WestFest announces Sept. 3 headliner 

click to enlarge GREG GIANNUKOS
  • Greg Giannukos

Western Avenue Association’s WestFest free street party and festival returns for its second year noon-10 p.m. Sept. 3 along the shopping and dining corridor.

The event runs along Western Avenue between VZD’s Restaurant & Bar on NW 41st Street and Will Rogers Theatre on NW 43rd Street. Admission is free.

This year, WestFest adds a second outdoor stage, said Rachael Taylor, Western Avenue Association executive director and WestFest chairwoman. What was an indoor acoustic stage last year moves outside to better accommodate crowds and performers.

This year’s headliner is Austin, Texas, folk-Americana troubadour David Ramirez. He has logged more than 260,000 miles as a solo touring artist in the truest sense of the word. Until recently, he toured and performed alone. With last year’s release of his 10-track album Fables, however, he put together a full-time band to round out his songwriting and baritone vocals. He also has opened for singer-songwriter and Americana acts such as Joe Pug, Shakey Graves, Noah Gundersen and Gregory Alan Isakov.

Taylor said WestFest is seeking music acts to fill out its roster with an open call for local bands until May 1. Applications are free and available at westfestok.com.

If last year’s inaugural lineup is any indication, genre selection is wide-open. The 2015 roster included Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Bowlsey, Annie Oakley, Tallows, Gum, Jarvix, LoneMoon, Deerpeople and over a dozen other music acts. More than 120 artists applied, and 19 were selected, Taylor said.

Family-friendly festival

This year’s event promises fun activities and specials from Western Avenue retailers and restaurants, along with food trucks, a youth-friendly play area and outdoor beer stations from Anthem Brewing Company.

Taylor estimated 5,000-7,000 guests filled the Western Avenue corridor for last year’s festival. Organizers expect 10,000-15,000 visitors this year.

Attendees also will notice the benefits of recent district updates such as wider sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares and slower speed limits (25 mph). Western Avenue will be closed between 41st and 43rd streets during the event.

Organizers launched WestFest in 2015 after receiving feedback from district regulars and fans that overwhelmingly supported the idea of a districtwide street party and music festival.

“There are no major sporting events or festivals that weekend, and it’s Labor Day weekend,” Taylor said. “That means we also expect bigger crowds and more fun.”

Learn more about musician, volunteer and sponsorship opportunities and find festival updates at westfestok.com.

Print headline: Western renaissance, WestFest announces its 2016 event headliner and seeks local performers for the Sept. 3 street party and festival.

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