Sept. 05--When LouFest founder Brian Cohen moved to St. Louis in 2004, he noticed the city was missing one important amenity -- a music festival.
"I had lived in other cities with multiday outdoor music festivals and it was always my favorite weekend of the year. When I moved here, I felt that void," Cohen said. "It seemed like St. Louis was a perfect place for this and Forest Park the perfect location."
The first LouFest was in 2010 and headlined by Belleville native Jeff Tweedy. Tweedy and his band Wilco will headline this year's LouFest, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at Forest Park.
Cohen, 44 a native of Abilene, Texas, is a media specialist at Washington University in St. Louis and teaches documentary film. Prior to creating LouFest he had no experience in the music industry.
"I followed the same strategy that I followed in my films. Hopefully, come up with a good idea and surround myself with the best people to help get it done," he said.
The festival has grown every year.
"This year we partnered with C3 Presents -- the folks behind Lolapalooza. That partnership has allowed us to add an additional stages. This year we have three stages instead of two and our lineup is 30 bands. "
They run the gamut from the bluegrass sounds of Trampled by Turtles (2:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday) to the indie rock of The National (6:30-7:30 Saturday). Two local acts will also perform: St. Louis-based rapper Tef Poe (3:30-4:30 Sunday) and Edwardsville's Kentucky Knife Fight (12:15-1 p.m. Saturday).
"I'm really excited. ... The headlining acts this year are even bigger that the years before," said Jason Holler, vocalist for Kentucky Knife Fight. "The population of the festival will be larger, which is exciting for St. Louis and exciting for us. "
The band will perform material from their new album "Hush Hush" as well as some older favorites. They will perform with a three-piece horn section and a string section.
"It's always weird for me to play outside, especially during the day. We're kind of a nocturnal band that plays in a dark venue or bar," Holler said. "I don't know if we'll look the best in the sunlight."
The event is family friendly and features "LouKids," where children get their own DJ and can participate in music-related activities. It's also an eco-friendly event.
"It's been a privilege to have an event like this in Forest Park, so while we're there, we want to do everything we can to make sure we protect it and to leave it better than we found it," Cohen said. "One important way to do that is to focus on recycling and composting, so our food vendors are required to use either compostable or recyclable products."
Concertgoers are encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation and keep their cars out of Forest Park. Trailent will provide a free bicycle valet service and MetroLink will add a central park stop to the Forest Park Trolley service.
"The goal from the beginning was to create destination festival," Cohen said, "which means a festival that's large enough to attract people from across the country and bring them to St. Louis."
When: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Forest Park, St. Louis
Tickets: $55 for one-day pass; $95 for two-day pass at Loufest.com
Information and schedule of bands: Loufest.com
Special features: Autograph tent, Loukids
(c)2013 the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.)
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