Music and messages will mix at the PLAY:stl2010 Music Festival & Conference, which rolls out for its fourth year in the Delmar Loop with a party Wednesday at Cicero's.
Music lovers will get to see up to 100 bands perform Wednesday through Sept. 18, with free workshops offered as well.
"People are coming in from all over the country," says Laura Hamlett, the festival's executive director. "It has really snowballed in terms of the kinds of acts we are bringing in and public awareness. It's not out of control by any means, but we've noticed an exponential jump."
Acts on board, both local and national, include Kevin Renick, Todd Sarvies, Models Need Sleep, the Hood Internet, Zack Weber, Thom Donovan, Autovein, Nato Caliph, Copperview, LucaBrasi, Dawn Weber and the Electro Funk Assembly, Nite Owl, Fundamental Elements, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship and many more.
Brandt's, Riddle's Penultimate and the Regional Arts Commission are among the venues added to this year's lineup. They join Cicero's, which continues to serve as the festival's home base, Blueberry Hill, Market Pub House, Market in the Loop, Vintage Vinyl and Chipotle.
Cicero's also will host four free workshops from 1-5 p.m. on Sept. 18:
• How musicians can book gigs, and what to look for in a booking agent.
• Recording: Home studio vs. professional studio, and when to hire a studio engineer.
• How to connect with fans and other bands through social networking.
• Helping artists understand the differences between and roles of a manager and an attorney.
Laura Hamlett's PLAY:stl2010 top picks
WHO Owen • WHEN 10:30 p.m. Wednesday • WHERE Cicero's, 6691 Delmar Boulevard • MORE INFO myspace.com/mybandowen • HAMLETT SAYS Last year, Owen closed the fest to a packed house at Cicero's; it's only fitting that this year he open it.
WHO Alexey Arkhipovskiy • WHEN 11 p.m. Sept. 17 • WHERE Riddle's Penultimate, 6307 Delmar Boulevard • MORE INFO arkhipovskiy.com • HAMLETT SAYS Incredibly talented and fast-picking electric balalaika player coming to the United States from Moscow to play the fest.
WHO Brighton, MA • WHEN 11 p.m. Sept. 17 • WHERE Brandt's Cafe, 6525 Delmar Boulevard • MORE INFO brightonma.net • HAMLETT SAYS The Chicago band fronted by Matthew Kerstein offers deep thoughts with a strong refrain, resulting in rich music that makes you want to sing along.
WHO Vinyl Thief • WHEN 8 p.m. Sept. 18 • WHERE Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard • MORE INFO vinylthief.com • HAMLETT SAYS These young Nashville indie electro rockers played a set at Cicero's a couple of weeks back that was, without a doubt, one of the best live shows I've seen all year.
WHO Murder By Death • WHEN 11:50 p.m. Sept. 18 • WHERE Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard • MORE INFO murderbydeath.com • HAMLETT SAYS The dark songs of this Bloomington, Ind., band transform into a dance party live.
Tickets • $20, available at 2010.playstlfest.com, Cicero's and Vintage Vinyl