The two-day, four-block street party between Blake and Larimer and 20th and 22nd streets features four stages and a nonstop lineup of 33 bands spanning every genre from hip-hop to punk to jazz to barrio rock. "I think the best part of the festival is it becomes a smorgasbord of people wandering from stage to stage, taking it all in," says Al Kraizer, producer of the event. "It's all about experiencing new music."
The tunes start at 5 p.m. Friday, July 18, with a roster that includes the BoDeans, Medeski, Martin & Wood, the Radiators and Los Mocosos; Saturday's set, which begins at 4 p.m., will bring Joan Osborne, Steel Pulse, Rhett Miller and Rob Base, and Kurtis Blow. "It's hard to say who is going to be the biggest draw," Kraizer adds. "Every year we're surprised. Joan Osborne is definitely getting a lot of buzz this year, and we're hearing a lot of enthusiasm about X -- a punk band from L.A. -- Steel Pulse and the Dark Star Orchestra."
Although the music ends officially at midnight, this year there's something new for night owls: the Midnight All-Star Jams, when both local and guest musicians will jam together until 1:30 a.m. both nights. "The artists always want to play with each other, so we created this late-night show where any of them can jump in and jam," Kraizer explains. "It's definitely going to create fireworks for people who want to stay out later."
Organizers are expecting over 40,000 music lovers to turn out for the party, so Kraizer recommends buying tickets in advance. "This festival can easily sell out, and it has in the past," he says. "You'd hate to be turned away just before your favorite band goes on."