Sidepony Express Music Festival played a large part in getting me to Bisbee, and in Bisbee Pride itself. It is also my favorite festival of the year, so I decided to interview Anamieke Quinn, one of the founders.
When is the next festival?
November 13-15, 2015
How long has Sidepony Express Music Festival been around?
This will be the 4th annual
What is your main goal or mission with Sidepony?
The primary mission of the Sidepony Express Music Festival is to stand up for artistic integrity while pushing independent artists to realize their potential and boosting the local economy of Bisbee. We want to highlight underrated artists and create a scenario where they can feed their passion and grow their businesses. We want to expose the musicians to the magical, inspiring town of Bisbee, and in turn, expose the good people of Bisbee to all kinds of new music. We want both Bisbee AND the greater independent music community to bond and flourish. We pride ourselves on finding diamonds in the rough and left-of-center talent. We like to watch them turn into polished gems and cult favorites.
Why did you pick Bisbee?
It is a magical place that has been part of my personal and professional history most of my life. At some point, I started inviting all my friends to come enjoy it too, in a way that made sense for them to justify the trip on their shoestring budgets. I care deeply about that town and its people, as much as I care about all of the musicians that are giving it their best shot out there. I felt they should meet. Since we were already operating the Sidepony Music promotion entity up in Phoenix and the first year was 100% Phoenix-based artists, we called it “Sidepony Express” because we were on the road at the point. I suppose we just refer to ’Sidepony’ as a noun now, though, in reference to the festival itself, which now goes well beyond AZ and includes musicians from all over the country, even international.
What do you like best about the festival?
My favorite part of the festival is the aftermath. I love watching all the connections that people make flourish throughout the year. Bands meet other bands, they tour together. Bands connect with venues, they come back and do their own shows. Bands make friends and fans in the area to support them, they write songs about their experiences there. Local residents tell me how happy they were to discover particular artists and how they listen to their albums and can’t wait for them to come back. The merchants and business owners of the area tell me how much they enjoyed the boost of business and how they can buy Christmas presents for their grandchildren and stuff. It’s pretty awesome.
How do you see Sidepony expanding in the future?
Bisbee is a tiny historic town, and we are already approaching its capacity when it comes to physical infrastructure and volume of visitors. However, each year we improve upon the last in other ways, and add new elements and textures to the overall event. The artist lineup is getting more competitive and while still underground, the caliber of performances is ever-increasing. We also continually get more diverse in our programming. Last year we added some hip-hop and metal acts, and who knows what may come next. Ultimately, we intend to be on the international music festival circuit map and become an annual destination event that is known for its high standards of artistic integrity.
How can people find out more and/or get involved?
It’s one of those things that people just don’t get until they’ve experienced it. Trust me, I’ve explained it til I’m blue in the face, but it makes no difference. People just have to come down and check it out for themselves. As far as getting involved, we are always seeking volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and even have a little internship program for music industry students. People can go to our website www.sideponyexpressmusicfestival.com for details on all those things and find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr under “Sidepony Express”.