bands who play it, as well "as a simple blog forum for Kansas City reggae fans to share their own pictures, videos and comments," according to Patrick Brown.
The site's launch featured the exclusive debut of the video for "Black Stick Rock," from the Blue Riddim Band's Tribute album, which was shot and directed by Brown. The man's got so much going on, we figured he'd be the brain we needed to pick about upcoming details for the third festival, and other things KCRUF-related.
The Pitch: Have you put together a tentative date for this summer's festival?
Patrick Brown: Our hope for the festival from the beginning was to let it grow organically from year to year. Moving the festival to Californos and being able to have it outside last year was a good step. We are very excited they are letting us host the festival on their patio again, and expanding on that with our weekly series. This year, the festival will begin on Friday, August 26, with a ska show that will feature two to three bands and two DJs. The reggae portion of the festival will once again be an all-day event, with six to seven bands, and four DJs.
Any performers you've reached out to about playing the festival?
The New Riddim is scheduled to play the ska show, as well as DJ Rico and DJ Johnny2tone. We plan on adding at least one other band to that bill, and hope to work out that date with a touring act that has not played KC before. We haven't laid the total groundwork for the reggae show quite yet, but any of the bands that have played our festivals previously are invited to perform. We would like to bring in at least one to two bands from out of town that may not play KC all that often, or haven't previously played our festival.
Will the performers you're hosting at Californos tie into the festival at all?
Friday night will feature the New Riddim, DJ Rico and Johnny2tone, the current kings of the ska around here these days. For the reggae festival, we know we have 77 Jefferson, LivStat, and Jah Kings on the bill. As for DJs on the reggae bill, it will be myself, Richmo (who is one of the organizers and our resident sound man this summer when he is not playing keys for 77 Jefferson or bass for Jah Kings), DJ S. Ranx from Topeka, and DJ Stiga from Lawrence.
When we got the OK from Californos to start booking, Richmo stepped up and had every date from late April to early August booked in a matter of three days. We have such a wide variety of talented bands playing the Friday-night series, it is going to be hard to only have a few more spots to fill. If enough people were into it, we could easily go three days given the time and space in the future.
How'd the Californos series come about?
At one point or another, nearly every member of 77 Jefferson has worked at Californos, and they pioneered the reggae shows on the patio in 2005 when they first got together. Mike Dunn of 77 Jefferson is one of the head bartenders, and also one of the organizers of this series and both festivals. Our shows there have always been fairly successful, but there was never any particular rhyme or reason to when they would happen. I had the idea after last year's festival to see if we could build even more consistency by doing a show every Friday night. We also decided to simplify the bill with one band and one DJ each week, to allow all the artists involved plenty of time to showcase their talents.
The cover at the door will be $5 each and every week, with the DJ spinning from 8 to 10 p.m., and the band playing from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., with a set break to give the DJ a little primetime action. We just want to let people know, if they need their reggae fix, we have it each and every week! We have more bands coming in from out of town than any summer before, with great bands like Aaron Kamm and the One Drops from St. Louis, TUGG from LaCrosse WI, Jon Wayne and the Pain from Minneapolis, the Bishops from Omaha, RC Dub, Cornerstone Dub, and Vibenhai from Lincoln, and hopefully a few more surprises for the few open dates left.
Has the KCRUF helped tie together the KC reggae scene? Or, at the very least, has it brought any more attention and focus to the scene?
We hope that we have helped bring the scene together. When Mike and I first had the idea for the festival and film in 2009, some of the older bands had played shows with a few of the newer bands. The first KCRUF fest was the first time everyone collectively played on the same bill, and I feel like that led to even more collaboration. It is evidenced in our documentary, which we hope to screen at least one more time this summer before I enter it into film festival competition.
We are lucky to have a wide range of styles, and the bands in KC seem to complement each other well. There has been a lot of help between bands to make shows happen in the past several years, which I know everyone in the scene is grateful for. It really does feel like having a very large extended family, which is to say the scene is not without its squabbles, but at the end of the day everyone just wants to put the music first.
With our new website, we hope to help spread the music even further by providing not only announcements about shows, but a place where people can post stories, photos and videos of their own. It will serve as a one-stop destination to find info on all of the bands that play our series, and really any acts that come through Kansas City as well. We will have links to everyone's websites, and to any music they have for sale online. We also plan to have free music on a monthly basis, and new video clips on a weekly basis.