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L. Kent Wolgamott: Lincoln Calling Virtual Mini Fest — 30 livestreamed performances this weekend
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L. Kent Wolgamott: Lincoln Calling Virtual Mini Fest — 30 livestreamed performances this weekend

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The Fey

The Fey is one of the headline performers at this weekend's livestreamed Lincoln Calling mini festival.

Thirty performances will be livestreamed from three virtual stages over three days this weekend in the Lincoln Calling Give to Lincoln Virtual Mini Festival.

Lincoln Calling mini fest

Organized by Lincoln Calling’s Spencer Munson, the virtual mini fest, which will be streamed on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, will feature Lincoln musicians playing from their homes — now standard practice in the coronavirus streaming era.

But, it also will add two unique platforms: an outdoor stage and a flatbed trailer.

Friday evening, Steady Wells will open for Universe Contest on the outdoor stage, and Saturday we will see Orion Walsh go on before The Fey.

Those performances, which will be socially distanced for the artists and the Basement Creators Network crew, will run from 6 to 9 p.m., sunset shows that will give viewers a glimpse of the artists and the downtown Lincoln skyline.

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“We want people to tune in, see something they recognize and get a warm thought of being there in a month or two,” Munson said. “We’re keeping the location secret because we don’t want gathering. But it will be a place that people know.”

Sunday afternoon, the livestream will come from a trailer driving through neighborhoods around the Antelope Valley area. The House Band, Emily Bass and Josh Hoyer will each spend an hour on the trailer.

The precise route for the trailer, and the timing of the performances, will be fluid throughout the afternoon.

“We’re hoping to reach multiple neighborhoods with each artist,” Munson said. “It’s hard to know how long it’s going to take to even go a block. People might come out of their houses and we’ll want to give them a song or two before we move on.”

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If the trailer performances go well, Munson said, they could mark the first in a summerlong series of shows from the flatbed.

Most of the musicians on the festival bill are Lincoln favorites, from Plack Blague and Thirst Things First to Evan Bartlels, Jack Hotel and Lincoln Strong festival organizer Jack Rodenburg.

But there are a handful of artists from out of town.

“We felt they are Lincoln family,” Munson said. “A lot of the bands have played the festival several times or are from Lincoln. We also took into account artists who tour nationally to make a living and have less to fall back on.”

They include Chicago’s hard-touring garage rock duo White Mystery, who have played Lincoln Calling at least three times and have made more than 10 local appearances in the last decade. Also included are Bonehart Flanagan, the performance moniker of Lincoln native Jon Dell, who now is based out of New York, and SeaSaw, a Wisconsin indie-pop duo that has strong local ties.

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All the at-home performers are being encouraged to use all the available streaming technology and software to make the festival have a look that stands out from the hundreds of streams that have flooded the internet in the last couple of months.

The performers have been sent how-to kits that should help them with perfecting the lighting, audio and other elements of the livestream, Munson said. But many won’t need any instruction.

“A lot of the younger generation has that grasp for streaming, audio, software and applications,” Munson said. “It comes very natural to them. Like Jake Reisdorf, he has a video switcher he used, has his cameras positioned and really knows how to make a stream look good.”

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In addition to the music, the festival will feature five short workshops Saturday afternoon — on wellness, civic engagement, backyard gardening, coffee and meditation. The workshops will be hosted with split screens.

Between workshops and, perhaps, between performances, the festival will stream videos from other Lincoln nonprofits — sort of like television commercials.

“I feel like we’re going to be broadcasting our own little TV show for three days,” Munson said. “We’re working a lot with BCN (Basement Creators Network), who already were doing this kind of thing before the pandemic and trying to get the production to be high quality.”

The mini fest is also aimed at raising funds for Lincoln Calling, the 100-band-plus, multi-venue downtown music festival now entering its 17th year, and for the artists who will be performing.

The donations will be run through Give to Lincoln, the annual matched-giving program that, this year, has been expanded from one day to the month of May. Utilizing Give to Lincoln will allow the festival to receive a percentage match from the Lincoln Community Foundation.

All the performers on the mini fest will receive a guaranteed amount from the donated funds and could receive bonuses if Lincoln Calling receives a large amount of Give to Lincoln donations, Munson said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @KentWolgamott  

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Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott, the recipient of the 2018 Mayor’s Arts Award, has written about arts and entertainment for Lincoln newspapers since 1985, reviewing thousands of movies and concerts and hundreds of art exhibitions.

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