LouFest | St. Louis Public Radio

LouFest

Festival goers relax in between sets at LouFest 2015
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

The LouFest Music Festival became a St. Louis tradition for the weekend after Labor Day. In the wake of the event’s abrupt cancellation last September, the city’s cultural calendar now has a hole in it. 

With no similar event rising to take its place, fans, musicians and other participants in the St. Louis music scene are left without a signature festival.

LouFest fans didn't get the chance to convene for the 2018 event, when it was cancelled days before it was set to begin. [5/23/19]
File photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Listen Live Entertainment, the producer of the LouFest music festival, has withdrawn a lawsuit charging that vendor Logic Systems, Inc. deliberately sabotaged the 2018 event.

Listen Live canceled the August festival only days before it was set to begin, after major technical vendors — including sound-and-light specialist Logic Systems — pulled out, citing missing or chronically late payments.

The concert promoter had alleged that Logic Systems’ president, Chip Self, exaggerated the festival’s financial troubles in comments to the media, including St. Louis Public Radio, to sabotage the event and launch his own competing festival. Self denies the accusations.

A flotilla of brightly colored umbrellas hang suspended outside of the LouFest Store were used as a common meeting place throughout the weekend.
File Photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Organizers of the LouFest music festival have filed suit against one of its contractors, alleging that the owner of sound-and-lighting vendor Logic Systems sabotaged the 2018 festival and planned to take the event over from its management.

Listen Live Entertainment filed suit on Friday in the St. Louis Circuit Court against Logic Systems and its president Chip Self. The suit alleges that Self made “negative, misleading comments,” exaggerated statements regarding funding issues and suggested LouFest would be cancelled.

Fans at LouFest 2017 basked in tunes and perfect weather. Sept. 2017
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Logic Systems Sound and Lighting, the Valley Park-based company that had been hired to work the 2018 festival, is suing LouFest’s promoter for breach of contract.

In a suit filed last month in St. Louis County Circuit Court, Logic Systems detailed over $70,000 it claims Listen Live Entertainment owes it for work on the canceled festival, plus three other events held earlier in the year.

Logic Systems owner Chip Self said he considered it a “long shot” that the suit will yield a payday. He sued, he said, in part to stand up for other vendors who haven’t been paid for their services.

The Avett Brothers at LouFest 2015
File photo | Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

When the organizers of LouFest canceled the event, the news came as a shock to many, though signs of the festival’s distress had been apparent. The festival’s promoter, Listen Live Entertainment, insisted that everything was fine until the moment it pulled the plug.

The announcement identified several causes including the loss of key sponsors, debt and expected rain. Organizers insisted the festival had been on target “until a bit of unfortunately timed media coverage caused many of our vendors and artists to demand up-front payment.”

Brian Cohen (at left), the founder of LouFest, and St. Louis Public Radio’s Holly Edgell discussed the cancelation of this weekend’s festival.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Like so many St. Louisans this week, LouFest founder Brian Cohen was surprised and saddened to learn that the major St. Louis music festival set for this weekend had been canceled.

“It’s a sad day for sure, for a lot of people,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “I didn’t necessarily see it going down this way – it certainly was a shock to me, and we’ll just have to see if we can find some answers as to why it all happened this way.”

Cohen, who in 2016 sold his stake in the company that organizes the festival, didn’t speculate about possible financial mismanagement or poor decisions that may have led to this year’s issues. But he acknowledged that the music industry is a difficult one where it’s easy to run into trouble.

Festivalgoers explore LouFest 2017.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Local businesses are stepping up to lend a hand to LouFest vendors after the event was canceled unexpectedly this week.

Festival organizers called off the event early Wednesday morning, citing “financial hurdles” and a rainy weekend forecast. Vendors and musicians, many of whom had paid hefty registration fees, were left wondering if they would be able to recoup their costs.

The guitarist for St. Paul Minnesota band Hippo Campus bends to his Fender Telecaster and rocks out. The band brought their particular brand of dance rock to the main stage.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

LouFest isn’t happening. This is a huge blow to the thousands of fans who look forward to the music festival in Forest Park every year.

With the cancellation coming just a few days before the event, fans now have a gaping hole in their weekend plans. Here, in no particular order, are some other arts and entertainment doings that may help ease the pain of a lost LouFest.

Update: We're updating this list with new shows as we're scheduled. Check back for the latest bookings. 

In 2015, LouFest brought a record 50,000 people to Forest Park. 2018 will be a different story.
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 5 at 5:30 p.m. — Music fans, vendors and service providers startled by the cancellation of this weekend’s LouFest in Forest Park are shifting from disappointment to worry as they try to figure out how to recoup the cost of tickets, fees and other expenses.

