Sagging economy be damned! So say the men behind budding Downtown music festival Neon Reverb.
As promised even before the event’s successful September launch, the four-night fest will return to Fremont Street in March, co-organizer James Woodbridge has confirmed. Neon Reverb, take 2, will go down March 12-15 at the Beauty Bar, Bunkhouse and other venues to be determined (The Box Office and Icehouse are serious contenders), again with some 30 local and visiting bands—but with at least one significant format change.
“We’ll probably have as many bands as last time, but over three nights instead of four,” Woodbridge says. “Last time we had some really great bands on [night four], but people were exhausted by then and didn’t turn out in appropriate numbers. So this time the fourth night will be a wrap party with some DJs and maybe some one-off acoustic sets. But probably no bands … unless someone awesome comes around.”
Neon Reverb is, in fact, chasing someone quite awesome: The Hold Steady, which last played Vegas in September 2007. Singer Craig Finn’s sister is a local resident, giving the festival a fighting chance, Woodbridge figures, to ensnare the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Minneapolis five-piece. “And if we got a band like that, we could do regional advertising and pull people in from San Diego and LA and the festival would get mentioned on [websites like] Pitchfork and PopMatters, which could help it build.”
Still, with no major sponsor onboard (economy be doubly damned!), 2009’s lineup could very well resemble 2008’s, which still looked pretty awesome from here. Locals Black Camaro and The Ku have already signed on, and The Bleachers, Love Pentagon and A Crowd of Small Adventures are among others on the promoters’ wish list. Out-of-town possibilities include Say Hi, Pop Levi and The Shys. “We’re also planning on including more genres, so we might have a rockabilly-type show, a reggae-type show, maybe even a hip-hop night,” Woodbridge says.