The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday August 9th

Town to Host Sparklefest

And Nicholson said he hopes his goal of orchestrating a successful and unforgettable festival will become a reality when Sparklefest opens at Local 506 on Thursday.

Based on festivals like Los Angeles' International Pop Overthrow and the locally founded Sleezefest, Sparklefest is the sequel to last year's Shindig at Kings in Raleigh.

The festival runs the gamut of music styles, offering a musical slice of pie for almost every taste. Spanning the genres of indie, rock, psychedelia, punk and pop, the bands participating have been influenced by and compared to The Who, Ben Folds, the Barenaked Ladies, Weezer and the Beatles among others.

"The area has a lot of people who are interested in this kind of music," Nicholson said.

While some bands are traveling from locations such as Florida and New York, several bands are local performers.

"There is a conscious effort to bring local bands to the event," Nicholson said.

The festival has been dubbed a celebration of "Power Pop," but musician Mike Warder of The Argument said that such a simple description of the music is somewhat misleading.

"Nobody calls it rock and roll anymore," he said. "Pop is really short for popular. The term can be broadened into anything that can be accessible to a large group of people."

Organizers are expecting a large group of concert-goers, but Local 506 is an intimate, if not small, venue.

"The more intimate setting is going to be beneficial to the artists and the audience," Warder said. "It makes it easier to connect."

But due to the space restrictions and influx of interest -- Nicholson received more than 70 calls for the festival's 21 performing slots -- Sparklefest also is running a sidestage at the Go! Rehearsal Studios on Friday.

Hence, the festival is one of the largest and most comprehensive rock shows to hit the Chapel Hill area.

"This festival is a way to for bands to be seen by people in this area, expand their fan base, and give people a way to see it all," Warder said.

Nicholson decided to take on the task of organizing Sparklefest based on his love for the music that he wishes to share.

"I love this kind of music," he said. "I've played music for 25 years. I have a hard rock, punk background, but this well-crafted, well-written kind of music is the music I always come back to."

Advance ticket requests for Sparklefest have been coming in, some from as far away as the Northeast, Europe and even Japan.

Such widespread popularity not only will help Nicholson achieve his goal of building up the profile of each individual band, but it could increase the festival's drawing power.

"I want to build it year to year so that people look forward to it when the festival returns," he said.

Sparklefest runs from Thursday to Saturday and features more than 20 local and national musicians. Ticket prices range from $5 to $12 -- $25 for the entire festival -- and are available at all Triangle Record Exchange stores. Visit for a complete list of musicians and more information.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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