After a year off, IndieFest is back and better than ever
Logan Broyles | Downtown News
For the better part of the last decade, Danielle Lopresti and Alicia Champion have been the face of San Diego’s Independent culture with their creation, IndieFest. But all of that almost came to an end when Lopresti was diagnosed with a rare form of stage-three cancer in seven different places throughout her body this past winter.
With Lopresti now in remission and things looking clear, IndieFest is ready for its triumphant return after a one-year hiatus. The three-day festival comes to the NTC Promenade at Liberty Station on Aug. 16-18.
This will be the eighth time that the festival has been held in the last nine years, with 2011 being its first year at Liberty Station after previously taking over the streets of Bankers Hill and North Park. Considering the new location was six times bigger than the previous one, Champion and Lopresti decided to take 2012 off to give them extra time to reorganize for the next time around.
After fighting through some serious trials and tribulations, the pair has come back with full steam and are ready to pull off what has become the largest local festival that focuses on all things Indie. It will also be the biggest IndieFest to date, with six different stages spread throughout Liberty Station.
The popular event does more than just promote lesser known bands and filmmakers; it aims to touch on everything it can within the Indie culture, from Independent artists, music, and film, as well as businesses and nonprofits.
“We feel really passionate about turning people on to the truly remarkable art and revolutionary ideas that are happening in their own city that they just don’t know about because these entities are usually totally underfunded,” Lopresti said.
“There’s no money plastering what they’re doing on billboards or making sure their products are right in front of you in line at the grocery store so they go relatively unknown and are relatively broke, even though the art and the work that they’re doing is fantastic and really important to the local community,” she said.
With over 1500 submissions for this year’s festival, Champion and Lopresti had their hands full sorting through it all, and they’re very proud of the final lineup of over seventy-five artists that they came up with.
The schedule features a broad spectrum of musical acts, from headliners Cake and rapper Talib Kweli, to groundbreaking, out artist and YouTube sensation Steve Grand, and bands like Best Coast, The Heavy Guilt, Ferron, and even a group called Saucy Monkey. Everything from country and folk, to poetry will be included, and there is even a night dedicated solely to EDM and electronica music on Friday, with a headlining performance by noted DJ PhuturePrimitive.
Lopresti said their goal is to have a couple bands on the bill “that really excite you” along with 20 other indie bands, artists or nonprofits that you’ll walk away “totally stoked about.”
IndieFest started back in 2004 as only a one-day event. The original mission – which still holds true today – was to create a sense of community among Independent artists and help them share their resources so that they could get their work out to the public.
“The idea that if you’ve heard of a band they’re god and if you haven’t heard of them then they aren’t that good is totally false and it’s one of our biggest goals to prove that at IndieFest,” Lopresti said.
For Champion and Lopresti, IndieFest is part of a larger struggle to preserve the local arts and culture of the city. They want to do their part to support the features that make this city unique.
“I think most people generally love and appreciate a sense of culture [where they live],” Lopresti said. “All of that is more important than having the same corporations and the same bands in every city across the country. There’s something special that only exists in San Diego, and if we don’t support the Independent arts and culture, it’s going to go away.”
The promoters said they fully appreciate the diversity of the event and the crowd it attracts and that is reflected in their headliners.
Champion and Lopresti are full-time musicians, themselves, and their band Danielle Lopresti and the Masses will be playing on Saturday night on the main stage, right after Kweli and before Cake.
“IndieFest is going to be our band’s big return to the stage since Danielle’s diagnosis back in January,” Champion said. “She’s only very recently been in remission, she’s been out of treatment for about five weeks. On a personal level pulling this off was really hard but we’ve got a lot going on this year that we’re really proud of.”
Lopresti said she plans to do the best she can and hopes her voice holds out. “It’s going to be kind of a spiritual experience for me,” she said.
Contributing writer Logan Broyles is the former managing editor of Pacific San Diego Magazine and editor-in-chief of Construction Digital magazine. He likes to write about music and news, and can be reached at email@example.com.