Tag: Festival Previews

Interview: A Q&A with The Wild Honey Pie and Welcome Campers Founder Eric Weiner

Eric Weiner was a University of Colorado student, studying in London when he created The Wild Honey Pie (which of course, derives its name from a Beatles’ tune) in 2009 as a way to turn his personal music blog into an accessible destination to find the best emerging music. By the next year, Weiner had relocated to New York where the previously solo project expanded into a collection of music loving creatives, who had a shared passion for and mission of discovering emerging acts and sharing those discoveries with larger audiences. Initially employing humble, DIY methods of covering artists – Flip video cameras and Zoom audio recorders – the Wild Honey Pie team began shooting live music performances with any artists they liked, who would be willing to give them the time. Starting with Freelance Whales, they eventually began filming local and touring artists. And by the end of their first year in New York, the site hosted their first event.

Within the first few years of their founding, Weiner and company began to see that the blogosphere was rapidly shifting: the widespread appeal of heading to your favorite blogs to download free MP3s was quickly supplanted by streaming platforms. To adapt, The Wild Honey Pie began producing more video content, made audio recordings available and refined their events strategy to focus on events that built genuine relationships between artists and fans. Over the past couple of years, The Wild Honey Pie has hosted a curated, monthly Dinner Party series in a handful of cities including New York, Los Angeles and Austin. The Dinner Party series has been specifically designed to change the rock and pop concert experience by offering attendees an opportunity to have a curated three course meal, specialty cocktails and Brooklyn Brewery beers — while enjoying an intimate performance from a buzzworthy artist. Since they started the series, they’ve hosted the likes of Computer Magic, Henry JamisonPlastic PicnicMipsoZuliTorres, JOVM mainstays Caveman and a growing list of others.

Additionally, over the past few years, The Wild Honey Pie has hosted their own music festival Welcome Campers. Typically taking place during Memorial Day Weekend at Camp Lenox in the bucolic Berkshires, Welcome Campers is an adult summer camp meets music festival that brings together 400 people for three days and two nights of summertime nostalgia with food, drinks, communal accommodations and live music.

 

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Late last month, I had interviewed the Wild Honey Pie and Welcome Campers founder Eric Weiner about this year’s festival with the intention of posting the interview after I had finished my coverage of this year’s New Colossus Festival.  When the World Health Organization declared COVID 19 a pandemic, the world was turned on its head: New York State, California, Illinois, the UK and The European Union have forced bars, clubs, restaurants, theaters to closed to help prevent COVID-19’s spread. Naturally, this has had a devastating impact on the music industry: festivals have been canceled or postponed, and the same goes for tour dates for artists of all stripes. The first part of interview Weiner talks about the inspiration behind Welcome Campers, how it differs from the prototypical festival experience, the other activities they offer – it’s an adult summer camp after all! – and more.

The other day, I followed up with Weiner. Because he runs a company with a significant focus on live events, I asked him how COVID-19 will impact his business, his thoughts on how the virus will impact live music and events and the immediate future of Welcome Campers.

Let’s not pretend that things are rainbows and flowers. Admittedly, things are dire – and they will be for some time. But we will get through this. In the meantime, we can all dream of our childhoods when things seemed so much simpler, so much more certain. Hopefully, we can get some of the back.

Check out the interview below.

WRH: What inspired the creation of Welcome Campers?

Eric Weiner: I’m a camp kid! I went to summer camp growing up and then went back as a counselor and even through the homesickness found myself absolutely in the love with the community I was surrounded by. I played baseball, I was Snoopy in a musical, I competed in color war, I went all out as a camper. The carefree love of that energy is what we always hope to harness with Welcome Campers.

WRH: How did The Wild Honey Pie find Camp Lenox?

EW: One of our team members at the time went there as a kid and the rest is history. We hosted Welcome Campers there in 2014 then went to Camp Champions near Austin, Texas in 2015 and have been at Camp Lenox again ever since. They are like family at this point.

