Ingenuity Fest launched six years ago as an arts-centric weekend-long event held downtown. In the years since, it's also become one of the city's biggest champions of forward-thinking music. Last year alone, it attracted more than 40,000 people.
The 2011 festival, which takes place Friday through Sunday inside the Veterans Memorial Bridge, includes its largest and most diverse lineup yet, with five stages simultaneously featuring local and national artists playing everything from jazz, funk, and hip-hop to pop, rock, and electronic music. Plus, there's a DJ tent featuring some of the city's top turntablists. "We're trying to hit the whole spectrum," says James DeRosa, who put together the music program. "It's the best of each genre. These are all artists who are doing something really creative with their music."
DeRosa says about 80 percent of this year's artists are homegrown. But the biggest coup might be Friday's headliner: Washed Out, the alias of super-buzzed (and Georgia-born) indie-pop maestro Ernest Greene.
DeRosa says Washed Out embody the whole point of Ingenuity Fest. "We want artists who have real craft to what they do. It's how they perform or how other elements come into their music." More than 50 bands and singer-songwriters will perform throughout the weekend, including locals Cloud Nothings, Node, PSI Paul Stranahan's Insomnia, Filmstrip, Megachurch, Old Boy, Presque Vu, Smoke Screen, and Uno Lady. (Visit ingenuitycleveland.com for a complete list.) Best of all, the three-day bash is totally free. "I don't want it to become a festival just for hipsters," says DeRosa. "As we become bigger, I want to keep a good mix of music — especially local music. We're big supporters of the scene."
BLASTS FROM THE PAST: When Debacle 2011 crashes into Akron's Backstage at the Lounge (the former Daily Double) this weekend, nearly two dozen bands from the Akron and Kent area will reunite, plug in, and kick ass like it's 1988 all over again. Many of the punk and new wave groups haven't performed in years — and they certainly haven't been gathered in one place like this before. The lineup for the two-night fest includes old-school local heroes like the Reasons, Mannequin Odd, Teacher's Pet, the TwistOffs, Kill the Hippies, Queue Up, the Adults, and the Unreal McCoys. There are tons more, which you can find listed at thedebacleshow.com. Showtime is 6 p.m., and tickets are only $8, with profits going to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. BURIED TREASURE: Did you catch the movie Hanna's Gold when it came out last year? Didn't think so, since it never played U.S. theaters. But that means you also missed "Just Because You're Gone" by the Kent band Color in December. The movie recently came out on DVD, so now you can hear their blast of hooky pop-punk during a party scene early on. Featuring Luke Perry, Hanna's Gold is about a pair of Beverly Hills sisters who head to the mountains in search of buried treasure. Color in December, meanwhile, are working on an album due out by year's end.