The South is continuing its resurgence into the music scene, with Clemson, South Carolina at the forefront every April. Since 2009, WSBF FM has presented their annual spring music and arts festival – more commonly known as Springfest.
WSBF General Manager, Ben Hines, describes the artistic variety of this festival. “As the upstate’s only true alternative radio station, we’re proud that we’re able to present an enjoyable, annual event that is accessible to all kinds of music fans while still remaining uniquely WBSF.” Bringing in local and regional musicians of all types, Springfest has become a cultural hub in a place typically recognized for football, not art.
Aside from two stages of music all day long, there will also be visual art displayed as well as a poetry slam next door. As one of this year’s billed bands, Xanderfly notes, “Springfest [has grown] from a largely unattended collection of unknown and obscure acts into the premier musical entertainment event in and around the town.”
Coming from humble beginnings, WSBF has not forgotten where Springfest’s roots lie. There is no ticket fee for entrance into Springfest V this April 20, 2013; rather, they request a donation of cash or canned goods. All proceeds from the festival go to benefit Clemson Community Care, a local non-profit working to help low-income families in the area. Last year alone, the festival raised 500 pounds of food and $1300 dollars for the organization. This year, some of the artists will be selling merch with some proceeds going towards Clemson Community Care.
The local theme does not stop at helping the local community – the Springfest V lineup of musicians boasts an awesome variety of local and regional acts. “If you look at every great music scene in history, you’ll see that they were all based around a community of musicians and fans,” says promotions director Derek Ryker. “We’ve tried to uphold that same communal spirit when curating this year’s lineup.” Uphold it they did, with 14 acts from all around the Southeast, from Clemson to Atlanta to Asheville and everywhere in between.
Each of these artists is more passionate than the next about supporting local music and the camaraderie between regional acts such as those playing this festival. Pan stated that “South Carolina is in a great position, musically, because we have many great bands in the region who are constantly touring in and out of our state; and with big cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, [and] Asheville nearby, SC bands have the opportunity to develop fan support in those cities by previously working with touring acts from those areas. Local fan support is very important but we cannot overstate our appreciation of the regional ‘band-to-band’ support we receive.”
Aside from support for one another on an artistic and professional level, it is great to see how many of these bands are genuinely excited about playing with each other at Springfest V. “This year’s line up is insane!” remarked Signs of Iris, while the members of Xanderfly feel “really excited to be hearing and hanging out with Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band.” The band cloudeater is also “excited to be a part of this diverse lineup.”
Asheville’s Total War explained that they are looking forward to having the opportunity to play with other Asheville bands they wouldn’t normally play with because of genre differences. They also state, “We’re very excited about the bill overall. Just getting to watch Royal Bangs would make the drive worth it for us even if we weren’t playing.” Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band looks forward to Springfest as well, saying “It should be a fun time. I don’t know any of the other bands on the bill, but look forward to getting turned on to some great new music.” Awesomely supportive, these bands are looking forward to seeing all the performances, even those they aren’t familiar with. Grand Prize Winners From Last Year chimed in with saying, “We are definitely looking forward to playing with such a diverse group of amazing bands, some of which are old friends, others we’re sure will become new ones.”
If the musicians are excited, I know I’m stoked. It is so refreshing to see so many artists so genuinely interested in working together and expanding their local and regional networks. The homegrown spirit is alive and well at Springfest, and this year is bound to be one of the best ever.
Here’s a peek at some of the Springfest V artists MEB got a chance to hear from:
Band Name: cloudeater
Genre: Alternative/Trip Hop
Members: Sam Dew (vocals), Daniel Friedman (guitar), Trevor Flanders (bass), Chris Hunt (drums), Nolan Kramer (synthesizers, effects)
Why you should check them out:
“I can guarantee there will be no Matchbox 20 covers.”
Band Name: Pan
Members: Ian Flegas (guitar), Nathan Stewart (guitar), Kayla Breitwieser (electric violin), Ryan Hutchens (bass), Charlie King (drums) — substitute drummer for Springfest: Eric Jones
Why you should check them out:
“We’re different! The show is going to be fun and the music is appropriate for all ages. Our goal is that, by the end of our set, you’ll leave feeling like a Champion.”
Plus, they want you to make their music your own – “The goal of our music is to inspire–we rarely add lyrics because we want the audience to visually and emotionally connect to the music in a personal way. By adding lyrics, artists force the audience to respond to the song in a specific way–by leaving the audience to generate their own ‘take’ of the song, they have the freedom to make it their own.”
Band Name: Xanderfly
Members: Alex Cates (Lead Guitar), Anthony Pele (Lead Guitar), Johnny Torres (Drums, Lead Vox), Rob Sumwalt (Keys, Lead Vox), William Hunter (Bass, Slide Guitar)
Why you should check them out:
They present an eclectic mix of sounds sure to make you groove. From the band – “While we’re going to bring to the table the same intensity, the same love for our craft, that we have always brought to Clemson, we have been working on a lot of new material with a wonderfully different sound (which will be released on an EP this summer).”
Band Name: Total War
Genre: Pop/New Wave
Members: Adam Woleslagle (drums), Ory Petty (bass), Jeremy Rose (guitar/vocals)
Why you should check them out: On their music – “Our band is a three-piece rock band that primarily plays fast pop songs. When listening, one should focus on the drums and bass. The guitar player is just making random noises and shouting words. “
To their potential new fans – “We’re really looking forward to meeting you. We’re really fun. Let’s hang out.”
Band Name: Signs of Iris
Members: Cassie Posey (Vocals/Synth), James Litzie (Bass), Jared Burger (Drums), Johnny Puleo (Guitar)
Why you should check them out: If their genre isn’t enough to fascinate you, the band has this to say: “We all try to have fun. We know how great it is to go to a show and see both your favorite bands and new bands, so we put on a fun live performance that expresses our love for the live experience.” And I’ve seen them live before. Worth it.
Band Name: Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band
Members: J.P. Miller (guitar/vocals), Al Al Ingram (bass/vocals), Mary Newcomb (keys/vocals), Derrick Johnson (trombone/vocals), Lee Allen (drums)
Why you should check them out: From the band – “Only come out to see Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band if you like to have fun. If you don’t like fun, then stay at home.”
Band Name: Mantis
Genre: Heavy Electronica
Members: Taylor Scott (Producer/DJ) and Paul Ollinger (Producer/DJ)
Why you should check them out: Their beats will get your body moving, and they want to expose you to music you may not be familiar with. Their goal in making music is “to broaden people’s horizons outside of what the mass media makes available to them.”
A word of advice from Mantis regarding the show – “Hold onto your butts!”
Band Name: Grand Prize Winners From Last Year
Genre: Experimental Hip Hop
Why you should check them out: From the band – “WSBF fans should come see us because we promise to deliver a show like no other and we guarantee a fun time!
CLOTHES WILL BE SHED, LEGS WILL BE BROKEN, IT WILL BE ANARCHY!!!”
Springfest V will be at Tiger Park in Clemson, SC on Saturday, April 20th and admission is free with a donation. For more information, visit www.wsbf.net/springfest