WRH: The Wild Honey Pie can trace its origins back to being a humble blog. Over the years, it still retains elements of the blog, through curated playlists and live sessions, and curated events – like your ongoing dinner party series and the aforementioned Welcome Campers. From hosting and sponsoring your own events, this will may be an obvious question: How does Welcome Campers differ from the countless other festivals on the packed calendar year?

EW: A humble blog! We love the fact that we were not founded as a business but as a passion project that has grown to mean so much to so many people. Welcome Campers is an adult summer camp music festival and the order of those words means a lot. We offer a combo of activities that no other festival does. We bring together an incredibly unique community of music lovers for a weekend that incubates love and positive energy. You can party if you want at camp, but that’s not what the weekend is about. We have the curation of the music to thank for that—artists who embody the sort of vibe we want to spread throughout the weekend.

You watch from just feet away from the performer instead of hundreds of yards. It’s not about the spectacle, it’s about the community and people you meet, artists included. It’s about feeling comfortable and safe and not being surrounded by tens of thousands of people. We cannot say it enough, we look to break down the barrier between artist and fan—and that impossible at cookie cutter music festivals as we know them. We have created an inclusive weekend where the nostalgia of summer camp collides with emerging artists who we love.

WRH: How does this year’s Welcome Campers differ from last year’s and its predecessors?

EW: We are pretty damn happy with the model we’ve worked on for the last 8 years but have a few tweaks we’re making. We are expecting more people this year than any other year, so we do need to prepare for that to avoid any lines at the bar or for food. Lines suck! We are making sure the check-in process is more seamless than ever, that everyone has camp maps anytime they need them. We’re coming up with some wild and creative food upgrades with our grilled cheese food truck partner, vegan options included of course. Speaking of which we will have more plant-based options than ever before.

We have a special focus this year on mindfulness and will have a sound bath, mediations, yoga and tarot card readings. Welcome Campers is meant to be a vacation, not a festival you need a vacation after. The same cannot be said for most large-scale music experiences.

WRH: I went to one of the Wild Honey Pie Dinner Parties and I know that you’re quite the foodie. I happen to enjoy food as much as I enjoy music. So, two related questions: How did you come up with this year’s music lineup? What’s the food situation like? What would attendees expect in terms of food and drink?

EW: We go with artists who truly inspire us. Artists like Vagabon and SASAMI as well as Ayoni and Sir Woman. We try to work with artists we’ve collaborated with before and have a bunch of artists on the bill that have been involved with us multiple times in the past.

Food and drink are complimentary all weekend long with the exception of the food truck. It is camp food so expect fries and a massive salad bar, burgers, pasta dishes and more. Our campers are always satisfied but we are striving to make some major upgrades here this year. We are excited to announce that it will be a fully vegetarian festival as well. We have White Claw as a partner so there is that to be excited about. Beer and other spirits will be on the house as well.

WRH: Besides live music, there are other campground activities like kayaking, swimming, basketball, ping pong, dodgeball, volleyball, a nature hike, trivia and yoga among others. There’s also meditation this year, which seems to be a first. How did yoga and meditation wind up being included with the more nostalgic and playful activities?

EW: I started doing TM this year after years of my dad trying to get me into it. Meditation and mindfulness in general are so key to the future of what we plan to do and we think Welcome Campers is a great place to see if our community is into it. We did a sound bath at our office the other day and it was incredible. People are gonna freak out. These activities are also found at more and more summer camps for kids too. Meditation is for everyone!

WRH: When the festival ends, what will be next for you and The Wild Honey Pie? 

EW: We have some big plans for the summer and will continue to expand our dinner party series to more cities. We are also working on a music podcast about food. Honestly once Welcome Campers is over, we will start working on Campers 2021 and talking to companies who believe in our mission and vision and want to support us into the future. We have a ton of video products in the works as well coming off the heels of our collaboration with Eric Clapton last December. Stay tuned.

