What’s this? A music festival that isn’t Common Ground? No, you’re not dreaming.
Enter Three Stacks Music Festival, which will bless REO Town with a music fest devoid of tepid radio rock or electronic dance music fare.
“There’s been some pretty relevant stuff for Common Ground in the last five years,” said Nate Dorough, Three Stacks organizer and Fusion Show’s lead talent buyer. “But we wanted to do something that was a little bit more in our wheelhouse.”
Dorough and his team at Fusion planned a festival full of artists who have helped build the booking company’s reputation over its decade-long career.
“We moved into REO Town last year September, and I’ve just been staring at this street outside my office,” he said with a laugh. “And what better way to break in a new office space than to invite a bunch of punks over and throw a banger in the middle of the street?” Against Me!, Murder by Death, PUP, mewithoutyou, Screaming Females, Camp Cope, Petal, Oceanator, and City Mouse headline the femme-centric lineup.
“We’ve made a big push with Bled Fest to be more inclusive, to be more respectful, to be more representative, and that was something that carried over to this event,” Dorough said. “We tried really hard to do that but it also just naturally came together like that.”
Maybe in 30 years, dusty copies of “Led Zeppelin II” and “Dr. Feelgood” will be replaced by Julien Baker, Waxahatchee and Hop Along records — undoubtedly severely reducing the net amount of misogynistic “concept albums” in the world for the better.
In keeping with that positive trend, Dorough said Three Stacks allows for re-entry too.
“It’s very different from other festivals in that we’re not trying to keep you in the fence the whole time,” Dorough said.
It’s refreshing for a promoter to recognize that people don’t always leave music festivals to snort designer drugs off the blade of a bowie knife and rob a string of Quality Dairies.
Shockingly, they are often just using the bathroom and checking out the local wares.
“Folks can leave the festival area and dip into the marketplace. They can go get food at Saddleback or Good Truckin’ Diner, they can grab a coffee from Blue Owl, they can clean Heather out of all her records at the Record Lounge,” Dorough said. “We want this to be a community event, and in order to do that we don’t want to make it a onceyou’re-in-you’re-in festival.”
Along with all the food, Robin Theatre will host Michigan-based acts like Worn Spirit and Stefanie Hapaala. GTG Records are throwing an after party with the Plurals, Davey, and Bong Mountain. The pride of New Jersey, Don Giovanni Records, will also be there according to the label’s founder Joe Steinhardt.
A label that Steinhardt initially used to “release stuff that no one else would release,” Don Giovanni was birthed in a time when “it was literally unheard of for a punk band to have a publicist.”
Steinhardt’s label has slowly grown into its current welterweight status, issuing records by the Ergs, L7 and headlining act Screaming Females.
And of course, there will be a beer tent because why wouldn’t there be a beer tent? They’re everywhere. All the time.
A lot of things needed to line up just right for a festival like Three Stacks to happen. There needed to be enough money, sure, but there also still needs to be enough interest, tickets have to be moved.
“We hope Lansing shows up real strong and shows us they want more stuff like this,” Dorough said.
The only question now is if Lansing will turn out, or just settle for an eternity of Common Ground purgatory.
Three Stacks Music Festival June 23 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. GTG Records After Party at REO Town Marketplace until 2 a.m. 1100 block of South Washington Ave. $30 in advance $35 at the door www.threestacksfest.com