More than 15 entertainers will be performing at the Freeway Music Festival on Saturday, April 2, and this year promises to be more eclectic than ever.
“This year we’ve upped our ante,” Music Farm co-director Trae Judy said. Performances include national, regional and local bands, orchestras, theater and dance troupes. The headliner is hip-hop bluesman G. Love, born Garrett Dutton, and his band Special Sauce.
“I’ve been booking him for 15 years. Gary’s a friend of ours, and music education is definitely dear to his heart,” Judy said.
Dutton also will be working with Freeway Music students the day of the festival, Judy said. “He just loves to play. And I think he’ll transfer that into some of these kids.”
The event’s main purpose is to raise funds for musical scholarships for children who would not otherwise be able to afford private lessons. Freeway Music is a music school with five locations in the Midlands. The festival is in its fourth year and will be held at three stages at Music Farm Columbia and Tin Roof. Last year’s event raised over $11,000.
For Judy, the best part of the festival is giving Freeway Music students an opportunity to perform.
“They’re getting to perform with professional production and get to see what it’s really like doing a show. They’re learning to swim.”
Music Farm stage
7:15-8 p.m. The Reggie Sullivan Band: Rock and soul merge in this band’s high-energy shows.
8:15-9 p.m. The Bones of J.R. Jones: Toe-tapping, bluesy folk.
9:15-10:15 p.m. G. Love & Special Sauce: Garrett Dutton, aka G. Love, and his band Special Sauce have an energetic hip-hop blues sound. His latest album, “Love Saves the Day,” came out in October on Jack Johnson’s label, Brushfire Records, and features collaborations with Lucinda Williams, Citizen Cope and David Hildago of Los Lobos. G. Love also is known to casually play his guitar around town before a show, so watch for him in Columbia.
Tin Roof stage/SceneSC stage
Noon-2:15 p.m. Freeway Rockband Showcase: Rock ’n’ roll from Freeway Music students.
2:15-2:45 p.m. Ropeswing Marathon: Electric rock band and this year’s Battle for St. Pat’s winner.
3-3:30 p.m. Human Resources: New wave dance-rock with a pizza obsession. (The band’s latest EP is called “Pizza Dreams.”)
4:30-5:15 p.m. Post Timey String Band: A blend of folk, ragtime and blues that is by turns quirky and serious.
5:45-6:30 p.m. She Returns From War: The folk songs from She Returns From War’s Hunter Park are at once effortless and intense.
7-7:45 p.m. Beach Tiger: Indie pop with an ethereal groove and plenty of synthesizers.
8:15-9 p.m. The Restoration: This conceptually complex band weaves historical fiction into its narrative folk-rock tunes.
Noon-3 p.m. Freeway Music Showcase: An acoustic set performed by Freeway Music students.
3:30-4:30 p.m. Southeastern Piano Festival performance: Featuring pianist Susan Zhang, a Freeway teacher and 2005 Piano Festival prizewinner; 2005 Piano Festival participant Luke Fang; and 11-year-old piano prodigy Angelina Zing.
5:15-5:45 p.m. Trustus Theatre’s “American Idiot”: A group of actors from Trustus’ upcoming play “American Idiot” will perform several songs from the musical (based on the Green Day album of the same name) including “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Holiday” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” In between songs, they’ll perform improv comedy.
6:30-7:15 p.m. Flat Out Strangers: This band calls its sound “American Gypsy Swing,” which focuses on Prohibition-era classics and The Great American Songbook.
7:45-8:30 p.m. Prettier Than Matt: Lively folk-rock with a ukulele to boot.
Throughout the day: The Columbia Marionette Theatre will have puppeteers walking around in costume to entertain young kids. There also will also be bounce houses. Food trucks will be on the premises to serve attendees.
If you go
Freeway Music Festival
When: Noon Saturday, April 2
Where: Music Farm Columbia, 1022 Senate St.
Cost: $5 children, $25 general, $99 VIP