New Festival AlertSSSS. Plural.

…including benefits for local non-profits!

I feel fortunate to have returned to the Quad City Area at a time when so many motivated, ambitious young people are building up and taking control of their community and culture.

I already covered the brand new BirdFest over at Travel Iowa. This is a project from GoldBird Recordings, and while there are no actual, living birds involved, you are free to dress in elaborate costume on Friday, June 1 at Daytrotter. It’s a psych-rock-heavy lineup, so you’ll be okay to get weird with it.

To learn more, call 1 (800) 674-3502. You know what? Call even if you don’t want to learn more. It’s worth it.

But BirdFest isn’t the only fresh game in town. Some of GoldBird’s friends will host a benefit across the river at Rozz-Tox in just a few days from now! Saturday, May 26 at 3p.m. sees the first AlexFest, where proceeds and cash donations go toward Girls Rock! Camp of Iowa City. The fest also gladly accepts any donations of musical instruments or accessories on behalf of the camp. Any equipment geared toward beginners is especially useful.

AlexFest is so-called because not only are the organizers named Alex, but it looks like every single band that’s playing has at least one member named Alex.

(This phenomenon prompted me to look up the most popular baby names in the ‘90s. Interestingly, Alexander saw a tremendous spike in popularity in 1993 with a >400% increase in usage in both the U.S. and Canada. Interesting, right? I guess it’s not that interesting.)

The very first AlexFest features performers from across the country, including the band with the best name ever: Piss Exorcist. There’s even going to be a battle set featuring local mathcore-powerviolence idols Closet Witch and the intriguing electro-8bit project Pulsing.

So there are two never-before-seen festivals within a week of each other. Want more? No problem, Miss Piggy. 

Junetopia, while technically not “new,” is bigger than ever in its fourth summer, hopping venues from June 21 through June 25. Kicking off Day 1 at Rozz-Tox at 6p.m., this festival opens, appropriately, with some folk-hop from Ceschi Ramos to ease us all into a four-day blowout + a Monday Afterparty jam-packed with rap, hip-hop, and their subgenres. Other venues include the Figge Art Museum, The Moline Club, and Jaded Java.

As in Junetopias past, all proceeds after venue and performer fees are split between Kings Harvest Pet Rescue and No-Kill Shelter and Kings Harvest Ministries and Humility of Mary Housing, Inc.

And finally, here’s yet another inaugural event: QC Local Fest, which kicks off at 2p.m. on June 30, is the brainchild of Erik Reader, District Dynamo. Seriously, I never see this guy sit down. Leslie Knope + that squirrel from Over the Hedge = Erik Reader.

This festival will feature area artisans, food vendors, musicians, and crafters. Headquartered at The Black Sheep on 2nd Avenue in Downtown Rock Island, this community-building event will be popping with entrepreneurs and independent contractors in addition to makers of all kinds. If you plan to build anything – a business, a building, a brand, etc. – in the region any time soon, you can’t afford to miss this.