Celebrate Indie-pendence 

Inside the Indie Music Festival

Music festival season is in full swing. Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, Bonaroo and Ozzfest are just some of the events people will be traveling to during the hot summer months. If driving to Texas or Chicago isn't in the family's vacation budget this year, though, there are any number of festivals right in our own arid little state. Along with all the better-known festivals, one little music festival is so close to us here at the Weekly office, we actually have an adjoining door. This year, the Second Annual Indie Music Festival takes place here on Broad Street.

The mastermind behind this event is Dan Keck. His parents started the Venue, and Keck himself plays a big part in its operations working on sound, lighting, equipment and anything else necessary to the success of a show. The Venue stage has been the scene for some pretty big names--like Pretty Girls Make Graves--over the past couple of years, but has also welcomed many local acts, whether they're totally green, or quickly climbing the ladder to rock stardom. Keck helps make sure both the out-of-town acts all have the same high-quality show. In a band himself, he's also connected to the local music community and supports his fellow local musicians any chance he gets. The Indie Festival is one way of doing that.

Keck's parents own a lakeside house near Caldwell. The back yard forms kind of a natural amphitheater and a dirt lot nearby provides plenty of parking space. With a handful of folks and four bands in attendance, their back yard was home to what became the first Indie Festival in 2005. Keck had originally planned to have this year's show out there again, but he had scheduled 10 bands instead of just four, and with the technical issues of wiring and sound, and the fact that it's a little far to travel. The Venue was the next obvious choice. But putting on a festival is no easy task.

"I've always cringed at the idea of festivals," Keck said, "just because of the technical side of stuff and because I just know how much work has to go into it. And they don't necessarily draw that much more [attendance] than a normal show. But I've been part of some things going on lately like this 'indie takeover' thing where we go to small towns and put on a show. We did one in Kuna and one in Mountain Home a few weeks ago, with a lot of success. A few hundred people came out to both places, which we were really excited about. And there were just three bands there."

What Keck hoped for the festival this year, though, just wasn't going to happen. "What we really wanted to do for this was have a big show in the parking lot right here. We wanted to block off the road and have street vendors and tie it in with the [Fourth of July] parade. We found out, though, that we would have to have $10 million worth of insurance to have the festival in the parking lot. It's ridiculous. The Idaho Center only requires $1 million. It would cost us $10,000 to get $10 million worth of insurance. I think maybe they just didn't want us out there, but whatever. We just decided to move it inside. We'll have two stages: an acoustic stage with music going on between all the main stage acts."

The acts Keck has brought together are a nice blend of indie rock. On the main stage, the acts are L.A. band Fall of Snow, Seattle-ites Blane and locals Kinetic, Automated, Bridging States and Keck's own band, Bank. The acoustic stage will feature locals Josh Belville, My Typewriter War, September Forever and James Orr.

Fall of Snow is a male/female duo whose lay down sweet vocals on a soft cloud of ethereal looped sounds. Blane is a Seattle foursome who straddle the fence between rock and pop with cool harmonies, interesting vocal techniques and bouncing tempos. Both of these bands offer something musically unique and are definitely worth seeing. But a two-band show does not a festival make, so Keck added of a passel of local bands and musicians to guarantee this will be one event not to miss.

The music is from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Keck wanted to make sure no one would miss fireworks) and a mere $10 (under 12 are free and college students with I.D. get $2 off the ticket price) gets you not only a plethora of music, but watermelon, hot dogs and lemonade. If you've never been to the Venue, this is a great opportunity to see what the fuss is all about. The Kecks have worked hard to make the Venue not only a safe, fun place where adolescents can hang out, but a place where even the way-over-eighteeners can go and hear great indie music (trust me on this). Though the music for the day may not be old-time Rag or the harmonies of a barbershop quartet, the sentiment of the Second Annual Indie Festival will harken back to the good ol' days when everyone gathered in the town square to celebrate Independence Day.

You can check out Blane (www.myspace.com/blane), Fall of Snow (www.myspace.com/fallofsnow) and all of the other bands on myspace.com. Tuesday, July 4, 5-9:30 p.m., $10 (under 12 FREE), $8 for college students with I.D., free hotdogs, lemondade and watermelon, the Venue, 521 Broad St., www.boisevenue.com.

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