Every year, at about this time, Patrick Elkins, the director of Ypsilanti’s Totally Awesome Fest (TAF), calls a big press conference to formally kick-off the festivities. And, every year, invariably, I’m the only member of the professional press to show up. This year’s press conference, which took place yesterday evening on an outbound #4 bus, was no different. Once again, while reporters from several local news outlets were invited, I was the only one to actually pony up the cash and take the ride. Here’s the interview, followed by a rough schedule of this month’s Totally Awesome Fest events.
If you want to know what bands are playing, watch the video. (Patrick rattles their names off toward the end.) Here are the venues, though… And, yes, I realize that you probably don’t know where a good number of them are, as the names of several are in code. Don’t worry, though. If you want to find a venue, all you have to do is find a bearded drunk and follow him. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find yourself at Totally Awesome Fest.
Sunday, April 20
7:00 AM – 7:00 PM: City-wide egg hunt
12:01 PM: Secret brunch in the woods
6:00 PM: Performance showcase with acts TBA @ The Water Street Commons
Monday, April 21
9:00 PM: Ypsilanti walking tour w/ host Mark Maynard @ The Downtown Ypsi Library
Tuesday, April 22
10:00 PM – 11:00 PM: Taco Tuesday Noize Nite @ The Electric Waterfall Castle (one hour of simultaneous performances in each room of the venue with acts and snacks TBA)
Wednesday, April 23
9:00 PM: Outdoor Film and Pizza Pajama Party @ Voss Acres
Thursday, April 24
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Patio Performance Showcase with acts TBA @ The Ugly Mug Cafe
Saturday, April 26
12:01 PM: Pancake Parade
1:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Performance, Fashion, and Live Art @ The Little Weasel House
9:00 PM – 2:00 AM: Music, DJs, and more @ The Dreamland Theater
Sunday, April 27
8:00 AM: Croquet Tournament @ Riverside Park
12:01 PM – 7:00 PM: Performance, Fashion, and Live Art @ The House of Mole
note: I know it may seem scripted, but the guys who sit down next to Patrick in the above video were completely unknown to us. It was a total coincidence that that they got on the bus when the did, chose to sit down next to us, and just happened to be familiar with Totally Awesome Fest. I don’t know how to explain it, other than to say that magical things happen around Totally Awesome Fest… If not for the fact that they’d chosen to hide their beer in a wine bottle, I’d say they were angels.
For those of you who have never been to TAL before, here are a few videos that should give you some sense as to what’s in store: Rebel Kind at TAL 9, Animal Magic at TAL 7, Lord of the Yum Yum at TAL 6, This Must Be The Place at TAL 5, The Detroit Party Marching Band at TAL 5.
Oh, in case you don’t watch the interview, I wanted to mention that the location of the secret brunch in the woods, to be held on April 20, is only going to be shared with one person, by way of one of the Easter eggs left around town. Whoever finds that egg will know exactly where the event is to be held, and it will be up to him or her to either keep the information secret, or share it with others… I think that’s kind of beautiful.
ABOUT TOTALLY AWESOME FEST: Totally Awesome Fest is a magical event that has been happening since April 2005, when a celebration was declared to mark the end of Tuesday Night Supper Club and the closing of the Totally Awesome House in Ann Arbor. In 2006, the festival (as all cool things eventually must) moved to Ypsilanti, where it has remained here ever since. Typically the event is held during the last full weekend of April, but this year, as we discussed above, TAL will run for lever one week. According to organizers, “Totally Awesome Fest is an opportunity for people meet and celebrate each other’s company, ideas and creative expression in a variety of open, all-ages environments.” All events are free of charge; however, donations are appreciated, as they’ll be used to buy gas for out of town acts and pancake-making supplies.