by jack diablo
Perhaps you’ve been hearing some of the buzz about the local music scene lately or maybe you’ve been jonesing to hear some good live music but have no idea where to catch the best of it . Over the past fifteen years, one event has time and again proven that Jacksonville is home to a thriving and talented pool of musical talent. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience all the great live music Jacksonville has to offer and will no doubt expose you to something new. Conmoto Art & Music Festival returns this November with a new name, new bands, new venues and a new chance to discover some great local music. The festival began humbly enough, according to Jon Bosworth, the brains behind Conmoto. “Other towns had big local music festivals to showcase their talent, but in Jacksonville there were only about six bands we thought were worth anything. So, in 1994 I got those bands together and we put on a charity concert at the Orange Park Lion’s Club,” he says. From there, it only gained momentum until 2000, when over 100 bands played on ten different stages. Though it hasn’t occurred every year, the event has held strong both talent-wise and in audience attendance. Because of this, Bosworth anticipates Conmoto becoming an annual event in the future.
Originally, the event bore the name “Conmoto Trench Festival.” Conmoto comes from the Italian con moto, a musical term meaning to play “with movement.” Bosworth appropriated the term and flipped it to apply to the music scene. “I’ve re-assigned it to mean a movement with music,” he says. The “Trench” part referred to the bands themselves. “When we started this festival it was a very DIY effort and most of the bands playing it would have considered themselves punk, in one way or another,” says Jon. “These musicians came out of the trenches, essentially, to do something positive for their town.” Nowadays, the festival includes everything from hip hop to alt-country. And not all of the bands currently reside “in the trenches,” as several internationally recognized performers will grace Conmoto’s stages. But don’t worry, there’s still a few punk bands in the mix.
Perhaps the most recognized name on the lineup this year is hip hop artist and Jacksonville native, Rob Roy. His latest single, ‘Fur in My Cap,’ receives heavy rotation at some of the biggest clubs in New York and LA and has been heard on the HBO series Entourage. Other notable featured bands include Shangrala, After the Bomb, Baby!, Lackawanna Carriage Works and City Lights Bloom.
In addition to some of the best music Jacksonville has to offer, this year’s festival will include an art exhibition, something they’ve tried only once before in 2001. “There simply weren’t enough active artists in the area then to make it work. 2009 is a different story.” The lines between music and art have always, at times, been a bit blurry, but never have the two been so intimately linked in Jacksonville as they are today. Music and art mixers abound and the two communities seem to thrive when their forces are combined. The addition of the art element is the ultimate reason for the name to change to Conmoto Art & Music Festival.
But it isn’t all just about the music and the art. Conmoto’s financial aspirations are philanthropic rather than capitalistic. All of the proceeds benefit charities such as Habijax and Americans for the Arts. From its beginning, raising money for charity has been at the core of Conmoto’s raison d’etre. The very first event managed to raise several hundred dollars for Habijax and the money raised in 2004 paid for the roofing of a house. This year, Conmoto hopes to raise $10,000 for its various charities.
Although all the proceeds benefit various charities, the bands that participate in Conmoto come out on top as well. The festival will create the means for emerging local bands to be exposed to a broader audience than they may receive otherwise. But more so than that, Bosworth hopes that participants find validation and receive some positive encouragement by performing at Conmoto. “It helps the musicians that play in this town realize it is worth it to create something. You are a real artist. You are a real musician. This isn’t just something you do in your garage because you’re a dork with pipe dreams. You do this because there is an audience out there that needs to hear you.” And be heard, they shall.
Every stage in this year’s festival will be located downtown and within walking distance from each other, allowing attendees to not only discover the many bands this town has to offer but the variety of places to experience live music as well. The “main event” will be held in the Florida Theatre on November 20th followed by the bulk of the performances on the 21st at venues like Burrito Gallery, the Sinclair, TSI, London Bridge, Cafe 331 and Dive Bar. Some shows will be free of charge while others will cost around $5. All access passes will be available for $20.
Whether your favorite local band is playing or you need an excuse to hear what is going down musically in Jacksonville, Conmoto Art & Music Festival is the place to be November 20- 21. For more info visit www.conmotofest.com.
the conmoto art & music festival is a two-day local original art and music festival in downtown jacksonville on november 20 and november 21, 2009 from 7pm until midnight. all original, all local, all to support humanity.
Tickets range from $5 for a single venue to $20 for all access passes and will be available on conmotofest.com as of November 1st. $10 for the Florida Theatre show on Friday / $10 for the Music Festival on Saturday / $20 for an all access pass (including afterparty admission) / $5 to visit a single venue. The Burrito Gallery stage will be free and feature music appropriate for all ages. There will also be an art show Friday night and afterparties both nights. Tickets available through conmotofest.com as of November 1. Tickets will also be available at the Florida Theatre box office the days of the shows for $2 more. Ticket proceeds benefit Habijax (habijax.org). Proceeds from art sold at the festival goes 50% to the artist and 50% to Americans for the Arts (artsusa.org). T-Shirts are only available at the festival, will cost $14 and will benefit Got Your Back Movement (shirtforshirt.org).
friday november 20
Dinner with the Bands at Burrito Gallery – 5 pm- 7 pm
Headliners at Florida Theatre (acts will be announced November 15) 7pm – 11pm
Downtown Art Show 9pm – midnight (Reception 11 pm- midnight)
Afterparty at Birdie’s in 5 Points midnight – 2am
saturday november 21
Dinner with the Bands at Burrito Gallery – 5 pm- 7 pm
Festival at Burrito Gallery, London Bridge, TSI, Dive Bar, The Sinclair, Cafe 331 and more downtown locations TBA – 7 pm –
Afterparty at The Pearl in Springfield midnight – 2 am
521 W Forsyth St. 358-0005
Lackawanna Carriage Works – These boys bring a harmony and some guitars to stage and just when you think there’s gonna be a honky tonk they trick you into rocking out. From country to folkadelic to rock, these Jacksonville boys bring a little peace of Gram Parsons back to his high school homeland.
