Fareveller Music Festival Comes to Memphis in March

Our friend Brandon Herrington is launching Memphis’ first indie rock music festival in March so, of course, we wanted the deets.

How did the idea for the festival come about?

The idea has been floating around in my head for at least 5 years. When I graduated from University of Memphis with a music business degree, I couldn’t figure out where in the industry I would fit. My music tastes, philosophies, etc. have always been pretty far from mainstream, so that limited my involvement in any real music business outside of playing in bands.

An “indie” festival merges a lot of my passions, Memphis, the local music scene, and what a lot of us consider great touring artists. I don’t have to be involved in telling other people how to make music. I’ll just book the shows, promote it to death and let them do their thing. If this festival puts gas in a struggling touring band’s van, exposes crowds to new music, and somehow helps artists continue to make that music, then it’s a total success. That’s pretty cool in my opinion.

Plus, I feel like a lot of great things are happening in the music scene now. Gonerfest has an international presence. Places like the Hi-Tone and the Buccaneer are booking more and more great music on a regular basis. House shows at places like the Stash House, the Smith Seven House and The Dairy are springing up. This is a really cool time to be involved in Memphis music.

What makes this festival different?

I hope to differentiate myself completely from festivals like Memphis in May that currently take place in Memphis. This festival isn’t about Top 40 music. It’s not about our heritage. There are plenty of amazing people in this community taking care of those things. Our goal is to elevate the current music scene in Memphis by creating a festival for local artists to rally around. Nationally, I see this festival falling in line with small, boutique festivals like Pygmalion Festival in Champaign, IL. I don’t have any visions of this becoming an industry festival like SXSW. I want it to be primarily about live shows.

Where does the name come from?

My first local band was called dora. (Yes, the name was all lowercase. Yes, we were annoyingly artsy that way.) Our singer named one of our songs Fareveller. It’s a made up word. I’ve always loved that song and the name. People have trouble pronouncing it at first. It’s been a great conversation starter.

Who was involved in putting the festival together?

The planning has been mostly by me. The founder of Pygmalion Festival, Seth Fein is handling a lot of the national booking. Members of my band, This Is Goodbye are also contributing in various ways for graphic design, making connections, etc. I’ve just added a friend of mine, Zack Zoeller to the mix as well. He is a writer/photographer/musician who is now taking the blogging reins for our website. His band, Greenside Manners, is playing the festival so it works out perfectly.

How many artists / venues will be involved?

There are 5 venues: The Hi-Tone, Young Avenue Deli, P and H, Murphy’s and Neil’s. There will be 30-40 artists over three nights.

How much will it cost?

Wristbands will be around $25. People will also be able to pay for individual shows for $10 – $15 depending on the show.

Why should people be excited about this?

I hope people get excited about any excuse to watch live music in Memphis. Some of my greatest memories include playing packed shows for 60 – 70 people at the Hideaway Café on Highland, driving to see Sunny Day Real Estate in Atlanta just to see them again at the New Daisy two days later, experiencing a relatively unknown Andrew Bird completely silence an audience at the Hi-Tone.
I don’t think Fareveller will change your life, but I do think it will change the weekend of March 24-26 for the better.

Do you need any help?

Absolutely! We are operating on the world’s tightest budget for this first year. We need all the help we can get to promote this thing. Whatever the word “grassroots” means to you, we need it. Tell your friends. Blog about it. Hang up posters. Write your local Senator.

In addition, I would love some volunteers to help during the festival. If you’re interested, find me on the Fareveller website or Facebook and send me a message.

Finally, we are still looking for sponsors and in-kind partnerships. If you want to reach the best crowd of people in the world, you should definitely sponsor Fareveller.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Sure. This is the first year. It’s not as big as we want it to be, but it’s a great start. Our goal is long-term and we’d love to bring in more out-of-town bands in the future. The only way that can happen is for the community to come out this year and buy wristbands. It’s only $25. We purposely want to keep it affordable. Let’s pack out some venues, hear some great music, drink cheap beer and then do the exact same thing for two more nights. Doesn’t that sound reasonable?

See the line-up.


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