Festival organizers early Wednesday called off the ninth annual event, three days before it was set to begin. Last year the two-day festival was at full capacity, drawing 32,000 fans each day.

Brit Daniels of Spoon played at LouFest. Sept. 9, 2017
File Photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Update: Sept. 5, 3 a.m. — LouFest 2018 is canceled. Organizers officially canceled the festival early Wednesday morning in a letter citing money troubles and a rainy forecast. Listen Live Entertainment says the ticketing company Front Gate Tickets will be responsible for refunds “while we work to repay our debts.” Visit our website for more coverage as we continue to cover this breaking story.  

Original Story - A week before the annual LouFest music festival in Forest Park, some contractors who were booked to provide essential services have begun pulling out.

Some local firms scheduled to handle stage lighting, sound and additional musical instruments have informed the event’s producer, Listen Live Entertainment, that they will not participate. The firm scheduled to remove trash said it will not be available if it does not receive an overdue deposit. Some cite persistently delayed payments from the promoter.

Among the things on Owen Ragland's calendar are a monthly residency at the Dark Room and a slot at this year's LouFest.  6/28/18
Carl Wickman

Owen Ragland is a musician on the move. In the last year, the 17-year-old pianist, producer and bandleader has played the LouFest in support of local artist Mvstermind, released a debut album plus follow-up EP and launched a monthly residency at the Dark Room

Some of the next items on his agenda include a performance with his quintet at this year’s LouFest and graduating from Webster Groves High School.

He spoke with Cut & Paste about his path to music, which he started at age 3 — and his efforts to fuse elements of jazz, hip-hop and electronic music into a style all his own.

Photo Gallery: LouFest 2017

Sep 11, 2017
Brit Daniels of Spoon played at LouFest. Sept. 9, 2017
File Photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

LouFest 2017 reached another set of milestones, selling out Saturday.

Music Record Shop handled sales of the performers' recordings and provided space for festival-goers to meet artists.

The festival also held its first concurrent art exhibition, overseen by TechArtista. It featured wooden triangle constructions to be repurposed after the festival. Check out our photos of LouFest highlights.

Chuck Berry
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

The annual LouFest music festival will be anchored in part this year by a celebration of St. Louis rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry.

A tribute Saturday, titled “Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry!” will feature musicians from national acts The Roots, Spoon, Huey Lewis, and St. Louis’s own Pokey LaFarge, Bryan Greenberg and Chris Chew. Berry’s grandsons Charles Berry III and Jahi Eskridge also will share the stage. The event will take place on the main Bud Light Stage from 8 to 9 p.m., before headliner Snoop Dogg performs.

LouFest 2016 reflections and surprises

Sep 12, 2016
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Driven by proven talents and entertainers, LouFest aims to capture college students and older folks, too. It succeeds with a schedule that rolls out like tickertape, allowing attendees to easily flow from one concert to the next with no downtime in between. Hang around long enough and you’re bound to find music you like — and have a good time. 

St. Louis musicians pick favorite LouFest performers

Sep 9, 2016
Earlier this year, iLLPHONiCS released a new album titled "Gone With the Trends."
Provided by iLLPHONICS

Updated Sept. 7 with additional information about producing entities. Updated Sept. 9 with audio from St. Louis on the Air.

The seventh annual LouFest will bring hip-hop, rock, and jazz acts to Forest Park this weekend.

LouFest has grown steadily since its debut in 2010 and the last three years have seen a marked increase in attendance.


LouFest announces 2016 lineup

May 24, 2016
Morgan Nusbaum of Bruiser Queen
Provided by Jess Luther

Dance act LCD Soundsystem, country musician Chris Stapleton and singer Lauryn Hill will headline this year’s LouFest, set for Sept. 10 and 11 in Forest Park.

Other scheduled performers for St. Louis’ largest music festival include local acts Illphonics, Bruiser Queen, Karate Bikini, Sleepy Rubies, Foxing and John Henry.

Loufest founder and Cortex CEO launch new festival

Feb 25, 2016
Brian Cohen, LouFest Founder
Provided by Brian Cohen

Brian Cohen, one of the founders of the LouFest Music Festival, is leaving to start a new venture with the Cortex Innovation Community. The new enterprise will be aimed at showcasing various innovative projects from the city’s tech, science, art, and music communities.

Hozier Loufest 2015
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

According to festival organizers, LouFest this year brought a record number of music fans to the event in Forest Park. Promoters estimated attendance for the weekend at roughly 50,000 people. Last year attendance was roughly 36,000. Though attendance was high, people pointed out things they hope will change next year.

