San Diego Indie Fest Can Kiss the Mature Audiences Goodbye

The six-year-old Indie Music Fest will be moving from North Park to the NTC Promenade at Liberty Station for the next event, March 12 and 13, 2011. While the first day will be music-based, the second day will be devoted to film only, incorporating some of Liberty Station’s venues.

“We’ve outgrown our main-stage space in North Park,” said event organizer/musician Danielle Lo Presti of the parking lot at 29th and North Park Way, behind the North Park Theatre. “We had to turn over 1000 people away once we reached capacity at the main stage, and that was a huge bummer for us.”

The festival was launched in 2004 at the Abbey in Hillcrest, drawing about 600 people. Indie Fest skipped 2006, but in 2007 the event expanded, moving to the streets and venues of North Park. Attendance this year reached an Indie-Fest high of 5000. According to Cathy Conway of NTC Promenade, details are still being worked out, but depending on which Liberty Station venues are used, capacity could be up to 6000.

The event has 40 people on the payroll, with about 200 volunteers helping out on the day of the show.

Though more space will be available, there will be fewer stages and performers. “Liberty Station is very different than North Park, and there’s a lot to learn before throwing seven stages out there,” Lo Presti said. Though the number of stages is being confirmed, plans are for the festival to include a free component and continue the Craig Yerkes Acoustic Stage (dedicated to the late Grams guitarist), though they will eliminate the “Women’s Stage” and the “Mature Audiences Stage.” The amount of performers will also likely drop, from a high of 75 in 2010, to approximately 40 in 2011.

“Our goal is to grow Indie Fest for the long run, so we can eventually do some significant things for as many bands, filmmakers, artists, and nonprofits as possible,” she said. “Even if it means pulling back a bit to learn the new space, it’s worth it to us in the long run to create a new home that can serve ten times the people.”

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