Various Venues — Thursday, Sept. 28-Sunday, Oct. 1
The All Senses Festival is a new, four-day event in the Quad Cities that runs from Sept. 28 until Oct. 1, with many events offered at no cost. Notable among those are Ford Photography’s presentation of Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell at the Figge Art Museum on Sept. 28 and the Lowland Block Party on Oct. 1. The film especially is appropriate to the festival, as it commemorates the work of Arthur Russell, a musician born in Oskaloosa who was heavily involved in New York’s experimental art and music scene before his death 25 years ago of AIDS-related illnesses.
The Quad Cities have been steadily building a vibrant cultural community over the past few years, based in venues like RIBCO, the Daytrotter studios and the Triple Crown Whisky Bar & Raccoon Motel, featuring a steady lineup of seriously talented performers. The All Senses Festival takes this trend a step further, merging the music scene with its foundation in the visual arts (represented by the Figge), literature (represented by the Midwestern Writing Center) and other experimental arts (Rozz-Tox).
The result promises to be a true blend of words and music, vision and taste, pitched as a celebration of the artistry and craft that goes into the goods that delight our everyday lives. Passes are $15 for Friday or Saturday night, or $30 for both; having a pass will guarantee a seat at the Figge for Wild Combination. A full schedule is available at the All Senses Festival website.
On Friday and Saturday, outside Rozz-Tox, an inflatable screen will feature short and feature length screenings from exploitation and monster movies (such as Reefer Madness and Devil’s Harvest) that will likely interest fans of Grindhouse cinema.
The Lowland Block Party, held on Sunday, an existing event being looped in, will remain family friendly, featuring local art and food vendors with activities for children (including the giant piñatas that were a hit last year). It also will feature a flea market, record sales and a dunk tank, as well as more music and poetry.
The musical focus of the All Senses Festival (psych, garage, electronic and experimental music) provides a sonic sampling that differs from the more traditional and Americana sounds featured at Daytrotter Downs or GARP! This becomes clear given festival headliners Dead Rider (Chicago) on Friday and Plastic Crime Wave Syndicate (Chicago) on Saturday. The bill also includes local favorites Idpyramid, Brooks Strause and more.
Although the impetus for the festival was originally to link Wild Combination and the Block Party, the All Senses Festival will likely return. According to Bob Herington, owner of Ragged Records and one of the founders of the festival, “We’re already talking about next year. We have a few more people who may be interested in sponsoring, and a few other venues. It may end up growing. We’re assuming that we’ll include the other things next year — everyone seems to be on board.”