WRH: I was covering The New Colossus Festival last weekend when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Understandably, that announcement had a major impact on attendance. Festivals have rescheduled or cancelled. Shortly after that, several states — including New York – have forced bars, clubs and restaurants to close. How has this impacted you and the events end of Wild Honey Pie’s business?

EW: Like everyone in the world, we have been affected. Luckily our team can work remotely, as they largely already do, but we’ve had to cancel all our upcoming dinner party concerts. We are putting more of an emphasis than ever on our Buzzsession videos, which artists across the world are self-producing, and we have a podcast in the works. We will also be relaunching our website next month. We’re being very precautious about Welcome Campers.

WRH: Do you anticipate COVID-19 changing how people enjoy and consume live music?

EW: We’re seeing a huge explosion in live streams which is amazing. So many concerts you can see from your couch! I’m expecting artists will be releasing more video content than ever and doing more interviews. Merch sales will hopefully go up as artists are in dire need to support themselves and a huge chunk of their revenue has been wiped out with the cancellation of tours.

WRH: In light of everything, what are your plans with Welcome Campers? When things get back to normal, what would the festival do to alleviate people’s fears of contracting virus like COVID-19?

EW: We’re absolutely still planning on hosting Welcome Campers this summer but are considering all our options. It’s about as intimate of a festival as they come with only 300 attendees and from my perspective seems like a safer bet than a 100,000 person festival. That’s up to attendees to decide. We will take every precaution to make sure camp is as safe as possible with endless sanitation stations, cleaning crews constantly wiping down surfaces, not allowing self-serving of food, less campers per bunk and more. If we can’t make it safe, we won’t do it. The safety of our campers, team and the artists is our top priority. Right now, it’s just too early to say with everything going on and, to be frank, hard to think about with the severity of everything going on. We’re deeply concerned about the state of the world and what this means for musicians and the arts more specifically. If you have the means, please consider donating to an artists’ fund or your local food bank.

 

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Preview: MONDO.NYC 2018

Founded by some of the originators of CMJ and its long-running CMJ Marathon, Mondo.NYC is a music, technology and innovation-based festival that within its first couple years has quietly taken the place of both the CMJ Marathon and New Music Seminar’s New Music Nights Festival. Interestingly, the third edition of Mondo.NYC, which will take place October 2, 2018 – October 5, 2018 finds the global, emerging music, technology and innovation conference moving east across the East River to Williamsburg with The Williamsburg Hotel, Rough Trade and Brooklyn Bowl hosting daytime conference-related events. Interestingly, those daytime events feature partnerships with The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Guild of Music Supervisors, Record Store Day, a collection of international consular and export agencies and others to connect fans, artists, music industry professionals, business pioneers and veterans, leading names in tech and music to network, trade ideas and learn in a rapidly changing industry landscape as well as inspired others to become the industry leaders and up-and-coming artists of the future. Live music will take place on both sides of the East River with showcases being hosted by the aforementioned Brooklyn Bowl, Piano’s, Berlin, Arlene’s Grocery,  Coney Island Baby, The Delancey, DROM, Hank’s Saloon, Niagara and N.O.R.D.

Some quick highlights include:

  • RIAA hosts “Everything You Need to Know About Streaming Revenue and Policy in One Hour”
  • Guild of Music Supervisors NYC Education Event & Film Fest, an immersive full-day symposium to meet, network and learn from some of the top music supervisors and industry executives in the business, that will take place at The Williamsburg Hotel, October 5.
  • Record Store Day presents “A Conversation With…” Series at Rough Trade Records
  • The Second Annual Marauder Radio Room @ Pianos — College stations record interviews and live sessions with Mondo showcasing artists.
  • MusicTech Day @ Mondo.NYC hosted by Brian Zisk
  • Northern Beat: Indigenous Canadian New Music Showcase at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with iskwé, DJ Shub with James Jones and Elisapie
  • HOTS, The Hungarian Music Export Bureau, presents Breakthrough Artists from Hungary Ivan & the Parazol and Mörk
  • SWISS LIVE TALENTS present KT Gorique, The Last Moan, Sophie De Quay & The Waveguards, Eliane Amherd

