Frigid January weather couldn't sway the legions of dedicated music lovers who checked out the four-day, 30+ band's worth of pop glory that was this year's POPAsheville. LaZoom shuttled the fans around (complete with bus-worthy musical entertainment), and by all accounts, the indie pop festival was a wild success. And while that kind of cold is just a vague memory now, summertime is when the whole thing gets started again: Bands start applying to play, organizers start sorting through the applications and the coordinating begins.
But this year, POPAsheville's future is clouded. Stephanie Morgan, the founder of POPAsheville and frontwoman of indie phenomenon stephaniesid, recently announced that she will not be the festival's director anymore. Instead, she's chosen Susanne Hackett (who's been involved with the festival since it was born as IdFest in 2003) as a successor. Which sounds fine, except for POPAsheville needs $15,000 to continue.
By the time you read this, Asheville will have two weeks left to try save its beloved pop festival.
“We know that it's a longshot to try raise the money so quickly,” Morgan says. “But there are so many people who care about it so much.”
For Morgan, it's a matter of dreams: stephaniesid is the one she needs to focus on to fulfill, she says. (The band's been earning some national attention of late, with songs featured on public radio's World Cafe and Showtime's Nurse Jackie.)
“The band is certainly taking a lot more of my time, we're touring a lot more,” Morgan tells Xpress. But she can't do both the band and the festival, which takes its own time and effort, this time around.
Enter Hackett, a longtime member of the local arts community and founder of PollinatingAsheville.com, a new blog dedicated to the creative community here. As Morgan explains it, $12,000 would pay for Hackett to take on the full-time job of festival director, which takes more than 600 hours of work. The other $3,000 would be for staff stipends (stage manager, volunteer director, etc.) The festival's other expenses, including the $200 band stipends, venue rentals and printing costs, are paid for by tickets sales and in-kind sponsors.
Once Hackett takes the reins, she would be able to embark on a funding drive and put effort into making the festival more financially sustainable, something Morgan hasn't had time to do, she says.
The crux? POPAsheville needs to know the money is coming by July 15, otherwise, there will be no point in beginning the band application process that usually starts this time of year. “We need a philanthropist or a business that's really looking to get its name out there,” Morgan offers. Supporters should contact Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org. More info at www.popasheville.com.
Who will save POPAsheville? Tune in next time …
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