When it came to picking bands for this weekend’s ICT Fest, Matthew Clagg said he followed his own tastes.
“Honestly, man, I booked these bands because they all are bands that I want to hear,” he said. “It’s just lucky that everybody else seems to want to hear them, too.”
Actually, there was a little more to it than that.
Clagg put up a poll on Facebook that about 21,000 people saw to find out which performers people wanted to see.
“Basically, everybody in the top 10 made it” onto the festival bill, he said.
Headlining this year’s festival are SSION and Pictureplane, both of which are based in Brooklyn and fit what Clagg calls the experimental electronic music genre.
“It’s kind of the big thing right now,” he said. “They’re definitely the biggest bands the ICT Fest has had.”
Altogether, there are 35 bands or performers on the schedule — 15 local and 20 from out of town. Clagg says the Minneapolis-based STNNNG is another band with lots of fans here, while Spirit of the Stairs, Powerlifter and Francis Moss are local bands with strong followings.
The ICT Fest was started eight years ago by Dan Davis, a local musician and friend of Clagg’s. Several people have taken on the task of lead organizer in past years. Clagg said he’s attended the festival but hadn’t played much of a role in its operation until this year.
“I kind of took it over with (Davis’) blessing,” he said.
Once he did, he found it to be nearly a full-time job — on top of the job he holds as marketing and communications director for the Society of Decorative Painters.
“Fortunately, it’s something I love,” he said.
As opposed to focusing on one style of music, which the festival occasionally has done in the past, Clagg said he tried to book as many genres as possible, from punk and DJs to noise rock, garage bands and psychedelic music.
“This year, we wanted to open it up,” Clagg said. “We wanted to bring together all the different communities.”
The festival will be Friday and Saturday at the WSU Shift Space Gallery in downtown Wichita. Most bands will alternate playing 25-minute sets on one of two stages set up indoors and outdoors; the headliners get 45 minutes. Clagg said the 500-person capacity is just the right size for people “to feel like things are happening constantly.”
In addition to music, there will be a community art project in the form of a huge canvas that people can paint or draw on, a full bar and several food trucks.
Clagg recruited more than a dozen businesses to sponsor this year’s festival, helping pay for some of the bigger out-of-town groups, while ticket sales will cover the rest of the cost.
“It’s just about having fun and bringing the community together,” he said. “We want to get the bands out in front of people and the businesses out in front of people. And everybody is going to have a good time. Those are our three goals.”