Mondo’s speakers include key leaders from the emerging music and frontier tech industries:

●      Preeti Adhikary, VP of Marketing, FuseMachines

●      Danielle Aguirre, General Counsel, National Music Publishers’ Association

●      Lauren Apolito, SVP Strategy & Business Development, Rumblefish/HFA

●      Shelita Burke, Pop Star/Data Scientist

●      Bryan Calhoun

●      Susanna Choe, Co-Founder, Peace Accelerators

●      Thomas Emmanuel, US Business Development Advisor, Sonm

●      David Garrity, Partner, BTBlock

●      Mitch Glazier, President, RIAA

●      Adam Huttler, General Partner, Exponential Creativity Ventures

●      Lenny Kaye, Artist, Guitarist for The Patti Smith Group

●      Scott Kessler, Director of Business Development, L03 Energy

●      Tammy Khan, Partner, BTBlock

●      Clara Kim, General Counsel, ASCAP

●      Michael Kurtz, Co-Founder, Record Store Day

●      Andrew Levine, Content Director, Steemit

●      Jonathan McHugh, Director/Producer/Music Supervisor

●      Arjun Mendhi, CEO, MTonomy

●      Tatiana Moroz, Founder, TATIANACOIN

●      Ed Morris, Co-Founder and Director, Gate Reality

●      Rohan Reddy, Co-Founder, Y2X

●      Emma Reeves, Executive Director, Free the Bird

●      Jordan Rudess, Keyboardist/Composer, Dream Theater

●      Xander Schultz, VC, Galaxy Investment Partners

●      Cary Sherman, CEO, RIAA

●      Stephen White, CEO, Dubset

●      Bill Wilson, Co-Founder, Indie Ninja

●      Brian Zisk, Co-Founder/Executive Producer, SF MusicTech Summit

●      Shoshana Zisk, General Counsel, George Clinton Enterprises

 

Of course, I’m looking extremely forward to catching some of the incredibly diverse music offerings, including:

 

  • Omar Souleyman (Syria)
  • Laxmi Bomb (India)
  • Lord Esperanza (France)
  • Crosa Rosa (UK)
  • Kingswood (Australia)
  • Sevi Ettinger (China)
  • Mörk and Ivan & The Parazol (Hungary)
  • Eliane Amherd and Sophie de Quay & The Wave Guards (Switzerland)
  • DJ Shub, Elisapie, Goodbye Honolulu, iskwé, Karimah, and Kielley Koyote (Canada)
  • BriGuel, Girl Skin and HoneyChrome, RYAL (NYC)
  • THRILLCHASER (Providence)
  • The Darbies (Los Angeles)
  • and a long list of others

 

For more information, including tickets, showcases, talks and more, go the following: https://mondo.nyc

Hopefully, I’ll be covering the events of the conference, and if so, be on the lookout for a variety of live conference through my various social accounts:

Twitter: @yankee32879

Twitter: @williamhelms3rd

Instagram: @william_ruben_helms

Preview: Full Moon Festival 

Matte Projects is a creative production company that focuses on the conception, production and promotion of music-related events, perhaps more famously known here in New York for creating the Full Moon Festival six years ago, a carefully curated festival and dance party, largely inspired by Thailand’s world-renowned full moon parties. And although it’s been a couple of years since JOVM has covered the Full Moon Festival, its sixth year marks a return to Governor’s Island for two days of partying, art installations, and dancing from early afternoon to late in the night with one of the most enviably gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty around – and under this month’s blue moon, no less.

Culinary Delights

Although I’m a music blogger and journalist first and foremost, I fucking love food – I mean, who doesn’t right? – and when I covered the festival back in 2014, one of the best food highlights was The Brooklyn Star’s fried chicken waffle cone. Picture a waffle cone stuffed with popcorn fried chicken on top, mashed potatoes and coleslaw and topped with your choice of honey sriracha sauce (which was frankly the best thing I’ve ever had) or a ranch-based sauce.

