with 10 teen bands and Tim Brickley and the Bleeding Hearts
Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Wayne Branch
Saturday, June 23, 1-6 p.m., free, all-ages
We’ve all heard of local festivals like the Musical Family Tree showcase and Tonic Ball that support talented adult songwriters in the Circle City, but other than high schools’ battle of the bands and concerts at all-ages venues, teen musicians have had to struggle to be heard. That was until pianist and Locals Only open mic performer Matt Stokes decided to give young band members the chance to prove themselves.
To foster creativity, Stokes founded the annual Teen Arts and Music Festival in 2005, a free competition for 10 original bands of every genre from hip-hop to metal. Held on the lawn of the Wayne Branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, bands compete for a chance to win three slots of recording time at Hit City Studios.
“If I had not been encouraged by a variety of adult influences when I was younger, my interests would have been in other directions,” Stokes says. “So to give the opportunity of music to teens and provide a venue — if not just once a year — it’s time to pay the piper for all the good things I now have as a result of my musical interests.”
Last year, Seton Hotel of Greenwood placed first in the competition, performing garage rock. The Teen Arts and Music Festival also includes a sidewalk book sale and visual art, provided by professional artists. This year, 100 submissions of teen-produced art will also be on display.
A teen advisory committee helps promote the event in high school newspapers and on student radio stations. Part of the Wayne Branch Library’s year-long program, The Artful Teen, the project culminates with this grass-roots family-friendly gathering. For details about the 2007 festival, visit www.mattstokesmusic.com.