Green lasers slice into the night sky while Ghostland Observatory grooves on stage.
Musicians, artists, stilt walkers and fire dancers mingle at the foot of Bald Mountain. Throbbing electronic dance music shakes the towering lodgepole pines. Hang gliders soar overhead.
Event producer Henry Rennar has some fantastic images in his mind’s eye dancing at the debut MASSV Music & Arts Showcase July 13 and 14 in Ketchum.
Next weekend, they have a chance to become reality.
“It’s going to be a carnival, dude,” promises Rennar, whose day job includes booking bands at Reef in Downtown Boise.
MASSV (pronounced “massive”) will take place in the sort of setting only the Sun Valley area can provide.
“It’s amazing — the backdrop and stuff around it, it’s going to be cool,” he enthuses. “The lasers are going to be off the chain and in the mountains.”
It’s an ambitious, creative undertaking, particularly for a festival that could have vanished in sorrow.
MASSV was conceived as an electronic-music gathering by Boise couple Zack and CJ Peterson. Zack Peterson had asked Rennar to book bands.
But in April, the Petersons were killed in a head-on collision in Oregon.
After the tragic accident, the couple’s families let MASSV’s main investor know they wanted the festival’s plans to continue, Rennar says.
Main acts such as Ghostland Observatory, Beats Antique and Adventure Club already had been booked. Rennar, who describes MASSV as the “brainchild” of the Petersons, then broadened the electronic-music concept. He diversified music genres in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.
“The event has molded into something that was different from the original vision,” Rennar acknowledges, “but we’re still trying to keep that vision.”
In addition to electro-rock music from Ghostland Observatory and world-fusion electronica from Beats Antique, there’s horn-powered funk from Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, hip-hop from Brother Ali and Gift of Gab ... the list goes on. There also will be a vibrant performance-art element to the festival. Aerial silk performer Selkie Hom — who does an acrobatic dance while suspended in the air — will be a highlight, Rennar says.
After MASSV wraps up at 10 p.m. Friday and 11:30 p.m. Saturday, the party will move to Ketchum’s Main Street each night and rage until 2 a.m. with DJs and more bands.
MASSV doesn’t have to draw a gigantic crowd to become an annual event, Rennar says.
“If I can pull 1,000 out of Wood River Valley, 200 to 300 out of Boise, 200 to 300 out of Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, Montana ... we’ll be good,” Rennar says. “We’ll be slated to rock again.”
It’s easy to imagine MASSV’s founders appreciating that. In a tribute to the Petersons, the MASSV website celebrates their passion for music: “Though they will not be able to join us in physical form, we know they will be there in spirit dancing alongside all of us who knew and loved them so dearly.”
HARRY SAILS ON
Harry Lewis — aka Captain Harry from the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” — isn’t ready to abandon ship on his Oasis Event Center near Mountain Home.
The outdoor camping and concert site debuted a few weekends ago with a Summer Solstice Blues & Crab Fest. It wasn’t as well-attended as expected.
As a result, Lewis has parted ways with partner Gruntwerks LLC, producer of Boise’s annual Hyde Park Street Fair. Two previously planned events also have been called off.
Nevertheless, Captain Harry says he will forge ahead.
“I’m an old crab guy,” Lewis says, “and we don’t give up the first time we set a string.”
The free-spirited Neon Oasis Arts & Music Festival (neonoasisidaho.com) is still planned for July 27-29.
And Lewis says he’s putting together a Local Yokel festival Aug. 10-12. The idea of that event is to showcase local musicians — and to keep down costs, one of the lessons learned from the blues and crab festival.
“I’m going to choke it back a notch and try to get my overhead down,” he says. “There’s plenty of local talent right here.”
As you may have read in my Scene magazine column, Pollstar.com, which tracks the concert industry, is reporting that Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform Sept. 28 at the Idaho Center Amphitheater.
The show isn’t confirmed, but it looks like it will happen — and it appears that Shooter Jennings and the Texas Hippie Coalition will be part of the bill.
Organizers had better bring plenty of kegs.
FREE K.D. LANG TICKETS
I’m giving away two pairs of tickets to Canadian singer k.d. lang’s concert July 12 at the Eagle River Pavilion.
Check my “Words & Deeds” blog or Twitter page for details.
Tonight in “The Other Studio” on 94.9 FM co-host Tim Johnstone and I will preview Alive After Five in July, plus listen to a bombastic new track from Muse and a classic from goth godfather Peter Murphy (who is coming to the Knitting Factory Aug. 12.).
“The Other Studio” airs from 9 to 10 p.m. Sundays.
JULY 13 IN SCENE:
Æ One more major Boise event flees to Meridian.
Æ A review of Simple Sushi in Nampa.
Æ Another “Ice Age” hits theaters: How ... cool.
© 2012 Idaho StatesmanMichael Deeds’ column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. Email: mdeeds@ idahostatesman.com. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds