Now in its fourth year, the Fort Wayne Music Festival is unofficially the kickoff of the summer festival season, even placed six weeks before summer begins.
As one of the earliest of the Headwaters Park takeovers, it ushers in Fort Wayne’s busy festival season with an event that almost defines the city.
Strength of two festivals in one
The first Fort Wayne Music Festival came about when two events merged into one.
“We came up with it five years ago when we took two events — Electric Spring and Irish Fest — and decided to have one event that put the focus on music,” said Jake Slater, one of the festival’s organizers.
“We decided to subdivide it with a different genre of music each night and have three shows back to back to back. It’s been a great way to get people together through music with people of different demographics and musical preferences and tastes. We plan several types of music to appeal to the largest amount of people.”
Plans for each year’s event begins around September when the booking of talent begins, then the work of marketing it begins in earnest in January.
“We start talking to booking agents and thinking about the different options,” Slater said. “We look at who might be routing through this area on the second weekend of May. Plus we use Facebook to see what people want to see and try to make that happen. We love using our Facebook page interactively to find out what people want.”
This year’s schedule includes Throwback Thursday on May 9 and will feature performances by Yung Joc, Paul Wall, Twista & Do or Die, Lil Flip, and DJ Unk with Kenny Redd & DJ RC.
DJ Pauly D takes over the music duties on Friday, May 10, with a variety of music to appeal to a wide range of musical tastes.
The weekend closes with Rock the River 2019 which features performances by P.O.D. with Nonpoint, Tantric, Flaw, Islander, Nine Shrines, and Hell Came Home.
On Thursday and Friday, gates open to the general public at 7 p.m. with VIP tickets allowing for admission 30 minutes earlier. Saturday the gates open at 4 p.m. with VIP again admitted 30 minutes early.
Food and Drink
Those 21 and over who wish to drink will be given bracelets to wear, but there will be more than alcoholic options at the Fort Wayne Music Festival.
“There will be five food trucks with beverage providers bringing samples,” Slater said. “There will be several full bars there for those who are 21 and over.”
Those who wish to purchase tickets in advance can do so through Eventbrite (a link is on the Fort Wayne Music Festival Facebook page) and at all three Wooden Nickel locations. Tickets will also be available on the day of the shows. Last year’s festival attracted more than 8,000 music fans, and Slater hopes to see more growth this year.
“We’re excited to have three big lineups this year,” he said. “This is probably our most prolific lineup yet, and two of the acts are on TV shows right now. We look forward to growing this year and into our fifth festival next year and just keep getting bigger and bigger talent each year.”
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