Imagine Books and Records announces first annual Imagine Fest

Official line up for Imagine Fest 2016

Official line up for Imagine Fest 2016

 SXSW is just about as played out as going to South Padre Island for spring break. Yet, year after year we somehow end up cruising up i35 straight into the eye of the storm for a day or two until it regurgitates us back out, disorientated off of free barbeque and jager with the same promise we make to our hung-over selves, never again. 

However, over the last couple of years it seems as though the bigger the party gets up in Austin, the more San Antonio is affected by it. With this year alone, SXSW spillovers here in San Antonio have created its own little pandemonium within the music community.

Spearheading that pandemonium is Imagine Books and Records dominating from all the way on the Northwest side of the city. Imagine has been hosting a slew of events on an almost daily basis for years that include events such as Dali’s Mustache and have been known to be the manger in the middle of the night by creatively putting together a show for any passing band. Their latest venture includes putting together a Bandcamp series called “Local Singles” that features one track from various musicians and bands here in San Antonio.

  Last week, they dropped a bomb with a first annual week long music festival being held on the premises of the bookstore called Imagine Fest (IF) that will take place March 13-19.

IF had been a seed planted in the back of owner of bookstore/venue Don Hurd’s mind for quite some time, “We’ve actually been wanting to do a festival here now for three years and we even thought, ‘Wow, should we just go and rent a field somewhere?’,” Don had disclosed to Sobre Sound. “We were going to do it the parking lot the first couple of years, we thought about it. You know, cut off half the parking lot, build a stage, all kinds of crazy stuff. In the end, all of those plans fell through, so we thought… right here. Let’s just do it.”

Elena Lopez of Octahedron performing at Imagine Books and Records - Sobre Sound Archive  

Elena Lopez of Octahedron performing at Imagine Books and Records - Sobre Sound Archive  

Ezra Hurd, who has been the mastermind behind the entire project, explained that they had been working on getting everything together since early January. Imagine will be hosting 35 bands from all over the country that play various genres of music within the indie rock stigma. Their goal is to have five bands play per night seven nights, $7 a night, all starting at 7 p.m. with one of their sponsors, White Elephant Coffee being out there every night selling coffee.

“Basically, a lot of the bands [on the line-up] have played here before in the past but a lot of them are new. We knew a lot of bands would be [contacting us], every year around this time a lot of these bands are in Austin for SXSW and there’s a bunch of spillover. Everyone is geared up for that week (music interactive week at SXSW) and it’s the perfect way to tap in because all of these people are already going to be there and they’re in performance mode. They’re looking for other shows, and they’re starting to look outside of Austin,” Don explained.

On the line up you will see a great mix of local bands from San Antonio such as Grasshopper Lies Heavy, Crown, fishermen, the Lost Project, but what makes Imagine a great venue is the influx of fresh meat they bring in from all over the country that makes the entire event coalesce.  “A lot of it shocks even us,” Don said laughing, “Like oh wow, a band from Chicago wants to play here, oh look here’s one from Florida! We do look to be diverse, it’s a big part of our [his and Ezra’s] conversations.”

The entire process was not without complications of course. However, sometimes complications manifest into the best outcomes. Don and Ezra broke down the diversity for us in the example of the second day of the festival; Monday Feb. 14 that has one of the most unique line ups: Dead Tree Duo out of Austin are self-described as aggressive folk rock, Jupiter Thief from San Marcos plays hip hop, Envision Love is an 8 piece ska group and Sophisticated Puss is an all-girl punk band and the Blind Owls, a group Don compared to the Beatles who hail from Corpus Christi.

The full schedule is:

Day 1- Sunday, March 13
7 p.m. to Midnight $7 Cover All Ages
The Grasshopper Lies Heavy
Vetter Kids

Day 2- Monday, March 14
7 p.m. to Midnight $7 Cover All Ages
Invision Love
Jupiter Thief (San Marcos, Texas)
Dead Tree Duo (Austin, Texas)
The Blind Owls (Corpus Christi, Texas) 
Sophisticated Puss

Day 3- Tuesday, March 15
7 p.m. to Midngiht $7 Cover All Ages
The Lost Project
The Head (Atlanta, Georgia)
Islands & Tigers
Collective Dreams
Harvey McLaughlin & the BottomFeeders

Day 4- Wednesday, March 16
7 p.m. to Midnight $7 Cover All Ages
Lowly Servants
Wolf Tone
Sioux & Fox
Granite Hands
Doral Clvb

Day 5- Thursday, March 17
7 p.m. to Midnight $7 Cover All Ages
Weed (Vancouver, Canada)
The Onyx Humms
More Eaze & Seth Graham
Advance Base (Chicago, Illionis)
Sewer Hero

Day 6- Friday, March 18
7 p.m. to Midnight $7 Cover All Ages
Something Fiction
Velvet Monkey Wrench
They Mean Us

Day 7- Saturday, March 19
7 p.m. to Midnight $7 Cover All Ages
Dome Dwellers (Denton, Texas)
16 Psychē
Dolphin Dilemma

Who knows, in a few years we probably won’t even need to venture into Austin for SXSW with our music community working so hard to house the spillover bands. We’re not a long way from SXSW Spillover becoming its own entity all together.  For more information on the festival, click here