Above image: Instant Karma performs before Crossroads Music Fest on Friday night at Vinyl Renaissance, and Saturday night at The Brick for the festival. | Photo submitted by artist
With more than 50 acts across 12 stages, the 13th annual Crossroads Music Fest will have something to satiate any musical palette — from the classic country-influenced sound of Sara Morgan to the uke hip hop of Eems, and the caustic rock and roll of The Safes from Chicago.
And while CMF is all about the music, the curators (our friends at KKFI 90.1 FM) have planned a few extracurricular activities for the event. Here are five things to do at the festival.
1. Take the Early Train
The festival starts on Saturday, but if you want to get the party started early, head over to Vinyl Renaissance in Overland Park on Friday night for a free CMF showcase. The free, family-friendly event features three artists who also perform on Saturday: country songwriter Brad Cunningham, My Oh My! frontman A.M. Merker, and psych/soul group Instant Karma. It’ll also be your last chance to get presale pricing on GA and VIP tickets for the festival.
2. Take the Whole Day
This year, CMF is offering entertainment for the entire family. Starting at 11 a.m., the parking lot south of Josey Records will be bustling with wares from local makers and sponsors, along with a children’s area. You can also take in a day party a few steps away, inside Josey Records or just across the street at Brewery Emperial. The day parties are free and open to the public, beginning at noon.
3. Take Care of Business
Ready to set your music career in motion, but not sure where to start? From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the MixMaster Music Conference will bring seasoned artists and industry professionals (including yours truly) to The Living Room to engage in panels and workshops on goal setting, promotion, artistic development and much more. Artists will also have an opportunity to share their experiences and music with industry experts, and receive immediate feedback. Tickets are available.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Check your vitals between MixMaster panels at the free musicians’ health care clinic, also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Living Room. Presented by Midwest Music Foundation and the RockDocs — a partnership between the University of Kansas and the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County — the clinic is open to anyone attending the festival on a walk-in basis. If there is a line, priority will be given to musicians. The clinic will offer screenings, wellness programs, informational sessions, chair massages and more. Visit this link for more info.
5. Take it to the Streets
The Marching Cobras have been a Kansas City staple for almost 50 years now; the esteemed drill team regularly performs in halftime shows and parades across the nation. They’ve also become a joyous part of the CMF tradition, pulling in festival goers and innocent bystanders to their mesmerizing rhythms and dance routines. At 8:30 p.m., they’ll be blocking off a section of McGee Street, starting at 19th Street and heading north to 18th Street. You won’t want to miss their performance.
—Michelle Bacon is a musician and writer dedicated to the Kansas City music community. She’ll be a panelist at MixMaster 2017 on Saturday, and heading up a small group at lunch. You should come.