Twangfest kicks off 19th annual music festival at Off Broadway | St. Louis Public Radio

Twangfest kicks off 19th annual music festival at Off Broadway

Jun 5, 2015

(From L to R) Roy Kasten, Lynn Cook and Adam Reichmann
Credit Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Twangfest celebrates American roots, rock 'n' roll and country with its 19th annual festival featuring four nights of performances at Off Broadway.

Beginning June 10, each night of the festival will include performances by 3 bands from a variety of musical genres. Cracker, a band that combines rock, psychedelia, country, blues and folk, is scheduled to headline on opening night, followed by Philadelphia-based band Marah and local folk-rock band Grace Basement.

Vice-president Roy Kasten, who calls the organization a group of “hardcore music fans,” founded Twangfest in 1997.

“We decided to get together and do a music festival, so we did it right here in St. Louis,” Kasten said. “That was in 97’ at Off Broadway and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Kasten explained that Twangfest is unique because all of the organization’s board members are volunteers who organize for the love of music.

This year’s festival runs June 10 – 13 and will feature 3 bands from a variety of musical genres each evening. Cracker, a band that combines rock, psychedelia, country, blues and folk, is scheduled to headline on opening night, followed by Philadelphia-based band Marah and local folk-rock band Grace Basement.

The members of the band Nadine had agreed to reunite after a 10 year hiatus to perform at this year’s Twangfest. Then in April, bassist and singer Anne Tkach tragically died in a house fire in Webster Groves.  Nadine’s lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Adam Reichmann talked about the difficult decision the band members had to make.

“Our first reaction after that was that this was the end [of the band],” Reichmann said of Tkach’s passing. “But after talking to people who know her well, we were reassured that she would want us to go out there and rock. And that’s what we’re going to do.” Nadine will perform on Friday, June 12.

Another highlight of this year’s festival is a partnership with Playing for the Cause, an organization that connects musicians with worthy charities. Lynn Cook is founder and executive director. “We help figure out what kind of causes they love and how they can get their fans to support them as well,” she explained. “[The musicians] can pick any cause they want, from animal welfare to pediatric cancer research care or human rights.”

On three nights of Twangfest, the designated beneficiary is Strings Attached, a program in Ferguson that works with young children to teach them American roots music and provide them the instruments necessary to play it. In memory of Anne Tkach, the beneficiary on June 12 will be Tower Grove Farmers Market where she was a volunteer.

A complete rundown of the bands is available on the Twangfest website.

Related Event

2015 Twangfest

  • When: June 10 – 14, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118
  • More information here and here

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.