Hello, City Heights, goodbye Liberty Station, and welcome San Diego IndieFest 9!
After taking a hiatus in 2014, IndieFest is returning. The 2015 edition of the annual music and film marathon will be held March 28 in City Heights, the all-ages event’s fourth location since it was launched in 2004 in Banker’s Hill. In 2012 and 2013, IndieFest was held at Liberty Station in Point Loma, after a multiyear run in North Park that saw the event grow exponentially.
This year’s lineup will feature more than 50 groups and solo acts on multiple stages, along with an array of visual artists.
The diverse lineup includes the New York buzz band Bear Hands, Rigoberto Gutierrez & Karma, R&D singer Paige Bryan (who is the daughter of comedian Sinbad), and Venezuelan-born actress and singer Yeniffer Behrens. They’ll be joined by such homegrown San Diego favorites as Todo Mundo, Dead Feather Moon and Danielle Lo Presti & The Masses (which features Indiefest co-founders LoPresti on lead vocals and Alicia Champion on guitar).
The 2015 edition of the all-ages festival will take place in Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park, adjacent to the City Heights Public Library, in an urban redevelopment area known as City Heights Urban Village.
“We’re collaborating on the festival with the City Heights Community Development Corporation,” said Champion, who launched IndieFest with Lo Presti in 2004. The couple resides in City Heights with their young son.
“There used to be a City Heights Street Festival that celebrated all the cultures in City Heights,” Champion, a Singapore native, continue. “And since diversity is a big part of IndieFest, the City Heights Community Development Corporation the was interested to bringing that back. They called their festival the International Village Celebration, and IndieFest will have an International Oasis Village.
“What really excites us about this location in City Heights is just how entrenched the event is with its mission, which is bringing groups of people, artists and cultures together. We also did that at Liberty Station, but the venue didn’t lend itself as much to that mission as City Heights does.”
Tickets, available through the Indiefest website, are priced at $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors (with valid picture ID). VAP passes, which include admission to a lounge in the festival’s International Oasis Village and direct sight lines to the main stage, are $40 each and are available only to attendees over the age of 21.
Film screenings, a key part of previous editions of IndieFest, will be suspended, not because a lack of interest, but because of the event’s retrenchment and a lack of a suitable venue to show films.
“This year is about establishing ourselves in a new area and creating a really solid foundation,” Champion said. “We’ll bring the films back next year.”
The festival is being streamlined to one day, after stretching over three days in 2013, when attendance dipped after steady growth over nearly all of the preceding years. The 2013 festival came barely three months after Lo Presti concluded her chemotherapy treatment for diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare form of cancer.
“In retrospect, trying to do what we did with the festival while Danielle was still going through her medical challenges was extremely difficult, and both the event and she and I suffered as a result,” Champion said. “That was one huge reason that we took 2014 off. Now that we’re very much in the clear, we’re pushing on.”
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