Q&A with event organizers Michael Stephens and Leigh Bezezekoff
Macefield Music Festival
September 30 – October 2, 2016
Macefield, now in its fourth year, is an independently run music event that takes place each fall in various venues in Ballard. It’s a great mix of national, regional, and local talent performing in small and mid-sized spaces over three days for a mere $55. It’s as if downtown Ballard turns in to the best imaginable weekend of live music for people with good taste who have the good sense to drink within their limits and make sure things start on time.
As always, the lineup features a bunch of our favorites (Fly Moon Royalty, Wimps) alongside unfamiliar names we’re excited to check out (Bali Girls, Stallion) and the now-customary Seattle music reunion act. Last year it was Sage, this year it’s Hazel…two bands we loved in their 90s heydays.
Even more exciting is that eight of the acts on our list of 41 Seattle Bands We’re Watching in 2016 got the nod for 2016 (Briana Marela, Mommy Long Legs, Wild Powwers, Maszer, Boyfriends, Evening Bell, DoNormaal, and Aeon Fux) meaning our plan to pay attention to all the new bands we saw at Macefield last year is working perfectly:
In advance of the event, we chatted with organizers Michael Stephens and Leigh Bezezekoff.
NadaMucho.com: So, was Edith Macefield’s house really the inspiration for Up? No shit?
MS: Crazy, right? Pixar found out about the Macefield story and the rest is Up history.
LB: People come from all over the world to write on balloons along the fence, with inspirational messages, their names, and their countries. It’s amazing. I wish they would have done something better with it, like a community gathering space.
NM: Did you catch the photos we’ve gotten of it each year? You know, for context?
MS: Yes. And now it looks a bit better. It’s been so sad to see the house not in its original state. At this point, I’m not even sure where they are at with the house – there have been so many changes in regard to who owns it.
LB: We filmed some footage in it for a documentary we were working on. They gutted everything about the house that made it hers.
NM: Are you finished with the documentary?
MS: Not yet. Stay tuned.
NM: Quick: tell everyone why they should come to the third (fourth?) annual Macefield Music Festival.
MS: Because it is going to be a fucking blast. Macefield is an independently run festival that celebrates why we love Seattle, with more than 80 percent local bands. Seattle is creative, vibrant, weird, and diverse.
LB: Stephens nailed it. It’s also just a fun, affordable way to see your favorite acts and check out ones you’ve been curious about, all in one place.
NM: Give us three acts each you’re excited to see this year.
NM: Do you guys want to know what my favorite songs by Hazel were, the seminal Northwest Indie rock band you’ve got reuniting for this year for all of us cool people in our 40s?
MS: More than anything.
NM: One is called “Comet,” from the Toreador of Love album on Sub Pop and the other is called “Jilted” from an EP I think. All my CDs are packed away in a dirty closet so I’m trusting the Internet.
“Truly” is really good too:
MS: Comet is one of my favorite songs!
NM: Speaking of bands playing Macefield this year, how is it that Wimps are so good? They’re like a band I would have loved at 20, which usually means I don’t love them at 42, but I still do. Which means they must be really, really good. Right?
MS: I LOVE WIMPS! Seriously, they are so damn fantastic and I could not be more pleased they are playing Macefield. I used to work with Dave (Ramm, Wimps’ drummer) at Barnes and Noble back int he 90s. THE NINETIES.
LB: Yeah. Wimps are so rad.
NM: Looks like KEXP is sponsoring a mainstage again? How great is KEXP?
LB: KEXP is the best. They’ve been supporting us since the start.
MS: We couldn’t do it without them. They are also providing amazing DJs to play the mainstage before and after our live music. We also have Friday mainstage activity this year – with KEXP DJs Brian Foss and Mike Ramos. DJ Michele Myers will be DJing a dance party after Zola Jesus on Saturday too.
NM: Comedy, eh?
MS: It’s our second year doing comedy at Hotel Albatross. It’s called BEAUTIFUL WEIRDOS and is curated by Kate Montgomery and Emmett Montgomery, hosted by Kelly Hannah, and featuring Travis Vogt, Sam Miller (of Voyeur Open Mic Comedy – Vomity), Bettina McKelvey (of Wine Shots: Comedy’s Happiest Hour), Brett Hamil (of City Arts Magazine), Nick Sahoyah (of Out & In Pride Comedy Showcase and Not Too Late with Elicia Sanchez), and sketch comedy troupe Day Job.
NM: Looks like you’ve changed programming up for Sunday this year, with a brunch rather than more live music, Is that because by then everyone is super hungover?
MS: Oh there is live music during the brunch too. Everyone is hungover, but we still wanted more music and a relaxed, fun end to Macefield. So this year the plan is to grab some food and a bloody mary and enjoy cameos by incredible artists.
LB: Underwood Stables is doing a modern take on Hee Haw. They’ll have cameos by Nikki Lane, Jaime Wyatt, Jenny Don’t & The Spurs, and a slew of other performers. It’s hosted by Pastor Kaleb & El Vez. How could that not be amazing?
NM: Any hints on the other cameos? Eddie Spaghetti? Pickerel? Is Jeff Tweedy going to be there?
MS: I can’t give away all our secrets. You just have to come to Macefield and see what we have in store. Muahahaaaaa….
NM: Anything else?
LB: Insider’s scoop: Hotel Albatross makes a super tasty beet juice based tequila beverage that makes you feel so much better on Sunday early afternoons.