I’m Starting an Art, Film, and Music Fest

Some of you may have heard that I’m planning a Fest. Yes more than an idea at this point, it’s actually happening. I’m finally going to tell everyone about it and describe why I’m doing it.

What is this Fest all about?

The name is Weapons of Mass Creation Fest (inspired by the WMC Art Campaign event that we hosted at Go Media). It’s a two day weekend festival in Cleveland, Ohio that celebrates the art, film, music, and the DIY entrepreneurial spirit. On May 22 and 23 artists, designers, nerds, film geeks, musicians, punks, and hippies will all gather at Go Media’s creative warehouse. There will be film screenings and discussions in the afternoon and punk rock and indie/folk bands performing in the evenings. And an art show featuring some talented artists who work primarily in music and film.

Where did I get this idea?

The past 3 or 4 years I’ve been going to Fests. Mostly punk/folk music fests like Berea Fest, DIT Fest, and of course The Fest. I went to SXSW in 2006 and the Cleveland Film Festival in 2009. All of them were inspiring to me, but not just from a listener/watcher perspective, but from an entrepreneur’s perspective. I love seeing it all go down – how people are gathering together and building a community around something they love. I love the idea of SXSW, how they weren’t just another music fest, but also a film festival and web/tech tradeshow and conference. That’s a pretty awesome event, but it was so expensive and so far away.

A few months ago I was lying in bed awake at night and had an “aha moment.” Why don’t I just create a mini SXSW in Cleveland but do it the way I want on a much smaller scale? Instead of wishing there was a fest that celebrated all the cool things I was inspired by, I would go out and create it. Brilliant! A fest about art, design, film, and music – all based around an authentic and heartfelt DIY spirit. I wanted a fest that would attract people who were into the same stuff.

The Vision

Weapons of Mass Creation. This fest is for creative people who defy the hand they were dealt.

The idea was to celebrate what I value in all forms of creativity: honesty, passion, integrity, authenticity, and emotion. You’ll notice a trend in the movies I see and write about. I’m a realism junkie and documentary lover. Most films I find myself loving are documentaries or fiction told with a documentary aesthetic. I appreciate art, film, and music that expresses the spirit of the creator. The more transparent the work, the more I gravitate towards it. I admire blue collar, hard working people. I admire artists who are bold and bare their souls in whatever medium they choose to express themselves in. I’m attracted to lo-fi, obscure, and the otherwise rejected by the mainstream. I value community, sharing, and positivity and those values carry over into this fest.

What to Expect

The first year of WMC Fest will be small and low-key. Probably 15 of our favorite bands that we’ve established relationships with over the years. I’m going to try to get some of my favorite filmmakers into Cleveland to screen their films. We’ll just be doing it DIY style with a DVD player a projector. It’s going to be like you’re watching a movie with your friends, except the filmmakers will be there to talk about it with you. And artists we’ve met over the years who are involved in this scene will showing their work. The costs of entry will be cheap and fans will be able to interact and mingle with their favorite artists and peers.

What’s Next?

We’re thinking this could be the start of Cleveland’s version of SXSW but that’s a lofty goal and even I’m not even sure I want it to become that big. Let’s just see where this first year gets us. Who’s with me?

19 Comments Short URL ,

19 Responses to “I’m Starting an Art, Film, and Music Fest”

  1. Bashar December 30, 2009 at 2:10 am #

    cool.. can’t wait to see the results. Hopefully I can do one here in Jordan someday soon.

  2. Jeff Finley December 30, 2009 at 2:25 am #

    yeah it’s just up to you and your motivation!

  3. Roger December 30, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    Keep me posted… I’d love to get behind some good festivals around here.

  4. Beth December 30, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Need help?

  5. Liz Hunt December 30, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Count me in ;)

  6. Brad C December 30, 2009 at 11:31 am #


  7. Kyle Steed December 30, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    This sounds awesome.

  8. michael December 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    Sounds rad. Have you decided all the bands yet?

  9. David Silva December 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Hey Jeff! this is so cool. I wish I were local so that I could make it to the event.

    Best of luck to you and hope to hear more about it over as the times nears.

  10. Jeff Finley December 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    Thanks everyone, wow it’s great to have so much support. You really make me want to do it even more!

    @michael, we’ve got a large list of bands we’re inviting, email me if you want the list of who we are thinking.

  11. Jeff Finley December 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    @Beth, yes, I will definitely need volunteers to help out. What are you interested in doing?

  12. vrizo December 31, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a road trip to me! 22 hours woo!

    Also, I like how you’re thinking about SXSW, but sounds like you’re only talking about the expo. Most of the awesomeness of SXSW comes from the people who can’t afford tickets and just flock around outside. That’s where you’ll find the good music and art (dont know about film though).

  13. Jeff Finley January 2, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    @vrizo, yeah I haven’t even thought about. I totally didn’t realize that there’s probably an entire culture of SXSW that goes on outside of the event. That’s pretty cool.

  14. Jeff Dolan January 8, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    Jeff! This is awesome! I love your vision on this. Start small and watch it grow.

  15. Jason Wallace February 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    Hello Jeff, I wish you all the best and look forward to checking this out. A friend of mine gave me the 411 on your event. I have the same vision for an event in Akron.

  16. Jeff Finley February 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    @Jason, interesting – yeah the word is getting around

  17. Sophie Nemethy January 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    I’m excited about this idea & plan on being there… maybe even in it if possible. Keep us posted!

  18. Jason Krieger January 31, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Sounds awesome Jeff. Good luck getting everything prepared :)


  1. WMC Fest Recap: From the Founder’s Perspective – Graphic design tutorials, freebies, & advice by working artists and designers. | GoMediaZine - June 17, 2011

    […] Let’s bring back those artists, but add bands and call it Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Thus the idea was born. Click that link if you want to dig deeper into the values and motives for starting the first […]

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