Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Harrisonburg College Music Festival

MACROCK XII: The Annual College Music Festival Returns to the ‘Burg April 3 & 4 - March 26, 2009 - The WeatherVane Online
Ripped jeans. Faded rock t-shirts. Large white vans pulling boxy trailers covered in bumper stickers and filled with guitars, drums, amps, cd’s and t-shirts. Crowds of young kids with matching neon event wristbands yelling in anticipation and admiration. Loud singers with even louder guitars.

These are a few of the sights and sounds of the Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoCk). The annual weekend festival, which takes place on April 3 and 4, draws fans and bands to Harrisonburg for a celebration of independent music. From hip-hop to hardcore, bluegrass to experimental and everything in between, the two-day event covers a vast array of the indie music landscape.

From its creation twelve years ago, MACRoCk has been trying to connect bands, labels, and fans through concerts, workshops and panels. Started in conjunction with JMU, the event is now a collective effort of staff at local college radio station WXJM, local volunteers, and downtown businesses.

Ben Schlabach, an EMU alumnus whose band Mild Winter will be playing at MACRoCk for the second year, has been going to the festival for several years. “I’ve been personally going to MACRoCk for like eight years or so,” said Schlabach. “There are lots of cool bands that people haven’t heard of. A lot of smaller bands working really hard in the music scene.”

Over 80 bands are slated to play this year’s festival. Many bands are Virginia natives, but several are traveling long distances to play in Harrisonburg. Liquid Limbs from Gainsville, FL and Cast Spells from Chicago are just two bands that penciled MACRoCk into their touring schedule. North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio are also being represented at the event.

“It’s a little bit of a hometown pride thing,” said Schlabach. “It brings kids to Harrisonburg and shows them that Harrisonburg has a pretty good scene.”

Restaurants like the Artful Dodger, Blue Nile, Clementine Cafe, The Little Grill, and Franklin’s Cafe and Wine Bar join Court Square Theater and Lucy Simms School in hosting the shows.

Aside from concerts, the festival features discussion panels made up of various band members, radio personalities, and community organizations. The panels, held at various places around town, deal with topics like independent publishing, careers in radio, graphic designing, community improvement, and “behind the music” tales from band members.

Another weekend event aimed at linking bands, labels, and other members of the independent music community is the label expo. Artists, labels, booking agencies and public relations companies will have booths and stands discussing and showcasing their products and services.

MACRoCk celebrates its twelfth year on the weekend of April 4 -5. Shows start on Friday at 5 p.m. and on Saturday at 2 p.m. and continue past midnight.

Pre-sale tickets for both days are available for $15 at macrock.org. Tickets can also be purchased separately for Friday and Saturday at the box office at Court Square Theater.

More details including a full band list and schedule are available at macrock.org.
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