If there’s any way to attract a big turnout for fans of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, it’s holding a four-day, carnival-esque festival with promises of a puppetry, acrobats, a beer garden and a farmer’s market. And fans of the hippie rockers will get all of this and more under a traditional Big Top at Los Angeles State Historic Park October 17-20. This final date even includes a matinee for the kiddies.
Frontman Alex Ebert said that the festival will serve as a way to better connect the performers with the audience, a part of the live performance he believes is lost from the modern tourning band’s agenda.
“These days a band is a fast machine, cramming in dates, cutting fat, making the most money it can. Far gone are the ancient days of the traveling troubadours, lingering in towns, meeting the people, entertaining for days,” Ebert said. “If you tour, or you have been to a ‘professional’ show, you may have had the sense that something is missing from the experience. And so, here comes the idea of Big Top – a one-off experiment in reaching for a more colorful, soulful, way to tour.”
The days of the festival will be filled with film and art installations picked by the band, as well as a collection of vendors, artisans, and charities. The nights will be full of eccentric performances of music, vaudeville comedy, and interactive performance art that will all take place in a performance tent. The tent will have 360 degree tiered seating, which will add a very circus-like feel to the intimate performances.
Festival favorites since its inception in 2007, Edward Sharpe & Co. have been no strangers to unorthodox touring experiences. In April 2011, the band toured the country from San Francisco to New Orleans by way of century-old railcars with friends Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show, which was documented in the film, “Big Easy Express.” They will join both bands again on the Mumford-led “Gentlemen of the Road” tour, where the folk rock power houses wil put on huge performances in what are usually small sleeper towns and cities.
Tickets for Big Top will go on sale Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. PST.