Columbia’s in a festival spirit

05/18/2012 12:00 AM

05/17/2012 2:33 PM

FESTIVE COLUMBIA: Columbia will learn if it can sustain a three-day music festival once again.

The Famously Hot Music Festival, which was announced last week, will be held August 24-26 in Finlay Park. The last three-day outdoor event in Columbia was the 3 Rivers Music Festival. After seven years the festival ended in 2006, which I thought was easily its best year.

A comparison is inevitable, but The Famously Hot Music Festival is indeed different. Whereas 3 Rivers had various music genres represented daily, Famously Hot will focus on a single genre each day — electronic dance music, or EDM, Friday; rock on Saturday; and Sunday it’s country.

“I like the idea of appealing to different audiences with different musical tastes,” said Dave Stewart of SS Productions, the festival’s organizer. “We wanted to be able to focus on a particular type music and give people what they want to hear.”

Stewart is host of “The S&M Morning Show,” WARQ-FM Rock 93.5’s morning program, but this isn’t a radio station event.

3 Rivers booked headliners such as OutKast, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Widespread Panic and Ludacris. Famously Hot is aiming high, but SS isn’t trying to break the bank.

“If you’re not in L.A., you don’t have a budget to get the big, heavy hitters,” Stewart said.

Unlike 3 Rivers, Famously Hot won’t have hip-hop on the schedule. Stewart has booked some performers, but he wouldn’t reveal them on the record because contracts haven’t been signed. Ticket prices won’t be set until the lineup is confirmed.

Stewart did say there will be five performers each day. The festival will run from 2-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Charles Wilkie is assisting Stewart with booking and Brad Crouch with staging. When asked the festival’s budget, Stewart wouldn’t divulge the amount. But he did say his company is taking the risk and, unlike 3 Rivers, not using any city money. (Columbia City Council approved the festival last week.)

Why take the risk?

“I think Columbia is a good music town, and I’m hoping the people will come out to support it,” he said. “Our fingers are crossed. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.”

School will be in session, and it’s the last weekend before the football season begins. For more, visit

FESTIVE COLUMBIA 2: The Famously Hot Music Festival isn’t the only festival on the city’s entertainment radar. Here are three more.

Cola-Con: The hip-hop and comic book celebration will be held Oct. 5-6 at the Columbia Museum of Art. Phife from A Tribe Called Quest is a scheduled performer. A discounted, two-day pass is available for $35 through June 8. A pajama dance party will be held May 25 at 701 Whaley to raise money for Cola-Con;

Columbia Hip-Hop Family Day: It will be held in September, and it will be outdoors. That’s all the information one of the organizers, Shekeese Tha Beast, would share with me.

The Jam Room Music Festival: The festival, to celebrate 25 years of music recording at the Rosewood Drive studio, will be held Oct. 13 on Main Street.

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