“Bigger” and “better” were the words most often uttered this morning as Beasts of Burden lead singer Alfredo Ox announced the lineup for the fourth annual Beats of Burden Music Festival.
“We know that bigger isn’t always better, but in this case it is,” Ox told the throng of reporters outside The Draft, the pub that he and his Beasts of Burden bandmates own.
“We asked ourselves, what could make this event better? How do we stay true to our purpose without this becoming just another music festival?”
The answer to that question, Ox said, was to bring the musical and other acts closer to that purpose.
“We want The Park’s refugees, who are the festival’s raison d’être, to always be within your sight or hearing. We want you —no matter what you’re listening to, no matter what you’re watching, no matter what you’re eating—to have our refugees front and centre in your mind. Yes, we want you to have a Whale of a time, and that’s no pun. NIML will be at the festival, down by the Tartan Crab Memorial Pond. But we also want you to remember that this is a charity festival, a festival with a purpose, not just a Porpoise,” he said, as the crowd groaned.
As far as the music lineup goes, many of these groups have performed at the festival before: Inktvis and Krake, Eggie and The Pigs, The Feral Four, The Canary Cousins, Banded Brothers, Spontaneous Generation, NIML, rapper Will.o.be., The Cynics, The Tweeters, Les Chiens Débraillés, GHC, Jargohead, Fish Rap, and The DomEstyx.
But there are newcomers, such as Belles and Whistles and Memes of Production and up-and-comers, including Erdferkel!, plucked just past Friday from the Beats in the Bar (formerly the Open Mic at The Draft), as well as last year’s pick, The Crumb Seekers.
Even bigger musical news comes in the form of Last Stand, the band whose members all hail from endangered species, and ZEAL, who begged off last year’s Celebration of the Winter Solstice because he refused to play at the same event as the SCENTient Beings’ Faramund Stinktier. The Beats will feature both, though they’ll play at different venues.
As well, Ox said he personally invited The Endeka Elephant Band, whose bassist, Zuberi Tembo, was killed this summer on a trip home to Africa. The band agreed to play on two of the three days of the festival, and Ox said he took that as a compliment.
“Zuberi Tembo was a refugee and I think the band wanted to honour that,” he said.
This year’s festival will introduce a new category, Spoken Word Extemporaneous (SWE), which Ox said he’s particularly excited about. And the comedy portion will feature Dalmanik and Woodruff Dalmatio, with a few “surprises” in store for Saturday.
Another first for the festival is the Rodent gymnastic troupe, “Out of the Box.” Ox was also proud to announce that the organizers of the annual Park ART Walk had agreed to resurrect their 2014 exhibit, “From Fear to Freedom,” which highlights the art of The Park’s refugees.
As usual, the Beasts of Burden will take the stage every day and night and they’ll be acting as auctioneers during Saturday night’s gala auction.
With all that, and the “long list of surprises” that Ox boasted about, it’s hard not to believe that this bigger Beats will be even better.
The Beats of Burden Music Festival will take place at venues throughout The Park 16-18 September 2016.
All proceeds from the festival go toward assisting The Park’s refugees.