Annual acoustic music festival kicks off Friday
July 26, 2011
Acoustic Park City singer/songwriters Tyler Forsberg and Melody Pulsipher started the Acoustic All Stars Music Festival because they wanted to form a musicians network.
"We saw a lot of really talented solo musicians and there really wasn’t a big market for that around here," Pulsipher said when she and Forsberg spoke with The Park Record last week. "We wanted to grab the less experienced ones and have them play with the more established artists and help them meet people."
That was four years ago, and the festival is going strong.
"We had full intentions of making something that was going to be a yearly event," Forsberg chimed.
The Fourth Annual Acoustic All-Stars Music Festival will run July 29 through 31 at Downstairs, 625 Main St., and will feature Staks O’Lee, Timmy Pearce and Forsberg and Pulsipher to name a few.
Most of the artists are from Utah, but there are a couple of musicians from out-of-state, Forsberg said.
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"We have an artist from New Jersey and one from California who will play the festival, only because we know them," Forsberg said. "Since we’ve started the festival, we’ve met a few people who have made us more open to book out-of-state artists, and while you will only see one or two artists who are not from Utah, our focus is really on local artists."
The local artist who drives the farthest to be a part of the festival is Steven Swift from Cedar City, Forsberg said.
"We booked him off a YouTube video a few years ago," he said. "Then we’re featuring artists mostly artists from Coalville and mainly Park City, but also from Salt Lake, Logan and Ogden."
The list grows each year Forsberg said.
"Every year, we get a 25-percent resubmission margin from artists who have previously played the festival, but the remaining 75 percent of the applicants are new submissions," he said. "The talent pool in Utah is vast and each year is more gratifying because we get to showcase artists that many people deserve to hear, but haven’t heard of."
The large number of applicants is different than what it was in 2007.
"The first year, we begged our friends to play," Forsberg said. "The second year we had more submissions and so on.
"Since we are active musicians, there are times when we will run into musicians and ask them to apply," he said. "We won’t book anyone without an application."
Once Forsberg and Pulsipher receive the applications, they set u a listening party and decide on the music festival line up.
"Choosing the artists is difficult because talent and skill are a big part of the requirements," Pulsipher said. "The artists also have to be active musicians and not people who play on a whim every once in a while.
"One of the points of the festival is to network," she said. "We don’t want to book someone because they’re good and find later they don’t have anything else to offer."
Every year, the two founders learn new things about the festival, musicians and themselves, Forsberg said.
"The list is a very long one, but on a more on a personal level, being musicians, we’ve learned the other side of the music business which involves working with other musicians, booking musicians and booking a festival," he said. "Ultimately, I would say, we have learned that there is a ton of great music in Utah that we haven’t heard and that’s a strength for us, because we will always find exciting people to play the festival."
Another lesson they’ve learned is: first-impressions are often wrong.
"We include ourselves in this as well, but working with artists in difficult," Forsberg said with a laugh. "It doesn’t matter what kind of artist they are filmmakers, painters, musicians, we’re all fickle people and some of us are easy going and some aren’t.
"There are so many personalities we have to maneuver around, but sometimes the people we thought were difficult to work with have become some of our best friends."
A part of that can be traced back to the fact the festival is labor of love for Forsberg and Pulsipher.
"We have no interest in making a profit off musicians who are participating in the festival, so all the artists sell their own tickets and they get to keep the money," Forsberg said. "We give each artist and unlimited amount of tickets and they can sell them, give them away or do anything to get their fans in the door. We’ll sell tickets ourselves, and the money we make from them goes to the bills we need to pay.
"This method has helped create a nice spider web of advertising," he said. "We hope fans of certain artists come and listen to them, but also hear the other players as well."
The Fourth annual Acoustic All-Stars Music Festival will run July 29 through 31 (see accompanying schedule) at Downstairs, 625 Main St. Tickets and more information are available by visiting http://www.acoustic-allstars.com.