By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Rukus festival moves to the B&O Station grounds this year, where it will be much bigger than usual.
The event, in its fifth year, previously had been at Warren Community Amphitheater and would feature a handful of bands.
But Saturday at the B&O, there will be about 40 acts performing on five stages in an all-day event.
The main stage will be the permanent amphitheater stage at the west end of the entertainment complex. Other stages will be inside the B&O; the dock stage overhanging the Mahoning River, which will be dedicated to bluegrass music; an acoustic stage inside the Boxcar Lounge; and electronic music and DJs hosted by Pittsburgh-based Internet radio station Plur.fm in the Youngstown Room, which is on the second floor of the B&O building.
Tickets are $5 in advance and can be purchased at www.rukusradio.com. Payments go through the Paypal system, but a Paypal account is not needed. Tickets also will be sold at the door for $10 for the all-ages event (children under 12 will be admitted free of charge).
Vendors will be set up on the grounds with an array of unique merchandise, including Recycled Peaces of Onoville, N.Y., which specializes in tie-dye.
Plans originally called for the roll-out of a new beer dubbed Rukus Ale that day by Rust Belt Brewing Co., which is located inside the B&O, but the brew won’t be ready by Saturday.
Moe Angelo is the driving force behind the festival. He’s also one of the founders of Internet radio station ruKus radio, which specializes in independent artists. In fact, most of the bands selected for the festival are staples on Rukusradio.com.
Like the music it will present, the ruKus festival also flies the independent flag.
“A crazy amount of work by a lot of people has gone into the festival’s planning,” said Angelo. “It truly is awesome to see so many people coming together in the name of independent music and art to make an event of this magnitude go off without a hitch. With sponsorship being a lot lighter than we had hoped, the festival is truly independent, and is embodying exactly what ruKus radio has always been about ... doing things independently and coming together as one to make it happen.”
There will be a wide variety of musical styles represented, from bluegrass to metal, hip-hop to jam.
“We started booking for the festival back in February and wanted to showcase the best of ruKus radio artists,” said Angelo. “Bands are coming from all over the country, from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Bangor, Maine, and many cities in between. Booking preference was given to artists that have supported ruKus radio throughout our history, but we also opened up emerging ruKus submissions through Sonicbids.com. So it’s a nice mix of classic ruKus artists and new ones.”
The exponential increase in the size of the festival as compared to previous ones has Angelo a little nervous, but he’s comforted by the effort put forth by the many people who are helping.
In previous years, the festival was free. But a lack of sponsors forced the need to charge admission this year.
All money received from admission will go to the artists.
“We’re certainly not trying to turn a profit with this thing,” said Angelo. “We’re simply trying to cover costs and make sure we get some gas in these artists’ tanks.”
Each performance will be recorded for a festival compilation CD that will be released afterward. Additionally, the bands have been asked to document their ruKus festival experience with video, which will be compiled into a documentary.
“The one thing I can’t stress enough is the need to support all of these independent artists that are traveling from all over,” said Angelo. “Come out and support indie! “