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Murmuration Fest, St. Louis’ new innovation festival, announces fall lineup


St. Louis’s first “innovation festival” is starting to take shape.  The multi-focused event, called the Murmuration Festival, has announced its debut musical line up this fall, which will include the electronic jazz project Flying Lotus, electronica group Tycho and the rock band Deerhoof.

Founder Brian Cohen said each act touches the core principle of the Murmuration Festival.

“Some of the bands that we’ve invited integrate technology into their sound, others integrate art into their live show, others are involved in technology and science out of their lives as musicians,” he said.

The announcement highlights an attention shift away from the growing pop charts booking of Cohen’s former festival LouFest in favor of critically-acclaimed acts. Murmuration Festival, set for Sept. 23-25, will include new technologies and public art exhibitions, all-ages interactive exhibits, and local food trucks.

Cohen and Dennis Lower, co-founder and CEO of Cortex Innovation Community, announced the new festival earlier this year. They want it to be much more than just another concert series.

“Some festivals focus on music and art. Others focus on technology and film," Cohen said. " For us to look at music, art and technology, I think is a pretty broad view."

The festival will also feature presentations on robotics, creativity, big data and virtual reality.  Scheduled presenters include representatives of Cirque Du Soleil, Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, and the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, as well as local presenters.

But Cohen said the new event doesn't aim to be another South By Southwest, the huge festival that occurs each year in Austin, Texas.

“It has a very St. Louis-centric feel to it and that will distinguish [it] from other national festivals that happen across the country,” Cohen said.

Festival highlights:

  • The festival’s opening night is free and open to the public.
  • 5 local artists will display work and compete for a $5,000 cash prize and chance to exhibit work at Cortex for a year.
  • A portion of the event is dedicated to St. Louis-specific innovators.
  • New technologies will be the focus of the festival’s Maker Expo, which is described as “Equal parts science fair and tech meet-up.”
  • Saint Louis Science Center and contributors of all ages will work to build a large Rube Goldberg-style machine.

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