Fulfilling a promise more than seven months in the making, Festival Republic promoter Melvin Benn, who has been responsible for festivals at Reading and Leeds in England and Glastonbury in Scotland, stood next to a grinning Mayor Buddy Dyer at the Gibson Showroom on Thursday to announce the lineup for the first annual Orlando Calling music festival, to take place Nov. 12 and 13 at the Citrus Bowl. (Yes, the biggest surprise announcement was the reduction from three planned days to two.)
Benn spent most of his podium time speaking about how much it meant to him to have brought a festival to America, stating that he fully intended to represent the “American cultural experience.” As one of many disapproving voices on Facebook and Twitter in the following hour put it, “1994 called … they want their music back.” It turns out, Benn and Dyer’s vision of “America” is not dissimilar from the one so often draped over headliner Kid Rock’s shoulders.
Skewing older, whiter and, especially on the second day, bluesier, than most expected during the festival’s counterproductive months-long silence, the lineup is sprinkled with a couple of local notables (the Supervillains, Renee & the Translators – who played prior to the announcement) with more promised to come. The youngest act announced, the Killers, also drew the biggest applause, while arguably the fest’s biggest draw, Pixies, received no mention at all. Instead, countless gleeful minutes were devoted to 66-year-old Bob Seger, who will close out the festival on Sunday. “It might be the last opportunity to see him in person,” Benn squealed, as if a retirement bow was precisely what Orlando was crossing its fingers for.
Tickets are on sale now at ticketmaster.com. Admission ranges from $80-$87.50 for a single day to $145-$160 for the weekend.
Saturday, Nov. 12:
The Avett Brothers
Iron & Wine
Jenny and Johnny
The Felice Brothers
Renee & the
Sunday, Nov. 13:
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Kid Rock
Warren Haynes Band
Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Los Lonely Boys
Justin Townes Earle
The David Mayfield