Wickerpark Music Festival will be taking place in the Northern coastal village of Batroun on Saturday September 10 at 4:00 p.m.
Wickerpark is a grassroots alternative music festival originating and located in the town of Batroun, Lebanon.
Starting from modest beginnings, Wickerpark has succeeded in becoming a milestone in the independent festival experience in Lebanon. The Festival has accommodated in its 5 years of existence no less than 70 bands, over 100 artists and performers, and an impressive 14,000 attendees.
The location of Wickerpark remains the most unique feature of the festival: it takes place in a massive field next to the founder’s beach house in the coastal town of Batroun (55km North of Beirut).
Wickerpark plays an exceptional role in the dynamics of the alternative culture in modern-day Lebanon. Due to the ever-growing legitimacy of the festival, we feel a degree of responsibility in introducing new sounds within high production standards to our audience. The musical programming of the Festival combines today’s burgeoning Lebanese talents with more established and experienced bands, and often features both local Lebanese artists and foreign guests in the space of one unique, full-blown day of festivities.
For many, Wickerpark is considered to be the most laidback, affordable and rewarding live music experience in the country. As high-quality festivals go, its vision is uniquely singular and utterly accessible.
Festivities are an essential and integral part of Wickerpark, yet the Festival is aware of its duties towards the environment and community, be they artistic, social or economical. We devote particular effort in reaching out to the social and artistic community via NGOs, independent initiatives (showcasing projects that revolve around sustainability, art and activism), and outdoor activities that are aligned with the philosophy of the Festival.
In addition to this, an off-festival program with a diverse line-up takes place throughout Wickerpark weekend, and offers festival-goers the opportunity to experience different facets of Batroun’s locations and vibe.
ARTISTS & BANDS
THE WANTON BISHOPS:
The Wanton Bishops, though a band by every definition of the word, is actually the vision of one very eclectic man – Nader Mansour. A cultural anomaly, considering the fact that he was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, Nader as lead singer is the very epitome of a howling blues man, in the tradition of legendary bluesmen such as RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough or John Lee Hooker. Throw into this mix psychedelic 60’s influences – the culture, literature and music – and a heavy dose of meditative Middle-Eastern Tarab, and you’ve got a wicked brew that very few have seen or tasted before. Supported by his guitar-wielding comrades-in-arms, Eddy Ghossein and Salim Naffah, and other musical mercenary friends on bass and drums, Nader’s vision for The Wanton Bishops is complete.
The Wanton Bishops will be releasing their new EP during this edition’s Wickerpark.
Lumi are a two-piece alternative electro-rock band from Beirut, Lebanon. The band consists of Marc Codsi (former guitar player with Lebanese pioneering rock band Scrambled Eggs) on synthesizers, drum machines and bass, and Mayaline Hage on vocals and guitar. The band first came together in 2005, out of a feeling of boredom and dissatisfaction with the various tellings and retellings of the war in Lebanon and its surrounding areas. Its primary intent was to express more intimate stories, away from overarching narratives, by way of repetitive beats, fractured guitar lines, and distant vocals. Codsi and Hage insist on fabricating a sound that purposely takes a step away from the Orientalist exoticism that their geographic origin might usher them into.
Lumi’s first album, “Two Tears in Water”, was recorded in 2006 with German electronic duo Mouse on Mars. The band has just finished recording its second album at the famous Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal, Canada, under the expert guidance of sound engineer and producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Jerusalem in my Heart).
Safar is an indie-pop Lebanese duo founded in 2013 by Elie Abdelnour (guitar) and Mayssa Jallad (vocals). They are furthermore accompanied by their producer Fadi Tabbal on electric guitar, synthesizers and beats during live performances.
The band possesses a strong and widespread following in Lebanon, gathered over the years thanks to a number of intimate performances marked by singer Jallad’s emotional vocal delivery. Safar’s debut EP “23 Kilograms” was released in December 2014, quickly followed by second EP “Carry-On” in August 2015. The band has been working on some new material (albeit in long-distance fashion since Abdelnour and Jallad live on different continents nowadays), which will be premiered during the 2016 edition of Wickerpark Festival.
Loopstache is an independent Beirut-based electro-acoustic duo formed by Carl Ferneine (keyboards, vocals & electronics) and Salim Naffah (guitars & vocals). Both musicians have been active for quite some time in Beirut’s constantly expanding live music scene, with Ferneine fuelling the ranks of pop singer Aziza’s formation, and Naffah joining blues group Wanton Bishops during their recent European tour.
Gaining hype and momentum thanks to a slew of cover versions released on YouTube in 2013, the band released its first album in July 2014. Entirely consisting of originals, this self-titled album is characterized by funky beats and melodies, groovy chords and basslines, and an overall fun and fresh vibe. Following its successful release, Loopstache went on the road and played the album in a variety of venues and locations, both in Lebanon and internationally. Come 2015, word-of-mouth had seen them playing in Cairo, Jordan, Dubai and Paris.
Loopstache will be releasing their second album by the end of 2016.
Interbellum is a Lebanese “supergroup” of sorts, comprising the impressive talents of singer-songwriter Karl Mattar (Charlie Rayne), guitarist Fadi Tabbal (The Incompetents, The Bunny Tylers), bassist Elie Abdelnour (Safar, Filter Happier) and drummer Pascal Semerdjian (Postcards).
