A. Tambunan / Bee file photo

Exquisite Corps, shown performing in 2011, is part of the Launch lineup this year: 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Launch festival: Creatively thinking about keeping talent in Sacramento

Published: Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 - 3:37 pm

Launch festival founders Clay Nutting and Michael Hargis aren’t into clichés about “thinking big” or “thinking out of the box.” The two art and business entrepreneurs do have creative ideas, though, and they aren’t putting limits on which of those inclinations might be accessible to Sacramento audiences.

“We’re trying to build a civic amenity,” Hargis said. “We feel like we have a big heart and we’re keeping young creatives in this city. The only way the city’s gonna grow creatively is if we don’t keep losing people to bigger metropolitan areas.”

At least part of the civic amenity being built by Nutting and Hargis, co-owners of the wildly successful LowBrau brew pub, has become the Launch music and arts festival, which takes to the streets Wednesday with a block party at the MARRS Retail Complex, 1050 20th St. On Thursday the party moves to the Ace of Spades. On Friday, the Launch fashion show drops at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria. Saturday and Sunday are two full days of shows on two stages at Cesar Chavez Plaza. There are also installations and art exhibits including a 10-foot-tall, 27-foot-wide stage backdrop by artists Micah Crandall-Bear, Kim Squaglia and Jose Di Gregorio.

Last year more than 5,000 people attended a single all-day Saturday Launch festival concert, double the previous year’s concert attendance. This year the organizers expect more than 10,000 will attend just the two-day music portion of the wide-ranging festival.

“We expect several thousand more people throughout the week at our other events including the free event at the MARRS building, Thursday at Ace of Spades and Friday at the fashion show. Not to mention all the after-parties,” Nutting said.

More than 40 musical acts will perform. Internationally known bands will come from a wide range of progressive rock and electronic groups, including Rocket from the Crypt, Blonde Redhead, Imagine Dragons and Minus the Bear.

“We’re fans,” said Hargis. “The music we’re bringing in and the things we’re doing, this is stuff we’re excited about.”

Last year he and Nutting brought in ground(ctrl), a locally based direct-to-fan services company with a worldwide profile to help with ticketing and production logistics. This year ground(ctrl) is a full partner that helped curate the performers as well as arrange for the state-of-the-art production services that the live performances require.

“We believe in this, and we believe this is so much more than a music festival,” Hargis said. “We believe that this is something that in years to come we can rally behind as a city. Let’s build things and give people a reason to stay here,” Hargis said.

Call The Bee’s Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder

Read more articles by Marcus Crowder

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