Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

WINTER NOTES: From Dec., 1-5, Jon Stickley Trio will be at Echo Mountain Recording Studio with Dave King (The Bad Plus), who will produce the group's next album. "Last time we worked with him, it changed our sound forever, and we can't wait to see what happens this time," the trio writes online. Photo by Heather Hambor

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Jon Stickley Trio’s new album

“When we did our last Kickstarter, we didn’t really know if we had any fans at all — other than our families,” says Jon Stickley in his band’s new crowdfunding video. “But it turned out we did.” Nearly 300 backers pledged $18,840 to help Jon Stickley Trio record its second full-length album Lost at Last, which the band calls its “breakout” work. The music was praised by NPR and The New York Times, among others, performed at more than 100 concerts and festivals, and played for radio listeners both nationally and internationally. Considering those results, Stickley and his bandmates Lyndsay Pruett (violin) and Patrick Armitage (drums) are repeating their Lost at Last formula: recording at Echo Mountain Recording Studio alongside producer Dave King. This time, though, the musicians say they’ll be more relaxed and “less fan-girly” around their shared hero. With a completed five-song EP called Triangular to lure new backers, the trio aims to raise $28,000 by Friday, Nov. 11, to help pay for the forthcoming album’s recording, mixing, mastering, producing, art and design, pressing, marketing and campaign expenses.

Brendan Williamson’s Imaginary Landscapes photo book

“After pursuing photography seriously for three years now, I am finally ready to take the first step at selling my work,” writes Brendan Williamson. His inaugural commercial project entails macro shots of crumpled white paper, which are altered to show highlights and shadows in two tones. “The resulting photos resemble alien landscapes far removed from the mundane subject they come from,” he says. Williamson has already surpassed his $250 goal for printing the seven-photo collection, entitled Imaginary Landscapes, into a booklet using a risograph at Asheville’s Woolly Press. He’ll continue to administer pre-sales through Sunday, Nov. 6, expanding the quantity of books and images in each as funding permits.

Image from Williamson's campaign page
Image from Williamson’s campaign page

Dead Brew movie

“When a powerful hurricane hits Asheville, North Carolina, the microbrewery capital of the south, gallons of contaminated coal ash spill into the city’s water supply and turn the citizens of Asheville into flesh-eating zombies on the eve of Asheville’s annual zombie walk.” That’s the synopsis of executive producer and co-creator David Huff’s forthcoming Dead Brew — a comeback project that has ended his 10-year break from filmmaking. The plot follows a trio of citizens as they attempt to save Asheville from natural disaster and a shady local government. “We tap into climate change, corporate greed and corrupt politicians,” Huff writes, calling the work an allegory that aspires to entertain, scare and inspire viewers. The filmmaker aims to raise $25,000 by Friday, Nov. 18, to help pay for screenwriter and producer fees, hiring someone to assemble an investment package and launching the movie.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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