Un-Herd Music

Since launching IndieFest in 2004 to promote emerging musicians and artists, co-founders Danielle LoPresti and Alicia Champion have seen the event grow beyond their expectations.

The first IndieFest was held at The Abbey in Banker's Hill and featured 25 acts. This year, the event is moving from its former site in North Park to the spacious, bay-view Promenade at Liberty S tation. It will feature more than 50 bands and solo artists on four stages.

"We've outgrown our space for the second time," says LoPresti, who will perform on the main stage Saturday, March 12, with her band, The Masses.

"Last year we had to turn away about 1,000 people."

This year's lineup, viewable at sandiegoindiefest.com, includes buzz band We Are Scientists, whose song, After Hours, appears on the soundtrack to the film, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

"They've just got really, poppy, catchy songs (that are) very accessible," LoPresti says. "I think they're really going to appeal to a wide swath of people."

Other acts this year include AWOLNATION, Vokab Kompany, James Marsters, Black Party Politics and Love Darling.

Though IndieFest's popularity has soared, that hasn't necessarily translated into fame or a livable wage for the bands playing the festival-which is the reason LoPresti and Champion created IndieFest and continue to produce it.

"There comes a time when it isn't just a nice compliment when someone comes up to you and says, 'Wow, you guys are so good. Why aren't you famous yet?' It actually hurts a little bit," LoPresti says. "The answer is that being famous is not the mark of being a really, really excellent band or remarkable entity. It's kind of something between fate and luck and other factors.

"Instead of feeling like we were quietly, silently pouting and bummed out about it, we felt like the most empowering thing we could do was to shine this huge spotlight on all these bands and say, 'Hey, everybody, look over here! These bands will make your life really enjoyable if you discover them.'"

This year's event also includes free art classes, poetry, painting and photography, as well as a full schedule of indie films to be screened March 12 and 13. Admission to the art, acoustic and watercolor stages is free. Main festival tickets are $25.

LoPresti advises attendees to dress in layers as temperatures may fluctuate dramatically throughout the day.

-Pat Sherman

San Diego IndieFest

Date: March 12 Time: noon to 11 p.m.
Venue: Promenade at Liberty Station, Point Loma
Tickets: $25
Info: sandiegoindiefest.com

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