Updated Thu, Apr 25, 2013 7:29 am
This weekend, Ohio University’s All Campus Radio Network (ACRN) is presenting Lobsterfest, a free three-day, three-venue concert series.
The annual event, which gets its name from the station's longtime mascot, Snat the Rock Lobster, has evolved over the years, hosting such notable artists as Andrew WK and Jay Reatard.
"This is the first year we don’t have an outdoor day," said ACRN General Manager Ben Haager, commenting on the change in schedule due to OU's switch to semesters. "It’s really risky to book an outdoor show in April, because you really have no idea what the weather is going to be like."
In the past, the event hosted two days of indoor shows, usually at The Union or Casa Cantina, as well as one outdoor show, which would be held on OU's South Beach. This year, in order to accommodate a third day of music, ACRN booked Central Venue at 29 East Carpenter Street.
"That’s our main day, with Cloud Nothings, our main headliner, which I am very excited about," Haager said.
Cloud Nothings are certainly a band to get excited about, as the group has been hailed by both Rolling Stone and Pitchfork for their most 2012 effort, entitled Attack On Memory, as well as their newly released single, "Fall In" from their forthcoming album Body Music.
With 18 bands scheduled to perform this weekend, booking and coordinating all of the acts was quite an undertaking, according to Haager.
"The local acts are usually pretty easy to get in order, because the only thing you need to worry about is getting their paperwork all set," he said. "For the other acts, Kory Kasler, who does all our booking, has to scour through places like Bandcamp, trying to get a hold of their agents."
The process of setting up Lobsterfest truly is a group effort, and for a music-centric organization like ACRN, the yearly event is a great experience for the students.
"We should have interviews with just about all the bands and will be posting a bunch of videos soon. Our brand new visual media department has worked really hard to get those together this year," said Haager.
Lobsterfest 2013 kicks off at The Smiling Skull on April 25 with Columbus powerpop group The Kyle Sowashes, followed by post-punk rockers Pile and garage-rockers Fat History Month, two groups from the Boston area. Athens' own Small Steps will finish up the night with a heavy dose of post-hardcore.
Friday’s show takes place at The Union, with Nashville group Turbo Fruits headlining. Tin Armor, Emily and The Complexes and The Saturday Giant, all from the Columbus area, will follow, with two local acts, Method Air and Vagrant Beat, closing the night.
Saturday’s show, held at Central Venue, will be divided into two halves, with a morning show starting at 11 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m. Cloud Nothings will start sometime around noon, followed by Kent, Ohio's Cherry Cola Champions and Athens bands Frankie Teardrop and Shower Beers.
At 8 p.m., Central Venue will start rocking out hard, with appearances from weirdo rapper Evolve, power-punk rockers The Girls!, noise-rockers Sign Off and experimental electronic Athens act Sal Lake.
All performances are free and sponsored by local businesses, as well as a grant from Ohio University. Haager said the event should be a lot of fun, not only for the public and the performers, but those involved in organizing it.
"It’s just a huge cohesive effort...everything is done by students, and that's what I think makes Lobsterfest so valuable," he explained. "Not only because it’s free, but because for the people involved, it’s great experience. Kory is booking an entire festival, I’m managing it, our public relations department is running around everywhere, our visual media team is pumping out these videos and our writers are interviewing these up-and-coming bands for it. The event just really serves ACRN as a whole."