After a couple of years of local and rising national acts playing in the Stickyz Music Tent underneath the Broadway Bridge, the venue-within-a-venue will make a move east this year from the tent to an outdoor stage near the Clinton Presidential Center. The Times recently caught up with Stickyz co-owner Chris King, who filled us in on what to expect from the new Stickyz Music Stage. Be sure to check out the full lineup of great local, regional and even international acts on page 20.
What prompted the move from the tent to the stage this year?
I think we just outgrew our old space where we've been the past couple of years. This is our third year to really work closely with Riverfest on our own production there. I guess with the things we were doing, typically there was a large gathering of people outside of the tent and they just decided it was time to find a bigger space for it.
It's going to be down by the Bill Clark Wetlands?
Yeah, it's going to be just east of the I-30 overpass there, right on the river. If you're familiar with the area, it kind of creates a natural amphitheater-type environment because it's sloped down to the river right there on two sides, and so the stage is going to be down at bottom. It's going to be pretty cool. It's going to be in a little pocket there between the two main stages and it's going to be a real high traffic area for it.
Are you excited?
Really excited. I think it's a great placement for it. I was excited when they told me that's where it was going to move, because I can't tell you how many times I've walked past that area and thought, "Oh, it'd be cool to do a little show down there sometime." So it just worked out and they get all the credit for having the idea.
What size stage are we talking? Will it be similar to what was in the tent?
Yes. The actual physical stage size itself won't be much larger than what it was in the tent. The difference is really going to be the sight lines, coming from a tent, where you really had to be inside to be able to see what was going on, to removing the lid and actually putting it there in more of an open-air space. It's really going to give a lot more exposure than we've had previously.
What about lineup this year? What are you excited about? I'll tell you, I'm really excited about Richie Spice coming in. I say that because this is the third year that I've been booking a lot of the acts with Riverfest, and I've tried to get an international reggae act every year and I'm so excited that it finally worked out. Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, another act I'm excited about, bringing in some jump blues from Chicago.
In addition to bringing in a lot of the strong locals that we've got onboard, we like to look for more niche-y type musical genres for the Stickyz Stage, maybe something that's not necessarily represented on the main stages. So we're able to pull off the reggae show, the blues show, we're bringing Ana Sia in for an electronic dance show. I'm really excited about the Ho Hum reunion. Those shows are too few and far between.
Is there anything else that's going to be different with your operation this year or any other things you're looking forward to?
You know, the fact that it's a larger stage setup, that's the real excitement that we've got for this year. That, coupled with the fact that it's going to be 15-20 degrees cooler than it was last year.