Teen Music and Arts Festival
Saturday, June 24
The second annual Teen Music and Arts Festival took place this past Saturday at the Wayne Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library on the city’s Westside. Eight bands from around the metro area drew a respectable crowd to enjoy great summer weather and great live music.
One of the musical highlights came from the performance of Athalon, a metal/punk band from Zionsville with an intense sound aided by the use of a synthesizer, which is always a good thing. Although a train chugged by and whistled not 25 feet away, shaking the ground and the stage, the band stayed on their feet and didn’t miss a beat.
Another standout was X-Out, a punk band from Clayton that played late in the day and made sure that the crowd was still moving despite the heat. Packed with guitar swings, drummer screams and “99 Red Balloons,” the band also took on Fallout Boy and AFI covers and rounded off their set with stunning originals.
Last year’s winners of the competition, Speedway’s pop-punk Pancake Rescue Squad, started off their set with a cover of REM’s “The End of the World As We Know It” and continued with plenty of original songs, including “Excuses are Useless” and “You’ve Wasted Me.” Despite the loss of their lead singer last year, the reformed group has bounced back with a great sound and impressive songwriting.
One of the most original performances came from The Blooming of Broad Ripple. They took the stage, did their three-piece instrumental thing and restored everyone’s faith in jazz-rock. With a blaring trumpet, great guitar licks and a dancing bassist, The Blooming ended the day with a raucous burst of energy.
After the bands played and the dust settled, it was Seton Motel of Greenwood that came out on top and gained the chance to record their original songs in a local studio with Max Allen — who blew everyone away with his mix of blues acoustic guitar madness in between sets.
Organizer and music coordinator Matt Stokes received 30 applications from bands interested in playing at the event. In the end, he picked 10 acts (two of which couldn’t make it). His decisions were based on musical variety, enthusiasm, intensity and, above all, originality. “It’s hard to listen to a demo and know exactly what a band will sound like live,” Stokes said. “The last thing I wanted was a bunch of bands all playing the same thing. With this lineup, I think it’s turned out really well.”
Stokes says it’s all about giving young bands a chance to prove themselves and, more importantly, to have fun. “The music is important, but the fact that these young bands can get up and show what they’re made of is what this is really about.”
The Teen Music and Arts Festival was hosted by the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library and funded by the IMCPL Foundation. Librarian Donna Foster says that she hopes the event will get teens to realize that the library isn’t just for homework. “It opens the door and helps them come in, read a book, rent a movie, get on the computer, find like-minded teens and hang out in a safe environment.”