Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Get Ready for Ypsi Fest 9 - Interview with Anthony Gentile

I always hesitate to cover something way outside the city limits, but at the same time I feel that it is good to get out and see new things and experience something outside the social scene that is Detroit. YpsiFest, taking place this weekend in Ypsilanti, MI, is one of those rare times where I say get out of the city and head into the burbs for some great music and fun. This year's fest will feature 35 bands playing on two stages. Some of the highlights for this year's lineup include The Beggars, Child Bite, Old Gods, S.N.A.F.U., The Amino Acids, All The Wild Children, Golden Torso, Snakewing, Nice Hooves, and Ciccarelli. For a full list of bands check out the Facebook invite here. This will take place November 14th, 15th and 16th at Woodruff's bar located at 36 East Cross Street. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show doesn't stop until the bar closes each night at 2 a.m.

I had a chance to talk to Anthony Gentile, the man behind the event and find out all the details that you may want to know before making the trek out to Ypsi. Check out what he has to say and head out if you like what you hear, it's definitely a solid lineup so it promises to be a great time.

Hip In Detroit- Anthony, have you been booking this fest all 9 years?
Anthony- "Yes - I started YpsiFest in 2003, and we took a couple years off around 2008/2009. But I have been the main booker since the beginning. The first couple years I had help from Leighton Mann, a good friend who was booking at the Elbow Room back then. And in 2010 and 2011, Doug Coombe helped book one night of the fest because it was his birthday and he had some favorites he wanted to play. Otherwise, it’s been my project alone."

Hip In Detroit- Tell us the best memory you have and the biggest problem/issues/or experience you have encountered.
Anthony- "There are no real “best memories” for me. In fact, there are probably more best blurs than memories. Highlights for me go back to the early days with Heads Will Roll, Bang! Bang!, Inside Five Minutes, Chapstik, Easy Action, and so many other great bands. Of course, playing has always been a highlight for me as well. I’ve played with one of my bands every year, and while that is always something I look forward to, it always goes by so fast and I get so caught up in making sure the fest runs smoothly that it really doesn’t sink in like other shows do. The hardest part about doing the fest is deciding on bands and inevitably having to personally tell a few friends that I don’t have space for them when I wish I did. There’s simply no way to get every good band in the area on a three day fest. Also, there is always a big effort to represent a wider variety of bands, but sometimes that just turns into a weird, disjointed night. This year I simply went for the bands I most wanted to see and didn’t spend any effort trying to “mix it up” just for the sake of it."

Hip In Detroit- Why Ypsi?
Anthony- "Because I live in Ypsi, and we have a great little town and I wanted to bring as many good bands to town on a good night as possible. I figured if bands from Detroit came to Ypsi for YpsiFest, and saw the potential for a good night, that they would want to come back more often for their own shows. And I think it has pretty much succeeded at that. There are many bands from the Detroit area that played their first Ypsi show at YpsiFest and then started coming back regularly."

Hip In Detroit- The show starts at 6 everyday, will there be food for sale or do we need to eat before we come?
Anthony- "No food this year as far as I know. However, Depot Town Ypsilanti has plenty of food options within walking distance. There’s Cafe Ollie a couple doors down, Aubree’s Pizza across the street, and Sidetracks on the corner. There’s also The Ugly Mug a couple blocks up the street for coffee connoisseurs."

Hip In Detroit- Any drink specials?
Anthony- "There usually are drink specials, but that’s the bar’s territory. I try to stay out of it."

Hip In Detroit- Are you allowed to leave and come back?
Anthony- "Yes. You can absolutely leave and come back."

Hip In Detroit- This year's lineup is pretty solid, what bands are you most excited about seeing?
Anthony- "I get most excited about seeing old friends that I don’t get to see very often. Not only are these some of the best bands around, but the people in them are some of the funniest people I know. We always have a good time. And any band that shows up on time, sets up quick, plays their set, and happily finishes by the time they are supposed to will be very high on my list. But seriously, I have so many friends on this lineup that I can’t bring myself to pick any highlights."

Hip In Detroit- Since there are two stages, will bands be playing at the same time or switching off?
Anthony- "Bands will be switching off. Every half hour a new band will start. There will be very little if any time between the bands but no bands will overlap."

Hip In Detroit- How late will bands be playing each day?
Anthony- "Music ends at 2 a.m. We push it to the limits."

Hip In Detroit- Anything else you want our readers to know?
Anthony- "Ypsi is a sweet town and we have a great community here of musicians, artists, and eccentrics of all kinds. Everybody is welcome and encouraged to relax and enjoy a fun weekend with some of the very best bands around. And also, Ghost Family can be a little rowdy sometimes, so don’t worry if you see some physical expressions of love and camaraderie as the nights progress."


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