A movie titled Dazed and Confused seems unlikely to inspire focused event planning, but for LexEffect founder and president Kaelyn Query, watching it did just that.
The earliest ideas for MoonTower Music Festival, which will be held in Lexington Aug. 29, came from that viewing. LexEffect, a locally based event management company that has contributed to festivals across the country, will host the event at Masterson Station. The second year festival lineup includes Moon Taxi, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, The Weeks and more.
The concept of the festival is Query’s, but qualities like the name came from friends while watching the movie.
“There’s a scene where they talk about going to the moontower,” Query said. “There’s a party at the moontower and they say, ‘Everyone’s going to be there.’”
The moontower stuck, and the festival was named. One friend is a graphic designer who designed the festival logo. The other decided on the festival’s color scheme, and that quickly, MoonTower Music Festival became an actuality.
“The whole thing was all said very lightly,” Query said. “‘Wouldn’t this be cool, wouldn’t it be fun..’. Then all the sudden we were planning a music festival.”
There were many reasons to be proud of the event’s inaugural year, according to Query. A goal to sell out the event at 1,200 attendees came just short as over 1,100 attended despite limited marketing. Query said it felt awesome getting that attendance from word of mouth.
Seeing the surprise on so many faces at the event was Query’s proudest moment.
“When you’re doing something new, people look at you like, ‘OK, sure. You’re going to do a festival in Lexington, yeah,’” Query said. “I think they expected a stage to roll in on the back of a tractor, a plug and play kind of amp system from a music shop. I don’t think they quite knew what we were bringing to the table.”
Fans not only showed up – they wanted to help make it better. A survey was given to those in attendance, and 86 percent responded. Few comments were negative, but creative suggestions were an abundance. Asking for a larger beer selection, finding ways to know about the festival sooner and spreading the word through the area were top requests. This year Query and the LexEffect team have taken initiative to serve these wishes.
An increased local approach will be taken for the second year. Beverages will be served from nearby breweries including West Sixth, Country Boy, Ethereal and Kentucky Ale as well as Old 502 Winery’s wine slushies.
The event planners have also made an effort to make the festival’s presence known this time. Pop up events for the event are hosted at local breweries every other Thursday in June, and each Thursday through July and August. The events offer free tickets, t-shirts and merchandise to those in attendance.
Connecting with the fans in these ways helps the festival’s planners know the audience, according to Query. A similar approach is taken when creating a music lineup. Fans were asked through social media and email what acts they would love to see. Query said there is an emphasis on having a variety of genres for people to come and enjoy, but above all LexEffect is there to serve the fan’s interest with the festival.
“I’m not the one buying the ticket,” Query said. “I want what the guest wants.”
The event planners hope to make the festival unique by strongly connecting with its community and accommodating a variety of music fans, according to Query.
“We want people to come every year and say, ‘That was awesome. I had so much fun. I cannot wait until next year,’” Query said.
MoonTower Music Festival will be held August 29 at Masterson Station in Lexington. For more information, visit the festival website here.