Auditions underway for Linton Music Fest, but fewer bands will make the cut

Friday, February 17, 2012

Local acts seeking a slot at the Linton Music Festival can begin vying for a place on the schedule, with auditions already underway for the summer-ending event.

However, fewer will make the cut than ever before.

This year's Linton Music Festival will have half the acts on its roster -- 25 compared to 50 last year -- a change organizers intend to improve sound quality and give performers a better chance to be heard.

Additionally, the fest will reduce its stages from three down to two while concurrently slating fewer acts.

That's to improve the show, founder Jared Albright said, and give the audience and performers a better experience.

"Basically, last year we experimented with having three stages and 50 acts, and we kind of saw some weaknesses. This year, the focus is on quality, not quantity. We're trying to focus on putting on a high quality event with great production and sound."

No act's been confirmed yet, but some festival mainstays may have played their last shows as competition for performances intensifies.

"We're kind of looking at crowd feedback, and because of that, we will change some things up. Some bands which have played here for quite a few years will move on," Albright said.

Albright and Ryan Irish, who books the acts for the festival, are going through last year's list of performers and determining which will be invited back.Auditions are also underway, with applications available at

To make the cut, bands must provide:

* At least three professionally recorded original songs on a CD or digital file;

* A professional group photo;

* A website, which can include a Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, Bandcamp or similar page; and

* A band biography and description which is at least 150 words long.

Applying doesn't mean a band will make the cut. Local acts will likely be asked to also perform in a battle of the bands designed to gauge which acts receive an invite based on fan support.

"We've opened up submissions, and now we will wait and see what comes in," Albright said.

Summer's still nearly four months away, but organizers of the festival are already preparing for Labor Day, recruiting acts for the eighth annual event, which is slated from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Humphreys Park.

The 2011 festival, held over Labor Day weekend, had a few problems, Albright admitted, as some of the acts slated to perform on the new third stage, located north of the two larger stages, were seen by fewer attendees than he'd like.

"A lot of people seem to think if it's not happening on the front stages, it's not happening," Albright said. "I think a lot of good bands went unseen because of it."

Accordingly, the third stage will be eliminated, and performances staggered so only one band's performing at any time.

"We're going to focus on two stages, and only have one stage running at a time. One stage will have performers playing, and then when it's done, we'll have an act on the next stage," he said. "What we're hearing is, people don't like to get up and move around."

The effort's intended to improve the event and ensure its longevity, he said.

"We want to one, make this a better experience for the artist and the fans and two, to make this event sustainable so it's around for years to come. We intend to put on a quality show like we always have."

Funding sources are also being sought. Organizers may establish a Kickstarter page to seek on-line donations, and further intend to apply for more grants through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Indiana Arts Commission.

In 2011, the event officially became recognized as a 501 (3) (C) non-profit as the Linton Community Development Corp.

"We're also going to be looking for our corporate sponsorship, talking to all our past sponsors and seeing what they can do this year," he said.

A fundraising dinner is also slated for June 2 which will return festival performer Duke Tumatoe, famed as a founder of REO Speedwagon and a popular bluesman who frequently performs on "Bob and Tom," the nationally syndicated radio show.

"We don't have a venue yet, but tickets will be $25 and will include dinner," Albright said. "There will be limited seating."

Donors and volunteers can also offer help by contacting event officials via e-mail at

The festival began as Albright's idea in 2004.

Its roots run even deeper, however, beginning with a 2001 event Albright hosted, Phatfest.

A cross-between a festival and a battle of the bands, Phatfest featured five local bands from Greene and Sullivan counties.

By its third year, Phatfest was drawing over 500 people, before eventually expanding into the Music Fest the following summer.

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  • This is a great idea, many out of town people didn't relize there were many stages and many bands!

    -- Posted by hollingsworth_m on Sat, Feb 18, 2012, at 9:56 AM
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