Arts / May 2, 2019
Core Story: Baltimore Mixtape festival -- Can paradise be regained?
Can Paradise Be Regained? The Baltimore Mixtape music fest aspires to nothing less. And, yes, an actual mixtape is part of their plans, as well as almost 60 live acts on May 4th and 5th (at Ynot Lot, The Crown, and Windup Space)!
You might expect a certain ‘Back to the Future’ aspect from a music festival named after mixtapes, but the main inspiration for the Baltimore Mixtape goes back only as far as the exploding Baltimore music scene of the earlier part of this decade. Nonetheless, as the name implies, there is a connection to the heyday of the Sony Walkman. In that era, mixtapes were lovingly assembled by DIYers from as many sources as possible, to create a sound collage with greater impact, and meaning, than any individual songs. This parallels the experience that organizers of the Baltimore Mixtape (some of whom are pictured here) had previously.
According to Rich Kolm, one of the event organizers, upon arriving from Colorado in 2012, he was blown away when he landed here and found himself playing at DIY spaces on the same bills that combined various combinations of hip hop, metal, indie, Americana, punk, etc, all on the same night. At times this eclecticism even extended to collaborations, as when another organizer, Abby Becker, played with the folk pop band Haint Bluewho brought onstage R&B group A Mirror. Subsequently, A Mirror sat in on a Haint Blue recording session. For those who value that kind of musical interchange, Baltimore was sort of a paradise. But it was not to last. After the tragedy of Oakland's Ghost Ship, the need for tightening safety standards shut down many Baltimore DIY spaces (most famously the Bell Foundry). And cross pollination in the Baltimore music scene never returned to previous levels.
Until now, that is –the Baltimore Mixtape, will showcase almost 60 live acts, all consciously curated (we've seen the spreadsheets) to encompass as many genres as possible. The organizers are hoping to supercharge what they see as a burgeoning desire to return to the silo-busting recent past of Baltimore music, and give a boost to like-minded events/spaces such as The Windup Space, The Crown, and Ratscape Baltimore.
But what about the actual mixtape?
To get the tape, go to the fest, give them $5 and you will get your very own collection of seventeen songs from Baltimore Mixtape participants, as well as a download code -- in case you want to play the same thing digitally while your Walkman is being repaired.
As for the festival itself, unless you’ve been under a rock, you are going to recognize some of these bands and realize that you could be paying the full advance admission price ($20, for one day, $30 for 2) for a single concert ticket. If you have been under a rock, maybe it’s a good time to come out, because aside from all the great music that Baltimore Mixtape is providing, it will (with the aid of Hollaback Bmore) be creating a safe space, so that all participants can have maximum comfort and fun. But don’t wait to buy your tickets, it will cost an extra ten dollars at the door.
Pictured are just a few of the many organizers and performers:
Paul Joyce, (F City, The Mondawmen, Compression,)
Gino Hannah, Grace White, and Alejandro Harrell (Strange Attractor)
Rich Kolm, (Hollywood Blanks, Trucker Talk)
Abby Becker (CORA SONE, Trucker Talk)
Below is the most complete lineup list availalble for The Baltimore Mixtape.War On Women / Super City / Soul Cannon / Raindeer / James Nasty / Del Florida / Haint Blue / Eze Jackson / Chiffon / Josh Stokes / HexGirlfriends / 3LON / Snakefeast / drumBOOTY / Caleb Stine/ F City / Life on Planets / Cara Kelly & the Tell Tale / The Mondawmen / Sunbathers / June Pastel / Kotic Couture / Hollywood Blanks / Landis Expandis / CORA SONE / Strange Attractor / Dre Thompson / Brad Kolodner & Alex Lacquement / Jeff Carey / Airplane Man / Mack Scott / The QueenEarth Band - TQB / Tongue in Cheek Jazz Band / Miss Kam / Be Civil Battles / Theta Flux / Bedlam Brass / Compression / Sosa Sarah / True Blossom / Spooled Up / Lip / Marian McLaughlin / UllNevaNo / Infinite Pizza / The Expanding Man / Baby Carrots / Harley French / Baltimore City Youth from Beyond The Natural Foundation, Inc. / BOUND BY THE GRAVE / Neandertal / Haze Mage / Frogohmine / Petey Pete / Pr0perty Br0thers / Nukhalid / Copper Marmalade / Vaudevillian / Ocean Folk