Pokey LaFarge
(Courtesy of the artist)

LouFest will present its sixth lineup of platinum artists and hometown musicians and all those in between on September 12-13, 2015. 

Since 2010, LouFest has been a small-town festival drawing big names; it celebrates St. Louis as much as the musicians that come to play here. It puts local names like Pokey LaFarge and Clockwork next to artists such as Hozier, Ludacris, and Billy Idol. And smaller bands with their own core following get a big stage and enthusiastic crowd in exchange for their travel to the Midwest.

Vintage Trouble energized the crowd Sunday evening. 2014
Brian Villa | Special to St. Louis Public Radio

This year's LouFest line-up includes headliners The Avett Brothers, Hozier and Ludacris.

Festival founder Brian Cohen said the brand new line-up takes a cue from last year’s success and draws from a mix of well-known headliners and high quality musicians. The only change concert-goers can expect at this year's festival may be physical layout of the stages. 

The one and only Cake lights up the stage at the 5th Annual Loufest Saturday Night
Brian Villa | Special to St. Louis Public Radio

This weekend an estimated 36,000 people from out of state and the surrounding area gathered in St. Louis for LouFest 2014, the little music festival that could. In just four years, the weekend-long concert has grown so much that founder Brian Cohen partnered with production company C3 Presents to help handle logistics, bring in bigger names and expand concert amenities.

LouFest Returns To Forest Park

Sep 5, 2014
Justin Johnson and William Godfred of Pretty Little Empire perform Thursday at St. Louis Public Radio. The band will perform Sunday at LouFest.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

LouFest returns for its fifth year at Forest Park this weekend.

The festival features big-name headliners Outkast, Cake and Arctic Monkeys, as well as local groups, including Old Salt Union, Big Brother Thunder and The Master Blasters, and Pretty Little Empire.

On Friday, we talked to LouFest founder and organizer Brian Cohen and two members of Pretty Little Empire: Justin Johnson and William Godfred. 

Outkast.com

St. Louis’ LouFest has unveiled its complete lineup for the Sept. 6-7 music weekend.  

Arch City Radio Hour: Ian Fisher and the Present, Tef Poe and Following The Water

Sep 3, 2013
(Courtesy of Abby Gillardi)

Ian Fisher and The Present

Nick Garcia talks about stories from the road with Missouri native Ian Fisher.  We'll also hear Fisher perform a few songs as well.

Tef Poe Revisited

Loufest preview: Pernikoff Brothers

Aug 7, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 7, 2012 - The Pernikoff Brothers, a local St. Louis trio consisting of Tom and Rick Pernikoff and drummer Dan Germain, have had a busy year. The trio released their debut album, “On My Way” in 2011, and have been touring across the country since.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 25, 2011 - After its successful debut both artistically and financially in 2010, LouFest returns to Forest Park this Saturday and Sunday with an intriguing lineup of national acts and up-and-coming St. Louis bands that should have indie music fans eagerly anticipating the coming weekend.

LouFest 2011 lineup announced

Mar 29, 2011
(via Flickr/angela n.)

Last year, LouFest brought the likes of Jeff Tweedy and others to Forest Park in St. Louis. This year, a whole new lineup of acts has been announced for the 2011 event.

Here's the full lineup, as presented by LouFest. For more information, check out the LouFest website:

The Roots

TV On The Radio

LouFest to return for second year

Dec 1, 2010
(Flickr Creative Commons User destroyphotography)

As reported by the Riverfront Times today, musical festival "LouFest" has announced that it will return next year. 

No headlining acts have been announced yet, but a new website was launched today for the event.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 31, 2010 - LouFest is a two-day music festival featuring 18 bands scheduled to run from noon until 10 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 28 & 29, at Forest Park's Central Field.

Yes, a music festival in Forest Park, which has been home to the annual hot air balloon glow and race and in recent years to a couple of one-day wine and jazz events.

 Fans enjoy Alejandro Escovedo on the blue stage on Sunday at LouFest.
Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon

LouFest -- it's a two-day music festival featuring 18 bands scheduled to run from noon until 10 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 28 & 29, at Forest Park's Central Field.

Yes, a music festival in Forest Park, which has been home to the annual hot air balloon glow and race and in recent years to a couple of one-day wine and jazz events.

But a two-day music fest featuring alt-rock bands like Built to Spill, Broken Social Scene, Airborne Toxic Event, Jeff Tweedy and She & Him? Right here in River City ... er, St. Louis?