Off the beaten path at Off Beat Music Festival

Courtesy Sabrina Hallgren

Music is a unifying force. It makes our hearts sing, evokes emotion and gets us out on the dance floor shaking our booties. Reno native Flip Wright is one of the founders of the upcoming Off Beat Music Festival; he lives and breathes music.

Off Beat Festival  Nov. 2-4 | Reno, Nev.

“There’s a lot of good music out there, hard-working bands and touring bands that are established but not so well known,” says Wright. “We spotlight and showcase acts that we believe should be seen.”

The South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, and Tree Fort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho, inspired Wright to model the Reno festival similarly as a citywide multi-venue event.

“There’s a lot of good music out there, hard-working bands and touring bands that are established but not so well known. We spotlight and showcase acts that we believe should be seen.”
–Flip Wright

Off Beat’s motto is: “It’s time to go off the beaten path.” Its lineup includes many artists who are under the radar, so to speak. They come from Reno, Tahoe, San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest. According to Wright, his best festival experiences were from listening to music on the side stages, the smaller stages where he would see some amazing bands, which is why he was inspired to bring lesser-known bands to Reno, such as Grant Farm, whose leader Tyler Grant is a U.S. National Flatpicking Guitar Champion and an internationally recognized guitar virtuoso.

Courtesy Sabrina Hallgren

The music will be hosted at 18 venues throughout midtown Reno, from cozy watering holes such as Chapel Tavern and The Loving Cup, to nightclubs such as The Saint and St. James Infirmary and large showrooms such as the one in Eldorado Resort Casino.

Expect, also, a variety of genres represented: bluegrass, funk and alternative funk, blues, rock and alternative rock, indie rock, heavy metal, psychedelic rock and country, to name a few.

“Every genre is covered. It is a highly curated event and we are confident about what we’re putting out there,” says Wright.

Courtesy Sabrina Hallgren

Participants can also catch showcase performances from a number of record labels with new releases from up-and-coming bands. Seattle’s Freakout Records Showcase features the sounds of the Pacific Northwest’s indie rock scene with bands such as Acid Tongue and Smokey Brights. A San Jose label presents the SNAFU Family Showcase featuring Bay Area bands. Party and Friendship Showcase brings the music from two labels: Friendship Fever and Gaylord’s Party Music. The bands they represent are an eclectic mix of surf, soul, indie and pop music. The Latin Roots Showcase highlights Reno-based Drinking with Clowns and Bayonics from San Francisco and will get the party started at the showroom at the Eldorado Casino Resort.

The Fisherman’s Village Showcase brings a mix of hip-hop, Americana and psych genres. The Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, which was in Everett, Wash., at the end of March this year, is also a multi-venue event.

In addition, Mad Alchemy Lights will host a Liquid Light Show with a performance by Hearty Har, a band that consists of Shane and Tyler Fogerty, sons of rock legend John Fogerty. The band blends modern psychedelia with classic garage rock ‘n’ roll.

“It’s still raw and young,” says Wright of the grass-roots festival. “We’re not super polished.”

According to Wright, some of the fun is in doing your homework and checking out the artists before you get to the festival. The Off Beat Music Festival Web site lists all of the artists with samples of their music.

“It makes me so proud and it’s an affordable, accessible weekend,” says Wright.

Wristbands are $49 to $69; that gives participants access to see more than 100 bands, which is surely a good reason for us to go and play in Reno. |