Celebrating 20 years of the beautiful bohemian atmosphere of the Music is Art Festival | Music
“It’s my favorite day of the year every year. And this year even more.”
Music is Art founder and Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac smiled broadly as he said the words on Saturday afternoon, showing no visible signs of having just jumped off a plane from New York – his final leg of the current Goo Goo Dolls tour before a short break – and we headed straight to Buffalo RiverWorks, home of the annual Music is Art festival.
“I sleep like two hours and I’ve never been happier,” laughed Takac, then ran off to mingle with the congregation, stopping for selfies with fans and being what he’s got. been for the past 20 years – the heart, soul and face of the MiA Festival.
For MiA’s 20th anniversary, the weather gods smiled down on Takac and his team, delivering one of the finest days of the shrinking summer. Fans responded in kind, flocking to the event as the gates opened at 11 a.m., and by late afternoon swarming freely onto the pitch in impressive numbers, taking into account the wide array of musical offerings which, at the end of the day, total performances by more than 200 bands and artists on 21 stages.
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The festival took up the entire grounds of Buffalo RiverWorks, with stages spread throughout the interior, rock garden and ruins adjacent to the venue, the surrounding abandoned silos, and the exterior of RiverWorks along the Buffalo River. Activity has also spread to the river, with several stages and a vendor village occupying Buffalo RiverFest Park, accessible by a Tiki Bar-themed shuttle boat, or on foot, across the Ohio Street Bridge. .
MiA Fest veterans – I count myself among them at this point, having only missed one of the last 20 – know that it’s not possible to see, hear and experience everything that happens. during the 12 o’clock party. It’s best to sketch a vague outline for yourself, then go out and walk around.
Even during the early hours of Saturday’s celebration, one could listen to a classy blues ensemble from Rockabilly Steve & the BR3 on the Wharf stage, cross the river to hear searing alternative rock from the security meeting on the GCR audio stage to RiverWorks, hear the final minutes of singer/songwriter Ryan Kaminski on the Tailgate Stage, indulge in the celestial harmonies and gospel-tinged soul of Jay Aquarious on the Patio Stage, bathe in the deep soul of Cordz on the floating stage on the pier behind RiverWorks, and always return to RiverFest Park for a full set of deeply funky live drum ‘n’ bass performed by drummer David Wazik and bassist Andy Paladino on the Blossom Village Bandshell Stage.
And at this point, the festival was just getting started.
It all seemed a far cry from the MiA Festival’s beginnings in 2002, when a dozen bands and performers occupied two stages and a small community of performers and vendors near the corner of Franklin and Allen streets. And yet, at the same time, the MiA vibe has remained largely unchanged 20 years later.
This vibe is beautifully bohemian, a sense of community that freely welcomes daylight hippies, black-clad goth heads, and everyone in between. From the beginning, MiA Fest has felt like the biggest day of the year for Buffalo’s arts community, a chance for us to come together, celebrate our diversity, marvel at our endurance, and let loose. to feelings of gratitude.
It has been a vibrant and jubilant couple of decades for Music is Art. Here are the next 20 years.
Photos: The 20th Annual Music is Art Festival