Tuffy – On any given day Tuffy could sound like anything from Band of Horses to Eric’s Trip to Pavement. Their indie-style roots music is like watching a fight at a backyard kegger between Meat Puppets and Butthole Surfers, but both of them are so drunk no one is really getting hurt. The people at the fight, not Tuffy.
City Lights Bloom – Instrumental, at times epic songs which encapsulate classical music using modern rock instruments and sound experimentation. Live shows are loud, entrancing. Atmospheric post-rock that ranges from quiet ambiance to cacophonous rock outs. Dual glockenspiels add the perfect touch to an already fantastic performance. Just as entertaining live as lying on your bed with the headphones on.
The Rails and When Tides Collide
311 W Ashley St. 355-2255
Hip-hop Hell Stage: Mr. Al Pete, Tough Junkie & more
331 E. Bay St. 359-9090
Christina Wagner – Boys and girls alike whimper at her smoky croon and the blues-meets-Spanish pluck of her strings. You at once feel sorry for the poor sap she’s singing about and wish that it was you.
Manatella – Pop-alt with female lead singer.
I Am God – Folksy, spacious vocal-driven rock with strings.
The Heyday, Tropic of Cancer, Shawn Lightfoot and The Brigade (or Shawn Lightfoot)
333 E Bay St. 424-3531 www.clubtsi.com
Crash the Satellites – Jacksonville’s favorite indie rock band, these kids pack Weezer and Sonic Youth into the same pillowcase and then smash it on your face. The weird thing is how much you love it. Because the aftertaste is similar to Built to Spill with just a hint of Dinosaur Jr.
After the Bomb Baby – Post-apocalyptic funk courtesy of the Strasser brothers and a strange assortment of disco-rockers and hair farmers they traveled back in time to rescue from obscurity and put on various instruments. Somewhere in the distance is the barbaric yawp of Nick Cave. Perhaps one of the most fun live shows in Jacksonville, ATBB! always bring the funk with a healthy dose of ridiculous. Expect brass and percussion accompaniment to “synth-pfunk” madness, the likes of which you’ve never heard.
Sephiroth Chorus – Early 90’s shoegazey and late 70’s electrofunky. When Jack Ringca isn’t winning yo-yo contests, he’s busy playing with his synthesizer. Jack’s music has taken him across the country and out of it as well, earning him international recognition, but he calls Duval home. His solo multi-instrumental performance are not to be missed.
Single White Herpe – Solo act blending humor, singer/songwriter shananigans and satire. You’ll find yourself saying “Did he just say that?” after laughing beer out through your nose. His set is like watching Ween trying to pull off a Zappa impersonation at a costume party, but Les Claypool keeps making them laugh.
Rich and Mindy
128 E Forsyth St.
(full lineup will be announced on November 15)
kLoB You just don’t get to stay together as a band for over ten years if you aren’t bringing anything to the table. Jacksonville’s funk quintet, kLoB, serve up the soul for the young and old alike. Catch them in their natural environment, the backyard at Burrito Gallery.
Shangrala and Rob Roy
21 E Adams St. 598-2922 www.burritogallery.com
Thumbnail Sketch – Grown from the weeds of a Springfield back alley in the summer of 2008, they have blossomed into a full fledged Pop Flower and are now looking to bring the shimmering guitars, swirling synths, booming bass and thundering drums of their NOW sound to Tomorrow’s Parties!
Pilar – There are very few things in the world like trying to look directly at Pilar when she is throwing her muscular voice through the chattering strokes on her keys. She is at the same time intensely angry and giggling aloofly. She is not laughing with you. There is a palpable strength in her performance. Don’t miss it.
AC Deathstrike- This band is impossible to describe and their songs make no sense, according to their myspace.
100 E Adams St. 359-0001 www.londonbridgepubjax.com
Chicken & Whiskey VS Dig Dog – Witness this epic battle as two of Jacksonville’s most powerful beards face off, song for song, and you get to decide the winner.
DigDog – One of Jacksonville’s newest bands, they’ve already generated a significant buzz within the scene. Their experimental indie is fun and upbeat. With bands such as Rush, Pavement, Tortoise and even Primus providing the influence, their performance should be nothing less than original and entertaining.
National Dairy – Sounds that penetrate ears as if with a robotic dildo strapped onto a sadistic feminist, willfully possessed by the spirit of Allister Crowley, while Dr. Jack Kevorkian lectures an auditorium of the terminally ill.
Locust Grove – Somewhere between metal, math and melody there is a dark grove. There are probably locusts in there.
X Sister Z – Get out your leathers, there’s gonna be some noise. Industrial metal with gothtacular styling on the local level!
tune up downtown
by jack diablo