To any sane person, 12 hours of anything is enough to have you running for your pillow and good night of rest. Though for the adventurous (and musical) at heart, AS220 will transform Empire Street in Providence into a landscape of eclecticism and solid sound for the 21st incarnation of Foo Fest.
Beginning in 1995 as Fool’s Ball (see story previous page), AS220 established Foo Fest as a medium to celebrate the arts of Little Rhody while bringing in both local and international musicians for a 12-hour festival of massive proportions.
This year’s festivities are to be headlined by techno mastermind and sonic aficionado, Dan Deacon. With the release of last year’s Glass Riffer and recent stint opening for Arcade Fire’s Reflektor tour, Deacon has established himself as a rising pioneer for modern techno and EDM artists. While the headliner traditionally closes the festivities, you simply cannot miss this set. Look out for the dance-offs, too.
Looking for something more local? Foo Fest has a reputation for nurturing rising local talent and this year’s lineup is without exception. The Quahogs, who have rocked the Providence hard rock circuit since 2011, are my pick for the local spotlight of this year’s iteration.
“AS220 was the second show that the name ‘The Quahogs’ played,” said guitarist and vocalist Steve Delmonico who says AS220 is a large morale booster for up-and-coming bands. Delmonico said when he started out, his band had a lot of maturing to do, however, “they will facilitate a space for you no matter what.”
“AS220 was an outlet for me,” added Donovan.
The group recently released their newest record Sunny Waste only months ago, but their presence in Providence has been heard loud and clear.
“Everyone that plays in town is super welcoming [and helps] you get in a direction you hope is right,” said Delmonico.
Other local artists I highly recommend include the goth-folk stylings of Leiko the scientifically electric Xr-Tabs and my favorite punk rockers, Hussy.
I am a huge Potterhead and can’t wait for the literary heroes of Harry and the Potters to cast a spell over the audience with their dizzying genre-crossing and comical take on the Harry Potter series. Descending from Massachusetts, Harry and the Potters have spread their magic from Norwood to Surrey since 2002, never straying from their nerdom formula.
Notably enthralling in this year’s lineup is Arc Iris, a local band that skyrocketed in popularity with their song “Whiskey Man.” Jolie Adams, lead vocalist and former member of the Low Anthem, provides addictive lyrics and a relaxing folk-centric landscape that they will paint with many a color at this year’s Foo Fest.
If you’re not into indie or folk, head on down to check out the head banging whiplash of Churchburn and Sidy Maiga, a masterful percussionist from West Africa.
While these recommendations are a diving in point for the vast ocean that is Foo Fest, there are still so many different musical acts, dining options and activities to explore on Empire Street. You’d be a FOO to miss this festival.