Pit Stop Music Festival is back in Bloomington this weekend, with a diverse list of headliners and a strong group of locals booked between Thursday and Saturday. Vroom vroom.
The four-venue fest includes The Bishop, The Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, The Backdoor and The Bluebird. It's the second occurrence of the fest, albeit a full five years after the inaugural event. Dan Coleman, who booked 200-plus shows last year in Bloomington, many with his promotions company Spirit of '68, was a little unsure at first about remounting the fest.
"You look for a reason not to do something, and then all the stars align for you to do it," Coleman says. "SXSW and IU spring break lined up perfectly again; Murder By Death just happened to be ending their tour on the Saturday of Pit Stop, and that's two strikes. Then Madlib [Friday's headliner] said yes, and that's three strikes. There's really no reason not to do this now. Everything has lined up perfectly for it to happen, so let's give it a go!"
So, stars aligned and all, Coleman started planning a second Pit Stop last October alongside Bishop owner Stephen Westrich, a galvanizing force behind the fest. His venue, The Bishop, is something of a homebase for Coleman, who books all the shows that happen there. As planning progressed, Katie Moulton came on as marketing director.
On the previous and following pages, I profiled two bands with strong local connections that are headlining Pit Stop. Murder By Death and Hiss Golden Messenger. Other headliners include Maps & Atlases and Madlib, who perform on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
"Madlib has been the force behind most of the hip-hop I've enjoyed over the past 10 to 15 years," Coleman says. "If you get a chance to do Madlib, you take a chance to do Madlib."
Former Bloomington resident DJ PHNM, now relocated to Chicago, will spin before Madlib's set at the Buskirk-Chumley on Friday.
"It's definitely a big honor to share the stage with Madlib," DJ PHNM (legal: Colin Rebey) says. "As a scholar of hip-hop and as a producer I've always been so influenced by the Jaylib Champion Sound album [recorded by J Dilla and Madlib]. I'm definitely excited to make my return to my alma mater and perform for the first time since I graduated back in 2011."
Coleman planned a Rad Summer showcase for the Friday slot at The Bishop; he says the label has come on "really strong in the last couple of years." He says it made perfect sense to get bring the label's active artists out for a showcase, since they're all in the middle of touring new albums.
"Bloomington is the town where we turned a corner in our career, [where] we wrote our most popular songs and started touring the country from there," Andy Duncan says. He'll play as part of the Rad Summer showcase, which also features Oreo Jones, Sirius Blvck and Party Lines. "There should be much more interplay between the Indy and Bloomington scenes than there sometimes is. Bloomington is a magical place with a great scene, but it's also a transient scene. We have friends all over the country that we met in Bloomington, and now when we go back we have to win a new audience over all the time; it's great fun!"
Bloomington musician Mike Adams will take the stage before Hiss Golden Messenger and William Tyler.
"I'm a huge Merge Records fan, so playing with Hiss Golden Messenger and William Tyler [both signed to Merge] is very cool," Adams says. "I just hope some of the crowd sticks around to see them after we play." (Mike, you jokester.)
Pit Stop attendees can purchase tickets for individual shows, one day passes, or a single $55 festival pass allowing access to every show on the fest.
The Alamo Freeze will open for Maps and Atlases on Thursday at The Bishop.
The Rad Summer Showcase will feature Andy D, Sirius Blvck, Party Lines and Oreo Jones.
Sunspots and The Brothers Gross will open for Natural Child Saturday at The Back Door.
Mike Adams at His Honest Weight will open for Hiss Golden Messenger and William Tyler Saturday at The Bishop.
Purple 7 and Lech will open for High Dive Thursday at the Backdoor. (Editor's note: Lech, we can't find your music anywhere! Send it to us at email@example.com.)
DJ PHNM will open for Madlib at the Buskirk Chumley on Friday and spin with Action Jackson later that night at the Backdoor.