An upcoming festival will bring a busload of creativity to Asheville — literally. Last week, organizers for the second annual HATCHfest Asheville, a multidisciplinary arts-and-mentoring event that takes place April 15 to 18, announced that one high-profile "guest" at the fest will be the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.
The bus is an audio and video recording-and-production facility on wheels. "Working together with some of the biggest names in music, the Lennon Bus encourages students to play music, write songs, engineer recording sessions and produce video projects using the latest audio, video and live-sound equipment," HATCHfest said in a press release. The bus will be open to public tours on Sunday, April 18.
One area musician or band will be selected to work one-on-one with singer/songwriter Matt Morris to record a song and music video in the bus. Morris' debut album, When Everything Breaks Open, was released by Tennman Records in January. He's written songs — some of them top-10 hits — for Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera. (Visit www.hatchasheville.org for information on applying to work with Morris.)
Festival co-founder Sean O'Connell and HATCHfest board member Craig McAnsh announced other high-profile festival participants at a fundraiser last Thursday at Blue Spiral 1. More headliners and programming details will be announced this week, according to O'Connell; here are some of them, listed by discipline, from the HATCHfest Web site:
• Fashion: Jeff Garner, founder of Franklin, Tenn.-based Prophetik, a sustainable-clothing line; and Linda Loudermilk, a couture, eco and lifestyle designer dubbed the "Vivienne Westwood of eco" by Elle Magazine.
• Film: filmmaker and philanthropist Charles Annenberg Weingarten, vice president and director of the Annenberg Foundation; documentary and dramatic-film director Jonathan Walls; David Klein, a photography director and longtime collaborator with director Kevin Smith; and award-winning director and writer Jon Amiel, who has also worked in television, theater and commercials
• Journalism: Rachael Maddux, associate editor at Paste Magazine; Jeff Chu, an editor at Fast Company magazine; Fritz Kramer, who grew up in Asheville and now lives in Washington, D.C., where he works for the PBS news program Frontline; and award-winning investigative television reporter Jeffrey Pohlman.
• In addition, Jennifer Pickering, founder and executive director of the Lake Eden Arts Festival and LEAF International, will serve as a mentor and panelist, offering her perspectives on using art and culture to foster social and economic justice.
As was the case last year, all of the educational events will be free and open to the public. There will also be ticketed parties and performances. While parts of the festival will take place in various venues, the event space On Broadway will be the new Innovator's Lounge — the center of HATCHfest activity.
Speaking at the fundraiser last week, O'Connell stressed that calling HATCHfest a festival can be a bit of misnomer. "It's really an amazing networking event," he said. "It's this amazing place and time [where] you can soak up knowledge and experiences from other creative types."
HATCHfest Asheville is seeking additional volunteers to help staff the event; visit www.hatchasheville.org for details.