 

Two years later and I’m still talking about it; that’s how fucking good it was – and I might kill someone to have another one.


(Photo Caption: Brooklyn’s fried chicken waffle cone may be the reason the terrorists hate us. And the person who came up with it is a genius.)

This year will continue the festival’s reputation for culinary delight as Matcha Bar, Mile End, Best Pizza, Pokito, Pig and Khao, Clean Shave Ice and Chalk Point Kitchen will all host pop-up stands throughout the festival. I’m starting to salivate over the possibility of some pork belly Adobo, pastrami sandwiches, pizza – well, all the food, really. And whatever weight you put on, you can sweat it off dancing all night.

Music

Full Moon Festival’s sixth edition may arguably have one of the most musically diverse lineups in its history and some of the must see sets will include the following:

Day 1, August 20, 2016

Led by its creative mastermind, producer and electronic music artist Aaron Jerome, SBTRKT (pronounced as “Subtract”) has developed an internationally renowned reputation for remixing the work of M.I.A., Radiohead, Modeselektor, Basement Jaxx, Mark Ronson and Underworld, and for releasing two critically applauded full-length albums, a few EPs and a number of singles – all of which have either received airplay or have been playlisted by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6. Interestingly, throughout his recording and performing career Jerome has preferred to be as anonymous as humanly possible and during live shows he’s been known to perform wearing modern interpretations of native and indigenous society ceremonial masks designed by A Hidden Place, as well as performing with frequent collaborator Sampha.

Earlier this year, Jerome announced a new project that he described as a “non album,” a collection of songs specifically designed to be an ongoing listening experience, while bringing new music to fans in a faster fashion than the traditional album cycle.

Born Terrence Thornton, Norfolk, VA-based emcee Pusha T is perhaps best known as one-half of critically applauded and commercially successful hip-hop duo Clipse, with his brother Gene “No Malice” Thornton. And with the help of their friend, Norfolk, VA-born producer, multi-instrumentalist and eventual mega-hit artist Pharrell Williams, the duo quickly exploded into the national scene with the release of their 1997 full-length debut Exclusive Audio Footage. And as a result, Pusha T has made a number of guest spots over the years including on Kelis’ “Good Stuff,” Nivea’s “Run Away (I Wanna Be With You),” all while recording three more albums as a member of Clipse, including the duo’s critically applauded and commercially successful third album Hell Hath No Fury. After the duo’s fourth album, they announced that Clipse would be on hiatus while each individual member would pursue solo projects and other creative endeavors.

In 2010 Pusha T was signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music and made guest appearances on a number of labelmates’ releases including “Runaway” off West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and West’s GOOD Fridays singles series and as a solo artist Thornton has collaborated with an increasingly lengthy list of artists and producers including Swizz Beatz’s Monster Mondays series, Lloyd BanksH.F.M. 2 (Hunger For More 2), Future, Tyler the Creator, Jay Z and others. Interestingly, over the last few years Thornton has been incredibly prolific, releasing a handful of mixtapes and his solo debut, My Name Is My Name. Adding to a growing profile, last year Kanye West personally appointed Pusha T to take over the reins at GOOD Music. And we should be expecting a full-length in the near future.

Born Nkosinathi Maphumulo, the internationally acclaimed,  eThekwini, South Africa-born and Johannesburg, South Africa-based producer and DJ Black Coffee can trace the origins of his recording and performing career to when he majored in Jazz Studies at Technikon Natal. While as a student there, he worked as a backup singer for Madale Kunene before forming an Afro-pop act S.H.A.N.A (short for Simply Hot and Naturally African) with classmates Mnqobi Mdabe (Shota) and Thandukwazi Sikhosana (Demor). The somewhat short lived act was signed to Melt 2000; however, his DJ and production career explored when he was selected as one of two South African participants during 2003’s Red Bull Music Academy – and with an increased buzz around him, he released “Happiness,” which was featured on the DJs at Work compilation; in fact, by the release of his sophomore effort, Have Another One, Black Coffee had become a household name in South African electronic circles for a propulsive, forceful tribal sound and for putting on locally-based artists and producers, all of whom have started to receive attention across Africa, Europe and elsewhere.

