Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Itís here and itís MASSV

A little circus, a little art, a lot of fun promised this weekend

Express Staff Writer

Beats Antique to play MASSV. Courtesy photo MASSV

*Editor's note. In the printed version of the Express, Wednesday, July 11, the wrong photo was inadvertantly included among the performers coming for this festival. I regret the misleading information and assure that it was not intentional.

Hang gliders hovering, bikes as animals, jugglers, stilt walkers, inflatable beach balls, art cars, drummers, DJs, breakdancers, belly dancers, national musical acts—MASSV has all the ingredients for a delightful gumbo. This weekend, the idea will be put to the ultimate taste test with its two-day debut extravaganza.

Even the best gumbo can be undone if the roux, or foundation, isn't well placed, but Brent Russell, one of the founders of the Music and Arts Showcase Sun Valley, said investors are in it for the long haul.

Walking the gravel-and-weed lot across from the Ketchum Post Office last week, he explained that the festival was born from the hearts of wannabe rock stars, carried on the memory of a Boise promoter killed in the planning stages and embraced by the community's forward thinkers who believe a spectacular event that draws the nation's youth to the area is what is going to save it from economic stagnation and, boredom.

"The point of MASSV is to attract people from outside the valley," he said. "We want it to be big enough to bring people here. We want to introduce young people to this valley."

That's why the marketing of it has been largely national, college-centered and Facebook supported and the headliners are names that most young people who care even a little bit about music will recognize, he said.

Among the lineup is the soulful sound of the James Brown-influenced Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, hip-hop super tunes with Brother Ali, reggae, rock 'n' roll and Americana music featuring Gift of Gab of Blackalicous, Proper Motion, Stylust Beats, Winstrong, Boombox and B-Side Players, Boise's Equaleyes and Finn Riggins.

To support the youth budget, Russell said they designed a camping area near the bike path so people of all ages can get to the site easily, driver age or not, as well as a free shuttle.

On its website,, the gathering is said to be a titch of Bonnaroo with the spirit of Mardi Gras and attendees are encouraged to dress up and be fanciful, or fancy, whatever works.

Something will be happening in every direction of the lot, from art demos to food booths. As soon as main acts break to change over, the small stage will liven with activity like that brought by the Red Light Variety Show with its fire twirlers, aerial dancers and more.

< The Sun Valley Center for the Arts is leaving up three tents that regional artists have turned into art as part of its current installation on camping. Nathan Barnes and Mallory Kappmeyer from Idaho Falls, Diana L. Baumbach from Laramie and Earle Swope of Boise have cut, painted, printed on and placed objects in tents to offer their reflections on the camping experience and the different forms it takes. They can be visited just outside the festival fence, which will encircle most of the lot, anchored on its southwestern corner by a house built of willow sticks placed by a previous artist through The Center.

Along with the local "tweener" acts of art and music, Russell said, there will be jugglers, stilt walkers, break dancers, hula hoopers, African drummers, scratch DJs and many other entertainers throughout the two-day event. There will be an art car parade, a torch-lit drum march from the Simplot lot to Main Street in Ketchum after the main stage closes each night where a street party will ensue with laser light shows and more to continue the MASSV groove. Main Street will be closed from Sun Valley Road to Second Street for the party.

On Saturday night, Whiskey Jacques' is hosting Cherry Royale, free to those with a MASSV armband and $5 for walk-ins. The southeast funk band plays at 9 p.m.

Russell expects the downtown business to churn with people using the bars as a place to reconnect post-festival.

"We're trying to create a culture that will build anticipation for next year," he said. "There are so many artists out there that live for an audience like this and young people who are looking for experiences like this."

Russell, an emergency room physician at St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, is also a part-time DJ aka Doc Rock. This festival is an extension of parties he used to throw from his home in Portland, and a vision he had for exhausting his musically inclined side when he moved here.

"One thing I was struck by when I got here was how the music was geared for my generation and older," said the 40-something. Months ago, he was motivated to change that after seeing an ad for investors needed. He called and met with Zach Peterson, a young Boise concert promoter.

The men were well on their way to launching the festival when Peterson was killed in a car accident April 22. Russell was going to scotch it all until Peterson's family threw all their support in.

"It was hard to say no after that," Russell said.

He knows he and investors will be lucky to break even with this event, but they are committed to seeing it take lasting shape.

"I like planning a party," he said. "And my wife is glad I've moved it away from the house. No one is in this to get rich, but we are in it to see it grow."

How to get in on it all:

- Gates will open on Friday, July 13, at 2 p.m. The show will start at 4 p.m. and end at 11 p.m. A Ketchum street party will take place from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

- On Saturday, July 14, gates open at noon and the show will take place from 2-11:30 p.m. followed by a Ketchum street party from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

- Tickets range in price from $20 to $129. They are available at the Board Bin and Atkinsons' Market in Ketchum as well as online at

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