Hosting a music and arts gathering in the middle of the week at multiple venues isn't a unique concept to San Francisco – the Noise Pop festival been employing a similar setup in The City for years.
But such an event featuring unknown international bands alongside established U.S. acts is something new here, and that’s why next week’s Culture Collide may succeeed in an area already rife with arts and entertainment celebrations.
Established in 2010 in Los Angeles by Filter Magazine founder Alan Miller, the Culture Collide festival – debuting locally on Tuesday and Oct. 15 at The Chapel, Elbo Room, Amnesia and Mission Workshop in the Mission – was created to showcase outstanding music groups from across the globe.
“I've always been a travel junkie, so I've been fortunate to witness some pretty amazing bands playing in some pretty amazing scenes all over the world,” says Miller. “From that, this concept came to curate a festival where all these great indie rock bands could play together, and kind of feed off each other. So far, it's been an extremely rewarding experience.”
In San Francisco, 40 bands – selected by a panel of industry-related listeners – are appearing.
“These aren't just random bands we've plucked out of obscurity. They have strong local fan bases because they're all super talented musicians,” says Miller. “It can be real difficult for them to string together and organize a decent U.S. tour, however. This festival allows them to play in front of really nice audiences, who will then hopefully spread the word on what they've seen and heard.”
Miller personally is interested in Kamp!, a Warsaw-based band (playing at 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Elbo Room) and Solander, an indie folk rock group from Sweden (appearing at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mission Workshop). Most of the foreign bands will play during early evening hours, before headlining American groups take the stage at 11:30 p.m.. Cloud Nothings are top billed Tuesday at The Chapel, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, play Wednesday at The Chapel.
“I think it's exciting for these groups, because they're both terrific bands with awesome followings, but they don't usually get to headline festivals,” says Miller. “San Francisco music fans have a well-received reputation for being open to new things,” Miller adds. “This festival will feature some awesome, and really accessible musicians, and I think people here will appreciate that.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Amnesia, 853 Valencia St., Chapel, 777 Valencia St.; Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St.; Mission Workshop, 40 Rondel Place, S.F.
When: 5 p.m. to midnight Oct. 14-15