Indie music fest arriving with ‘kah-bang’

Posted June 25, 2009, at 7:28 p.m.

On Thursday West Market Productions announced that a new music festival, the Kah-Bang Music & Art Festival, will grace the Bangor Waterfront on Aug. 15.

Why “Kah-Bang?” Because that’s just the sound organizers hope the festival will make — or the equivalent of that, anyway. The festival will feature a full day of music and vendors, with a special emphasis on up-and-coming independent acts. The first round of bands were announced this week, and include power pop duo Matt & Kim, indie rockers Ra Ra Riot, Norwegian indie punk band Ida Maria, noise pop group Royal Bangs, songwriter April Smith and glam duo the Gay Blades.

Chris Michaud, public relations director for Kah-Bang, said he and his fellow organizers wanted to focus specifically on indie bands. There’s a huge wealth of fantastic talent out there, and music festivals are often the best places to hear bands that are great but relatively unknown.

“We think one of the best things about festivals is discovering new bands that no one knows,” said Michaud. “We figured, let’s do something like a much smaller-scale Coachella or Bonnaroo, but have the focus only be on smaller bands, so that people can say ‘I saw those guys before they were big.’”

Michaud said the idea for the festival came from a bunch of friends hanging around a local watering hole, tossing around ideas for stuff that could happen in Bangor. Michaud, West Market Productions co-founder Chas Bruns and local event planner Tim Lo all settled on the idea of an independent music festival, after the success of the West Market Festival proved there’s definitely an audience for large-scale festivals in downtown Bangor.

“It was fueled from us just hanging out and talking about it,” said Michaud, formerly the baritone sax player from beloved but defunct local band The Killing Moon. “Then all of a sudden, Tim Lo was in Toronto and had all these investors, and we had lots of money to do it. It just happened. It’s pretty amazing how quickly things can move sometimes.”

Michaud hopes that Kah-Bang can end up being kind of a launch pad for indie bands — that they’ll make an appearance at the festival one year, and a few years later they’ll be nationally known. And, as Michaud and company see it, it’s further proof that Bangor is finally turning the corner and building a head of steam as far as there being a real art and music scene in the Queen City. All it takes is a few motivated people to make cool things happen.

“If we can promote this right, we can bring an audience of thousands to the Bangor Waterfront to hear lots of new, interesting, fun music,” said Michaud. “I mean, seriously. Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing ever?”

One band very familiar to Maine audiences will be making an appearance — The Killing Moon, Michaud’s old band, will play a one-off show that night, much to the delight of their many fans in the area.

“We figured we’d give our fans one last show, since we just kind of stopped last year,” said Michaud. “We want to really put the nail in the coffin, and we might as well do it with a big bang. A kah-bang, if you will.”

Kah-Bang, set for Aug. 15, is selling pre-sale tickets for $22.50 on it’s Web site, www.kahbang.com. After the first 250 tickets are sold, a full-day pass increases to $27.50. For more info, visit www.kahbang.com.

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