I’m Starting an Art, Film, and Music Fest

Some of you may have heard that I’m planning a Fest. Yes more than an idea at this point, it’s actually happening. I’m finally going to tell everyone about it and describe why I’m doing it.

What is this Fest all about?

The name is Weapons of Mass Creation Fest (inspired by the WMC Art Campaign event that we hosted at Go Media). It’s a two day weekend festival in Cleveland, Ohio that celebrates the art, film, music, and the DIY entrepreneurial spirit. On May 22 and 23 artists, designers, nerds, film geeks, musicians, punks, and hippies will all gather at Go Media’s creative warehouse. There will be film screenings and discussions in the afternoon and punk rock and indie/folk bands performing in the evenings. And an art show featuring some talented artists who work primarily in music and film.

Where did I get this idea?

The past 3 or 4 years I’ve been going to Fests. Mostly punk/folk music fests like Berea Fest, DIT Fest, and of course The Fest. I went to SXSW in 2006 and the Cleveland Film Festival in 2009. All of them were inspiring to me, but not just from a listener/watcher perspective, but from an entrepreneur’s perspective. I love seeing it all go down – how people are gathering together and building a community around something they love. I love the idea of SXSW, how they weren’t just another music fest, but also a film festival and web/tech tradeshow and conference. That’s a pretty awesome event, but it was so expensive and so far away.

A few months ago I was lying in bed awake at night and had an “aha moment.” Why don’t I just create a mini SXSW in Cleveland but do it the way I want on a much smaller scale? Instead of wishing there was a fest that celebrated all the cool things I was inspired by, I would go out and create it. Brilliant! A fest about art, design, film, and music – all based around an authentic and heartfelt DIY spirit. I wanted a fest that would attract people who were into the same stuff.

The Vision

Weapons of Mass Creation. This fest is for creative people who defy the hand they were dealt.

The idea was to celebrate what I value in all forms of creativity: honesty, passion, integrity, authenticity, and emotion. You’ll notice a trend in the movies I see and write about. I’m a realism junkie and documentary lover. Most films I find myself loving are documentaries or fiction told with a documentary aesthetic. I appreciate art, film, and music that expresses the spirit of the creator. The more transparent the work, the more I gravitate towards it. I admire blue collar, hard working people. I admire artists who are bold and bare their souls in whatever medium they choose to express themselves in. I’m attracted to lo-fi, obscure, and the otherwise rejected by the mainstream. I value community, sharing, and positivity and those values carry over into this fest.

What to Expect

The first year of WMC Fest will be small and low-key. Probably 15 of our favorite bands that we’ve established relationships with over the years. I’m going to try to get some of my favorite filmmakers into Cleveland to screen their films. We’ll just be doing it DIY style with a DVD player a projector. It’s going to be like you’re watching a movie with your friends, except the filmmakers will be there to talk about it with you. And artists we’ve met over the years who are involved in this scene will showing their work. The costs of entry will be cheap and fans will be able to interact and mingle with their favorite artists and peers.

What’s Next?

We’re thinking this could be the start of Cleveland’s version of SXSW but that’s a lofty goal and even I’m not even sure I want it to become that big. Let’s just see where this first year gets us. Who’s with me?

Author Jeff Finley

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