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VOL. 129 | NO. 86 | Friday, May 2, 2014

Moon River Music Festival Set for Levitt Shell

By Andy Meek

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When Nashville-based singer-songwriter Drew Holcomb comes back to his hometown of Memphis in June, it will be to launch a music festival at the Levitt Shell.

Drew Holcomb and his band, including Rich Brinsfield, Ellie Holcomb and Nathan Dugger, are helping launch an all-day music festival in June at the Levitt Shell.

(Submitted Photo)

It’s something he says he’s wanted to do for a while now. The event is the one-day Moon River Music Festival on June 7 at the Shell, presented by Southern Sun AM. Holcomb, whose workman-like touring schedule over the years has included high-profile slots as the opener for The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams and others, has handpicked acts for the festival, which also serves as a kind of thank-you to Memphis.

The city was a springboard for his career, highs of which have included his band’s music getting played on shows like NBC’s “Parenthood,” ABC’s “Nashville” and CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother.” The early part of his career included playing at the P&H Café in Memphis, then the Hi-Tone and later Minglewood.

Describing the sound of Holcomb and his group Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, ChatterChattanooga.com said the group – which includes Holcomb’s wife, Ellie – produces a “refreshing” blend of “music enjoyable to the older generation, while staying relevant enough to draw in the younger fan, too.” The band played Bonnaroo last year, and the band’s latest album “Good Light,” released in February 2013, currently has five stars on iTunes.

“I’ve seen a lot of other artists do things like this, too,” Holcomb said of the festival, mentioning Lucero’s annual Family Picnic in Arkansas and a similar event Grace Potter and the Nocturnals holds in Vermont. “I wanted to put together a summer festival that brought a lot of our out-of-town fans to Memphis. I get pretty frustrated when opinions of people outside Memphis don’t match up to what the reality is like there. I also want to introduce some of my Memphis fans to artists we’ve toured with over the last few years.

“Wiseacre’s going to be part of it. Chiwawa’s doing the food. We’ve got the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band part of the day. It’s going to be great, a family-friendly festival at the Shell with an accessible price point.”

Tickets start at $25 for general admission. Special VIP and Neighbor VIP packages also are available.

The $55 VIP package includes two drink tickets, one signed festival poster, an exclusive wristband and early access to the festival grounds. The $250 Neighbor VIP package includes everything from the standard VIP package as well as VIP tent access, seating options and private dinner and intimate acoustic show the night before the event.

Gates will open at 11 a.m. the day of the festival, with the event wrapping up at 10:30 p.m. More information, including contact information for anyone wanting to work as a volunteer at the festival, is available at moonriverfestival.com.

“We’ll be playing an extra-long, two-hour set, working in songs from records I haven’t played songs from in five or six years,” Holcomb said. “And it’s really a community deal. We’re hoping people bring their kids, bring their neighbors.

“We’ll have acts like Will Hoge, another Tennessean, who’s kind of a Southern Springsteen. Holly Williams, who’s also Hank Williams’ granddaughter, will be there. She’s fantastic. We’ll also have The Dirty Guv’nahs, kind of the Southern Rolling Stones.”

The festival also will feature acts such as Rob Baird, Ellie Holcomb, Judah & the Lion, Dwan Hill, DJ Radski, Apollo Mighty and Myla Smith, among others.

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