Megan Neff Previews WRFL’s Boomslang

Megan Neff Previews WRFL’s Boomslang

Download the PDF

By Megan Neff

Rule No. 1 in Gestalt’s Principles of Design: the sum of the whole festival is greater than its parts. October 9 through October 11, WRFL 88.1 FM’s Boomslang Festival makes good of this rule.

Like a meticulous design, this three-day, multi-venue festival will connect the elements of Lexington’s rich cultural community and see them cohere on local and international levels. From fashion to literature to art and, of course, music, all fronts are represented.

As for the sum? Three days and four nights of all-natural, 100 percent good-for-you culture saturation delivered right to your doorstep.

Boomslang will populate almost all available venue space in Lexington with legendary and emerging musicians on the regional, national and international level for one weekend.

The new space at Buster’s Backroom and Billiards will be put to good use. Friday, October 9, German kraut-rock pioneers, Faust, will headline the show. Openers include Mission of Burma, Atlas Sound and Casino Versus Japan.

Saturday October 10, will deliver The Black Angels and their brand of heavy psychedelic rock to the Distillery District. Papa M, Bardo Pond and Disappears will open.

An experimental showcase Sunday afternoon October 11 will feature some of the leading names in modern experimental music, from Bill Nace and Mark Hosler of Negativland to Teeth Mountain and Lexington’s own Hair Police.

Sunday night at Buster’s, Brazilian psychedelic supergroup, Os Mutantes, will take the stage. For a band whose history dates back to the mid-1960s, their influence permeates the genre of psychedelic music to this day. For Brewer, it will be interesting to see the festival’s general theme of psychedelia in something of a reverse chronology.

Rachel Grimes, of Louisville’s critically-acclaimed chamber pop group, Rachel’s, will perform her solo piano works earlier Friday at 6pm in the Second Presbyterian Church.

The list goes on to include openers hailing from every corner of the United States. And then you have to take into consideration all of the after shows, showcasing acts like Louisville’s freak-folk collective, Sapat, and psych-pop troubadour, Kurt Vile.

Other venues that will be showcased during the festival:
DeVassa Bar and Grill; The Void Skateshop; Hop Hop, a newly-opened space in Lexington’s North Limestone neighborhood; Al’s Bar, a hot spot for WRFL shows in the past year; Duncan Park, housing the Community Hip Hop Party Friday, October 9 at 5pm; CD Central, hosting a cookout Saturday at noon

The festival will interweave the musical aspects with art and media throughout the weekend, starting with kick-off events — all of which are free and open to the public —Thursday night.

“Stars With Accents: A Boomslang Literary Event” is at The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. Fans of the written and spoken word should not miss this event, because this is a unique opportunity to see so many great authors performing their own work at a single event,” said Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, host of “Accents” on WRFL and curator of the event.

Thursday night will also see the Boomslang Art Gallery opening and reception at Hop Hop, at which multi-media art from local visual, film and installation artists will be on display.

The Boomslang Carnival will then begin a day and night of full-body sensory onslaught Saturday at noon in Buster’s parking lot.

“We have workshops in drumming and hair/makeup art, a short play, medieval puppet theatre, performances by Klime and the Ford Theatre Reunion, the fashion show, fire dancing, as well as aside show performances such as juggling, block heading, and other feats that boggle the mind,” said Sarah Jane Estes, one of the carnival’s creators.

Estes’ line, Full Circus Beasts, will be featured in the circus-themed fashion show, alongside other designers in the Lexington Fashion Collaborative Group.?

Also Saturday, a Dorkbot D.I.Y. Electronic Music Workshop and Showcase will be held at Hop Hop. And at KET, a showing of Nerdcore Rising, a documentary that traces the lineage of a sub-genre of hip hop that deals with matters of a decidedly nerdy nature.

Though the event is for all intents and purposes homegrown, the inspiration for the festival came from Knoxville, Tennessee. The festival, Big Ears, featured avant-garde musicians who were legendary in their own right, but had made the choice to not make it big. It was a three-day affair that hopped among the city’s venues, all of comparable size to those in Lexington.

Bringing lesser-known artists to the well-deserved light has been a mission of WRFL, U.K.’s student-run radio station, over the course of its 21-year history. But the implications of an event of this magnitude exceed anything in the past.

