I didn't get to a single regional festival this year. No Bonnaroo, no Lollapalooza, no Bunbury, no Pitchfork for me. I was holding out for WARMfest, happening this weekend in my own backyard.
In case you're new 'round here: we profiled WARMfest founder Dan Ripley in a cover story last year, on the eve of his new Broad Ripple Park festival. Pulling off a new fest is hard, remounting it for a second year is harder. Pulling off a festival – by its very nature, an energy-wasting, trash-generating, carbon footprint-leaving entity – with an eco-focus is even harder than that. But founder Ripley is passionate about WARMfest showcasing the mighty White River as a place for recreation and stewardship. His fest's (and its umbrella organization, the Carl G. Fisher Society's) mission is to “promote environmental responsibility, independent business and artisans, and sustainable goods and services through the magic of music, art and culture.”
There's no doubt WARMfest was still getting its feet on the ground last year, but the strength of this year's lineup gives the infant fest a booster shot of confidence. This year, local label Joyful Noise Recordings hopped on board, contributing a host of their roster to Saturday's lineup. The label is also working in cool fest projects like specialty single recordings, cut onsite and signed by bands. Big Head Todd and The Monsters are back for a second go-round (we hear they're a favorite of Ripley's) and Broad Ripple Music Fest, a fall tradition in Indy, is still folded in, bringing round more than 35 local acts. On the non-music side, the Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace returns for those looking to rock and shop, and Monday's full of group exercise events, like acro yoga and zumba. And don't forget the Wapahani River Sessions, idyllic private paddlewheel boat cruises featuring WARMfest artists and locals. In typical fest fashion, there'll be food trucks galore and plenty of shady trees to recline under between sets. Can you tell I'm excited?