Adding to a rapidly growing international profile, Black Coffee has played at some of the world’s biggest and most renowned clubs and stages including Southport Weekender, Panorama Bar, Circo Loco and Boiler Room and has made appearnaces at a number of music festivals including SummerStage, ADE and Red Bull Music Academy in his hometown of Johannesburg, Coachella, Ultra Music Fesitval and others. I’ve seen the brother do his thing live and he’s arguably one of the best electronic music arists, producers and DJs in the entire world. And as much as I want to see some of the other acts on the bill – i.e., Marcus Marr, Santigold and others – I think that Black Coffee may well be worth the price of admission.

Day 2, August 21, 2016

Largely influenced by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Devo, reggae, Fela Kuti and a ton of Nigerian music, Philadelphia, PA-born singer/songwriter and producer Santi White is best known under the monikers Santogold (which she performed under between 2003-2009) and Santigold has throughout the course of three full-length albums Santogold, Master of My Make-Believe and her most recent effort, 99¢ has developed a reputation for a sound that has at times been compared favorably to the likes of M.I.A. as her work sonically manages to blur, mesh and completely destroy genre lines as you’ll hear elements of techno, house music, dub, reggae, alt rock and others while ironically commenting on our sociopolitical zeitgeist. Interesting, as the result of a growing national and international profile, White has collaborated with an equally impressive list of artists and producers including Diplo, Jonnie “Most” Davis, Yeah Yeah YeahsKaren O., Switch, Q-Tip, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, has opened for the likes of Jay Z and Kanye West during their co-headlining tour, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the aforementioned M.I.A., Bjork and has a number of singles make prominent appearances in ad campaigns, including a 2013 campaign for Honda Civic among others.

Comprised of Matthew Correia (drums), Spencer Dunham (bass), Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar) and Pedrum Siadatian (guitar), Los Angeles-based indie rock sensations Allah-Las can trace their origins to when three of the four band members worked at renowned record store Amoeba Music. Formed back in 2008, the Southern California-based have received both local and national attention for a sound that draws entirely from the 60s and includes elements of folk rock, psych rock, surfer rock and garage rock – while firmly establishing themselves as part of a burgeoning retro/garage rock scene that includes The Mystery Lights, The Black Angels, Raccoon Fighter and others.

London, UK-based producer, electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and DJ Dhas received international attention over the last few years for a number of critically acclaimed singles released through renowned dance pop/electro pop label; in fact, “Brown Sauce” was mentioned in Pitchfork’s Tracks while “The Music,” appeared in the major motion picture Pusher and landed at number 3 on Spin Magazine’s Best Dance singles in 2013. And if you were frequenting this site over the course of 2015 you might recall that Marr collaborated with internationally acclaimed indie pop artist Chet Faker on an EP that featured the slickly produced Daft Punk and Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson leaning track “The Trouble With Us.”

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its six-year history, you’d know that the New York-based neo-disco/electronic dance music/funk collective ESCORT have been mainstay artists. And over that same period of time, the collective founded by producers Eugene Cho and Dan Balls featuring frontperson Adeline Michele as members of a core group of five that frequently expands to 17 for live shows has received local and national attention for an incredible live show of funky, danceable tunes, their two full-length albums and for their frontperson’s incredible stage presence, cementing their reputation as a must-see live act.

Tickets are still available — and for a two day festival out on gorgeous Governor’s Island, the tickets are pretty affordable. [Purchase Tickets]

JOVM will be there to cover the festival. Expect some live tweeting, a lot of Instagram and more. And if you weren’t following me, here are the socials:

Twitter: @yankee32879 and @williamhelms3rd

Instagram: @william_ruben_helms