Boomslang has the potential for putting Lexington on the map as a town with a sophisticated and unusual taste in music, for drawing in touring musicians and artists, and for enriching the cultural landscape of the city.

It will also provide great exposure to burgeoning venues like Buster’s, whose backroom will house around 24 bands in three days, as well as some of Lexington’s other relatively
hidden gems.

“I don’t know if Lexington has ever had a festival like this,” said WRFL’s promotions director James Friley. “It might be the biggest and best music festival here ever, at least for a while.”

Weekend passes are available for $50 (excluding official after parties, which are $5 for festival pass holders and $8 for the general public). Day passes for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be available for $20 each (day pass   holders are eligible for the $5 festival entry for official after-parties the night of their day pass). Tickets can be purchased online at or at Buster’s website at Student-discounted tickets are available at the UK Student Center Box Office and at Buster’s Box Office. 

Info and schedule updates

Thursday, October 8
6:30pm @ The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning presents Stars with Accents All-
Star Literary Event. Readers include Ed McClanahan; Jan Isenhour, Katerina Stoykova,
Rebecca Gayle Howell, Colin Watkins, Eric Sutherland, Donna Ison, Sherry Chandler, Jim
Lally, Leatha Kendrick, David Musella, & James Vincent

7pm @ Hop Hop Art Gallery Opening Reception. Multi-media art from emerging local
visual, film and installation artists. Films include Greg King’s ’Rotating Mirror’, which
features a soundtrack by Rachel’s as well as solo music by Rachel Grimes, Greg
King and Jason Noble. Affordable local art! Cash bar! Local DJs! What else could
you want!? The art will be on display all weekend

10pm @ J. Allen Studio — Self Told Lies and the Cosmic Truth. “Self Told Lies” will
be a performance piece lived out by four collective artists from the local supergroups
Everyone Lives Everyone Wins and Ghost Affirmation

Friday, October 9
5pm Alltech Fortnight Festival presents … Rachel Grimes and Sound/Vision at 2nd
Presbyterian Church. $6 general public, included with Friday or weekend pass
5pm FREE Community Hip Hop Party! Lushlife/Kuntry Noiz/Fidel Hasflow, Miss Cass
and more at Duncan Park

7pm @ Buster’s Backroom stage: WRFL DJs; Parlour; Mission of Burma; Faust;
Casino Versus Japan; Atlas Sound; Excalibrah, Good Posture Club, Caboladies, Tiny
Fights, and Peaking Lights

Midnight After Parties ($5 at door w/ festival pass; $8 general public (all ages): The
Butchers at The Void; Sapat / Zak Riles at Natasha’s; Attempt, Big Fresh, DJ Dave
Farris at Al’s Bar

Saturday, October 10
Noon Cookout and in-store show at CD Central w/ Wussy and The Rainjunkies
Noon – 11 pm Boomslang Carnival at Buster’s Parking Lot feat. local art bazaar,
sideshow tent, a circus-themed fashion show, Passionfire, free lessons, games,
medieval puppet theatre, and gorgeous dancing ladies

1pm FREE DorkBot DIY Electronic Music Workshop & Showcase at Hop Hop

5pm FREE Everyone Lives Everyone Wins Sonic Experiment at Hop Hop Garage

6pm Nerdcore Rising: a documentary following MC Frontalot at KET

6pm: Buster’s shows: Papa M; Bardo Pond; Disappears; The Black Angels; Burning
Star Core: Ga’an; Ford Theatre Reunion

Saturday after parties ($5 at door unless otherwise noted): These United States &
Invaders at Al’s Bar; Pseudo Slang & Lushlife DJ set at Devassa; Quote at Natasha’s

Sunday, October 11
2pm Experimental Showcase at Buster’s w/ Bill Nace, Hair Police, Teeth Mountain

4pm Mark Hosler’s “Adventures in Illegal Art” w/ artist offthesky

Early Evening Carnival Activities will include March Madness Marching Band,

Rakadu Gypsy Dancers, Sacred Fire Circus, and live music from Fuma

6pm Alley Cat Bike Race! Registration at Natasha’s

7pm Buster’s Backroom: Pezhead; Strangers Family Band; Os Mutantes

11:30pm Kurt Vile and the Violators w/ Tight Leather and Bedtime at Al’s Bar