By Andrew BrussJune 20, 2012
Catalpa NYC is taking Randall’s Island captive this July with performances from artists ranging from The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, and Girl Talk, to Matisyahu and Umphrey’s Mcgee. The tri-state area is notorious for being a Bermuda triangle of sorts when it comes to music festivals as festivals in New York tend to disappear (All Points West anyone?). With this in mind, Glide caught up with the festivals promoter, Dave Foran, to discuss how the festival came to be, what he aims to accomplish, and how he hopes it will look in 2013.
What was the inspiration for Catalpa?
The basis of establishing Catalpa is to fill what I saw a void for a large-scale outdoor music event in NYC filled with substance and character. In my eyes NYC is a very savvy market and people are looking for something beyond the ordinary with events like this and that is exactly what I am trying to achieve with Catalpa.
It is an event striving to go further and push peoples' normal expectations of a music festival. I am really trying to warp peoples idea of what an event like this can be and this is achieved not only through a great music line-up and the best of basic elements but also a very strong emphasis on site artistry, aesthetics and experience based elements that aim to take people out of their normal city life and turn it upside down for a weekend!!
Elements such as "The Church Of Sham Marriages" (see attached image) where we will have a pimp pastor conducting sham marriages throughout the weekend. We even have two couples getting legitimately married during the festival in this church, complete with wedding dresses, father walking down the isle etc. I have definitely never heard of that before at a festival!! Other ideas such as the Afterburner tower that will house DJs and shots 30ft flames from its peak or the private cabanas with hot-tubs in the VIP area are just some examples of the creativity and elements that we bring to push the overall experience
How long has this festival been in the making?
During 2010 I simply saw a huge gap for a very well done, large and comprehensive music festival in NYC. Chicago has Lollapalooza, Cali has Coachella, Austin has SXSW and ACL but the best city in the world did not have a solid destination festival to call its own.
What demographic do you expect will be attending this festival? Do you think folks will travel from around the country or are you anticipating a tri-state audience?
I see Catalpa catering to a slightly older professional demographic that will appreciate the heightened experience we are providing and the artistic nature of what Catalpa is striving to be. Catalpa is not a rave trying to pack in as many 16 to 21 year old kids as possible with nothing provided except DJs and loud speakers!
I think in the first year of any festival it is difficult to attract people from all over the country so in year 1 it will be predominantly people coming from the tri-state area and New York City itself. I really feel however that a lot of traction will gather from the after marketing and reporting of the experience based elements and artistry we are bringing to the event. This is something that is very hard to advertise in year one but almost builds a life of its own once people have actually experienced it.
What can Catalpa ticketholders expect that they wouldn’t get to experience by going to one of your competitors?
This is very much answered above but to reiterate it is a higher level of experience and visual overload that will set this festival apart.
At the same time though, I don’t want to distract from the fact that Catalpa has without doubt the most comprehensive music line-up of any NYC event this summer.
Are you planning a Catalpa 2013?
Absolutely, and for it to be bigger! The idea is for Catalpa to be here for a long time!
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t provided you with an opportunity to discuss?
I am confident people will walk away from Catalpa with memories of not only mind blowing live performances from some of the world's hottest artists but also of the unique side experiences they went through during the course of the weekend.
The way I look at it, if people don’t walk into the Catalpa Festival site and think, "What the hell is going on here?!" then I will have failed in what I set out to do!!!