What’s up Saturday? How about this: Something called the Vibrant Sky Festival. Kicking off at 1 p.m., the first installment of the festival is set to go down at Sky Stage and will feature the likes of Silent Old Mtns., Crooked Hills and Jack Funk. John Lawton, whose band Chèvre will perform at the event, set up the show and we recently caught up with him to talk about how he came up with the lineup, criticisms regarding diversity in the event, and what we can expect from the event as a whole.
First, how did the idea for Vibrant Sky come to be? Who had it and how did you know you wanted to go to Sky Stage for it?
I came up with the idea for Vibrant Sky. I felt that more of the community needed access to the great original music scene we have here in Frederick and thought the best way to do that was through a festival. Sky Stage has been bridging the gap between the arts and community the last couple years and having played there last year, I knew the space had a great sound and was close enough to Market Street and Carroll Creek to pull people in.
Who picked the bands and how did you come up with the lineup? Anyone you really wanted to get on that you couldn’t because it just didn’t work out?
I picked the bands and the idea behind the lineup was to keep things interesting, and not have too much of one particular genre at once. With this being the first year of the festival, I wanted to keep things fairly local to Frederick (with the exception being Heavy Wire, who are from Westminster/Baltimore but really hit a sweet spot between heavier rock and melodic pop). Thankfully all the bands I asked said yes, and hopefully, we will be able to expand and pull talent from the surrounding areas in the future.
There has been some criticism for the festival due to a lack of diversity in the lineup. What would you say to that?
I understand that diversity can mean different things to people. In my mind it meant diversity in original music. Hopefully people will come out and decide for themselves, and any criticism will be used in planning the next Vibrant Sky.
Are there any sets you’re looking forward to the most at the festival?
I think I’m looking forward to seeing how the crowd reacts from set to set the most. I enjoy all the bands that will be playing.
And finally, what can we expect from the festival and do you think there will be a Vibrant Sky 2 next year?
You can expect a high level of musicality from the bands playing, and a comfortable environment with the ability to come and go as you please (if you’re from out of town, I hope that you will take a walk around the city and take in all that it has to offer). I certainly plan on trying to put together another Vibrant Sky installment next year — hopefully it will grow along with the original music scene in this area!