There is a new type of arts and music festival coming to Western North Carolina—and it isn’t just another hoedown.
Dubbed WHEE! Fest, local musician and event organizer Ian Brown has booked the festival for Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. - Aug. 28 at 12 p.m. at the Avant Garden organic farm on Tracer Lane in Cullowhee.
In essence, WHEE! Fest is a weekend outdoor festival with local and national underground musical performances, entertainers and regional vendors and artists. Festivalgoers may set up a campsite on Aug. 26.
Canned goods and donations collected at the event will go to Sylvabased food pantry The Community Table, one of seven hunger relief agencies in Jackson County. A portion of the proceeds will go to REACH, a shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
What kind of underground music will be there? WHEE! Fest has a lineup consisting of electronic, acoustic, reggae and rock performances, explained Brown.
“We want this to be a positive thing. There isn’t a whole lot of exposure for a lot of this music around here,” said Brown on Monday. “It’s all about the love. We want to make a difference in this community because it has been good to us.”
The idea for the event came when Brown, dubstep musician formerly of Atlanta, was performing at the Sylva-based bar Bone Shack.
“Once the students from Western came in I started playing it and the kids just went wild. This is something that is starting to blow up all over and it’s only a few years old,” he said. “It can take off here to the point where we could have a real music scene for [young people].”
Dubstep, which has its roots in the United Kingdom electronic dance scene, is a genre of music heavily influenced by drum and bass and two-step. The bulk of the music, largely dubstep, will be performed on Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Festival-goers can also enjoy onsite tubing down Avant Garden’s private creek, roving fire breathers, massage therapy, food vendors, art and hula hooping.
Organizers also hope to educate visitors about local and worldwide sustainable development and organic farming techniques at the event.
Brown and his girlfriend Kelsey Muzik have largely funded the event on their own, and strive to make the festival family friendly and educational. “This really is supposed to be fun for everyone,” he said, adding that there will be zero tolerance for any littering or drug use, as enforced by security.
Tickets are available at the gate for $15 for anyone 21 or older and $20 for persons under 21. Those who bring canned foods will receive a $5 discount. Presale tickets are available for $10 at The Boneshack on Womp Womp Wednesdays. There is a $5 daily fee and $8 fee for two-day camping per tent or camping spot.
August 27 lineup
11 a.m.: Austin Hughes (Cullowhee, NC) Acoustic
Noon : Nancy (local favorites!) Jam
1 p.m.: Prophets of Time (Sylva, N.C.) Rock and Roll
2 p.m.: The Electrovibe (Charlotte, N.C.) Electronica
3 p.m.: I.R.E. (Atlanta, Ga.) Reggae
4 p.m.: DJ Story (Asheville, N.C.) House
5 p.m.: Arkanix (Denver, Colo.) Dubstep
6 p.m.: Brad Bitt (Asheville, N.C.) Glitch Crunk
7 p.m.: D BUTTS (Huntsville, Ala.) Dubstep/Drum and Bass
8 p.m.: Mantis (Atlanta, Ga.) Deathstep
9 pm-11 p.m.: GalaxC Girl (Asheville, N.C.) Audio/Visual Bass
Late Night Afterparty
Chris Cundari (NYC, N.Y.) Acoustic Guitar/Live Electronics
The Electrovibe (Charlotte, N.C.) Live Electronics
Pariah & Stigma (Cullowhee, N.C.)
Dubstep/Moombahton/Electro tag team
WHEE! Daytime-headliners are the reggae band I.R.E.
After dark is owned by Asheville native GalaxC Girl bringing a full audio/visual experience and a genre-bending bass assault.
Coming from Atanta, Mantis is a two man producer/DJ duo melding elements of heavy metal, crunk, and dubstep.
Arkanix is a DJ from Denver, Colo., and plays a wide range of ambient dub step.
Pariah and Stigma are local favorites who now host the weekly Womp Womp Wednesday party in Sylva, at the Boneshack. When the dynamic duo gets to work it's a genre bending exploration of EDM.