Notes from the Moonstone Music Festival media announcement




Another big new music festival hopeful is afoot in Orlando. This latest one is the Moonstone Music Festival. Before this week’s media announcement event at the Orlando Eye (Dec. 15), I knew as much about it as you did: nothing.

So as I walk up on the scene, I’m taking in as much as I can. There are cops, cameras, news vans and a couple Barbies in little black dresses meaninglessly flanking the stage. I even see OW’s own arts and attractions columnist Seth Kubersky in the crowd. This could be serious. But classic rock is conspicuously playing on the PA so I’m getting a feeling already, and it’s that I might end up less pumped than everyone else here once the news drops.

Turns out, my hunch is Sherlockian. With the exception of Surfer Blood and the Flaming Lips on this first-round announcement, I practically flatline. I’m pretty certain I was the least tingly among the gathered media when Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were trotted out to announce rock corporation KISS as a headliner. And as for the inclusion of local shame Scott Stapp, well, you couldn’t have chosen a more dubious Orlando name. No, this one’s not gonna be for me.


That said, as someone who always advocates for more action here, I wish Moonstone well. Although I can tell you if it’s good, I’m no expert in what makes large-scale music festivals actually workable. Hopefully, the man making the announcement – co-producer Paul Lovett of event-planning company Incognitus – does. Besides some logistics experience at high-profile sporting events like the Olympics, the music experience his CV lists is music festivals Beyond the Valley (Australia) and Orlando Calling.

Clearly, that last flopping credit pops out. Now, one sure thing that can be said about the man is that he’s on a mission to make a music festival stick in this city, so cheers to that. But hopefully his key involvement in Orlando Calling means he’s carrying some fresh and valuable lessons about that kind of endeavor here.

Artistically, Moonstone’s not breaking any new or even sexy ground. Look at the initial roster. Besides the Lips and Surfer Blood, it’s a parade of past- and sub-prime talent whose target demographic is a Venn diagram of dads and dudes. Music notwithstanding, though, Moonstone does have some distinguishing aspects. For one, there’s a comedy dimension to it, which will happen on an indoor stage. Moreover, this will be a full-family affair featuring a carnival atmosphere with a midway featuring sideshow attractions and rides. They’re even letting kids in free (under 10 years of age, one per adult), which is way dope for rocker parents.

But taste aside, hopefully Lovett’s team knows the market forces at play because major music festivals are one of the few things to which Orlando’s world-famous hospitality has not historically extended.

The full festival bill will be rolled out in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to for details.


This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

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