Interview – Seth Fein (Pygmalion Music Festival)


Just over a fortnight and the city of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, will get a superb festival, called Pygmalion Music Festival. We already gave you the details in our mighty preview (click if you need a refresh session.)

We got in touch with organiser Seth Fein and shot a couple of quick questions, which he generously answered while scrambling to make sure everything is tip top!

1- What is Pygmalion fest? How did the idea happen?

— Pygmalion Music Festival is a multi-day / multi-venue event that takes place each September in Champaign-Urbana, Il. In 2005, after having looked around at a few other small market festivals, I guess I just felt like I’d be able to do the same thing for my town but in a unique way. Because I’d already been putting on my own shows around town, I had good relationships with venues and think that was part of the reason for its early success.

2- Which bands are the “do not miss!” for this year’s edition?

— For me, Kurt Vile and The Violators, Damien Jurado, Caveman and Cory Chisel top the list, but I feel pretty great about Rockie Fresh, Major Lazer, Youth Lagoon and Jenny Hval as well.

3- What’s the general creative community in Champaign-Urbana like? We know there’s a very rich musical heritage there.

 For a community this size, it’s incredible. Because of the University of Illinois, we have so many creative and interesting people moving in and going back out into the world and then retaining their love for the city. It’s a wonderful mix of visual, music, and a lot of IT work as well. It takes creativity to come up with stuff like Paypal and YouTube as much as it does to write albums the way bands so often do.

4- The literary fest looks pretty good. What were your criteria for choosing the writers? Any in particular you’d recommend?

— To be honest, I don’t curate the Lit Fest, so I can’t speak to it: Caleb Curtiss and Jodee Stanley from Ninth Letter were responsible for it, and I am just proud to be able to partner with them.

5- How did the University of Illinois got involved? Did you approach them for this or was it more of a joint idea?

— If this is in reference to the Lit Fest, this was a matter of Caleb approaching Jodee with the idea and watching it come to fruition.

6- The Made Fest – was it about vintage that attracts people to so much?

— Again, this wasn’t me, it was my wife Justine Bursoni and her friend Alexia Brown, but I think the reason why vintage wares appeal so much to people is simply because of the kind of homogenous culture we’re subjected to on a daily basis. Things weren’t made in such mass even 30 years ago, so by comparison, vintage items simply feel unique and exciting.

7- Last but not least: plans for the next year?

Woosh. Let me get through this year and sleep a bit, and then I will start to think about it more. I have some big changes in the works, but nothing I am settled on yet, if that makes sense.

Thank you very much, Seth!

Keep up with more Pygmalion Music Festival news on Twitter.  Tickets can still be bought at the official website.

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