The band first came together in the last months of 2015 to record 4-track EP “Interbellum”. In keeping with the DIY punk-inspired ethos of band favorites such as Minutemen, Mission of Burma or The DB’s, Interbellum recorded most of these songs straight to tape, live in the studio with no cuts or overdubs. In preparation for the Wickerpark Festival, the band is hard at work on its second release, an 8-song affair recorded on 8-track cassette at Tunefork Studios. “Now Try Coughing” will be released in the weeks leading to the festival.
Interbellum’s appearance at Wickerpark will be their last live performance in Lebanon this year, as band members will be scattered in different parts of the globe come the fall. Make sure to catch them!
Filter Happier (formerly known as Banana Elephant) is a five-piece band formed in Beirut in 2013, consisting of Ada Harb (vocals and keyboards), Camille Cabbabe (guitar), Georgy Flouty (guitar and vocals), Elie Abdelnour (bass) and Elie El-Khoury (drums).
As is often the case with up-and-coming Lebanese rock bands, Filter Happier started out by playing acoustic covers around Beirut. They made their live debut thanks to Beirut Open Stage, a music collective intent on providing recording and stage opportunities to young talented Lebanese artists. As Banana Elephant, the 5-piece outfit recorded first single “Dust” as part of the “Beirut Wave Two” compilation. Following this impressive debut, and thanks to the guidance of notable producer Fadi Tabbal (Tunefork Studios), the band’s sound has evolved into a blend of dream pop, art rock and post-rock, combining pop melodies with shoegazing-inspired soundscapes and textures.
Filter Happier’s debut EP “Trying to Rush Everything” was produced and recorded by Fadi Tabbal at Tunefork Studios, and released in the summer of 2016.
ETYEN is Samer Etienne Chami, a Beirut-based musician, composer and music producer active on the Lebanese electronic music scene for a number of years.
With musical influences ranging from downtempo electronica to future bass and ethereal post-rock, ETYEN performs and produces music that speaks to the heart and soul, in a desire to engage the minds and bodies of the listener. Accompanied by a live drummer and bass player, ETYEN translates his electronic material to the stage by blending synthesizers, guitars and vocals, and delivers engaging performances that push the commonly-established boundaries of the electronic pop genre.
Following the release of a track on the “Beirut Wave Two” compilation in 2015, he is presently working on the production of his first album.
Kid Fourteen is the solo project of Khodor Ellaik, a punk musician born and bred in Beirut, whose musical influences include Joe Strummer from The Clash, Suicide’s Alan Vega, and more recently Alex Huang from Dirty Beaches.
From 2010 to 2014, Ellaik was the frontman of punk band Beirut Scum Society and short-lived post-punk/no-wave outfit Friendly Faces. Following these ill-fated experiences, Ellaik adopted a solo aesthetic, using a small assortment of synthesizers and drum machines to shape what became Kid Fourteen’s sound, an impressive blend of punk sensibilities and noise-pop elements. He has performed in several European festivals, including Incubate in Holland and Waveteef in Belgium. Back home in Beirut, he has successfully organized concerts for prominent bands such as Xiu Xiu and Dirty Beaches.
Kid Fourteen’s debut album “Dream Kids Never Sleep” was self-released in June 2016. Physical copies of the album, produced by Lebanese indie label Ruptured, will be available for sale exclusively during Wickerpark Festival.
Ziad Nawfal is a DJ, radio host, music promoter and producer based in Beirut, who has spent the better part of the last 20 years exposing Lebanon and the world to the special local and regional independent music talent on his long-running radio shows ‘Ruptures’ and ‘Decalages’, broadcast from Radio Lebanon 96.2FM.
As a DJ, he started playing music in local Beirut bars in the early 1990s, and has played in some of the capital’s most renowned venues. He is currently a resident DJ in several music venues in Beirut.
In 2009, Nawfal founded independent music label Ruptured with producer Fadi Tabbal (Tunefork Studios). Ruptured focuses on the production of emerging alternative talent from Lebanon and the Middle Eastern region. He also co-manages alternative Lebanese labels Al-Maslakh and Annihaya. Since 2010, he is the managing director of Irtijal, the first and foremost festival for experimental music in Lebanon.
Rami Obeid is a Beirut-based Lebanese Swede, working as a successful music selector and Dj since the early 2000’s. He is also the founder of online platform beirutsbrightside.com and the co-founder of celebrated DJ collective Beirut Groove Collective.
Rami’s mix of musical influences and ability to enthrall a dancefloor until the wee hours of the dawn got him warm-ups and closing sets for some international bangers in and outside of Beirut, including The Herbaliser, Dimitri from Paris, Horse Meat Disco, Dj Food, DJ Vadim, Nickodemus, Captain Planet, The Lo Frequency, Daddy G. and Soul Clap, to mention but a few.
A big fan of early funk, disco and Afrobeat, Rami is always looking for that heavy groove that makes you tap your foot, nod your head, and smile.
In his own words, “Style and genre are not so important for me today. If it’s good it’s good!”
JACK THE FISH
A filmmaking graduate from the Academie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts, Moe Choucair aka Jack the Fish is a sonic enthusiast from underwater Beirut. “The fish takes you on trips with undercurrents of soul and rhythm”.
Moe’s love of music translated into sound design and scores for films. Surroundings affect artistic expression, and the jumble that is the city of Beirut is no exception: a schizophrenic way of mixing and producing; mashing up sounds of soul, jazz, world music with electronica, breaks and 4/4 beats.
In Beirut, he can be often heard playing in Demo and Stereokitchen.
Source: National News Agency