Graphic/ Treasure Fest
Over 50 bands will hit the streets of Plaza Midwood on May 20 and 21. These bands won’t come in tour buses, but instead, a fleet of beater vans. Their shows won’t be in an arena or on a stage, but instead, they will play on the floors of local businesses. They won’t have a sound crew, just a mess of wires and amps. And the bands won’t be staying in Uptown’s luxury hotels; instead, they will be ending their evening on the floorboards of the same vans they arrived in.
These bands are all doing this to support Charlotte’s newest music festival: Treasure Fest.
The fest is hosting four to five shows simultaneously on both days in May.
The performances are scattered at several local venues and businesses including Lunchbox Records, Studio 1212, Snug Harbor, Common Market and the Thirsty Beaver. They will feature international, out-of-state and local bands that range from Americana to hardcore punk (Robbins worked with nearly every band to get free downloads of Treasure Fest band tracks . Here are links to both parts of the compilation, (Part I and Part II.)
Treasure Fest is local, independent and free of corporate sponsorship, but recent UNC Charlotte graduate and founder of Treasure Fest and Charlotte’s Self-Aware Records, Joshua Robbins, would not have it any other way.
“There won’t be any rockstar ‘douche-baggery’ stuff. A lot of bands and people involved with music have ridiculous illusions of grandeur. I tried to book bands that are real people, and as a result of that, the festival is getting real people and businesses to help out,” he said.
Treasure Fest is a true community effort. Bands are receiving no more than $100 guarantees, venues are hosting the shows for free and members of the music scene are volunteering their time.
The absence of corporate sponsorship is forcing all fundraising to happen on the local level.
“Corporate sponsorship would be nice, but it’s not necessary. We can do this without PBR giving us free beer,” said Robbins.
Common Market, The Diamond and other Plaza Midwood businesses donated money to Treasure Fest. Two benefit shows are also helping fund the fest, but the Treasure Fest’s primary funding will be from ticket sales.
Tickets can be purchased for individual shows the day of at each venue, but pre-order weekend passes for $25 are also available.
Robbins is pushing for the sale of pre-orders in hopes of covering his overhead costs before the festival starts. However, he also wants those purchasing tickets to know he is making no profit off of the two-day fest.
“Whatever money I have left over still goes to the bands. I’m not making a cent off of this. I’m not even reimbursing anything I put in. I want the bands first and foremost taken care of, so I can ensure this happens again next year,” said Robbins.
Robbins’s DIY approach and “bands come first” attitude are both consistent with his vision for Treasure Fest and the Charlotte music scene as a whole. He hopes Treasure Fest allows Charlotte bands to network with similar bands around the nation.
“Charlotte gets skipped by bands a lot. I’m sick of it. We (Charlotte) have this stigma of being really bad about supporting music. We have to take care of the bands,” said Robbins. “When I was setting this up, I was asked if it was a benefit or charity. I said the charity is to pay the bands and bring great music to Charlotte.”
Treasure Fest offers several opportunities to help the event. Volunteer positions are open for those wanting to help the venues run smoothly.
The fest also has an “Adopt a Band” program. The program aims to find Charlotteans willing to let a band sleep in their home, opposed to their vans or one of Charlotte’s more dangerous neighborhoods.
“I really want to try to save as many bands as possible from having to get hotels or motels. There are hotels around here, but some of the closest ones are off of Independence, and I don’t necessarily feel comfortable telling bands to stay there,” said Robbins.
Anyone willing to help volunteer or “adopt” a band is asked to visit the Treasure Fest Facebook page or email Robins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on set lists and times of shows can be found at treasurefest.blogspot.com.
Friday (May 20th)
Oddczar 7:10-7:40 p.m.
25 Minutes to Go 6:50-7:20 p.m.
Apart 5:30-6:00 p.m.
Bailey Cooke 7:30-8:00 p.m.
The Milestone (After Party)
Bay of Pigs
Saturday (May 21st)
Divide Divide Divide 6:20-6:50 p.m.
Young and Barren 4:30-5:00 p.m.
Mon Frere 4:00-4:30 p.m.
TBA 7:45-8:15 p.m.
Motel Glory 5:00-5:45 p.m.
Brain F 8:00-8:30 p.m.
The Milestone (After Party)
DJ Jazzy Jon