Metro-East Living

Murmuration is a different type of festival

The Murmuration festival debuts this weekend in the Cortex district of mid-town St. Louis.

Its focus is art, music, science and technology.

“Each of those areas bleed over into all the the others,” said co-founder Brian Cohen. “None exist within a vacuum and that’s really the point of the festival.”

There will be live music, art installations, and lectures and panel discussions — referred to as “thought sessions” — that cover an array of subjects related to music, art and technology.

“The festival has a handful of very important components — music obviously is an important part of the festival, but also what we’re calling our thought sessions,” said Cohen, “and those are talks and conversations and seminars from folks that we’ve invited in who are on the cutting edge of virtual reality, robotics, social innovation — those sorts of things.”

The talks take place on two stages during the three-day festival.

“We also have an outside art competition where we’ve invited five local artists to create large scale installations,” said Cohen. “Those will be placed throughout the campus for the weekend and people will have a chance to vote on their favorite.”

Here are a few more things to check out:

▪ A Maker Expo — An opportunity for people who are creating incredible things in their garage to get in front of an audience.

▪ A diverse line up of speakers — Calum Pearson, of Cirque du Soleil; Brooklyn-based band Sky-Pony; and Tabari Coleman, project Director for Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference Institute. For a full list of speakers and panels, visit http://murmurationfest.com/event-category/thought/.

▪ Experimental and genre-defying musical acts — Includes Flying Lotus, Prince Rama, Deerhoof and Yacht. St. Louis-based math rock band Yowie and electronic musician Ice also will perform. “It’s always been my priority to include a few local bands in any lineup I’m developing,” said Cohen. “They’re not just dropped in place holders because they’re local. They are significant bands who are just as integrated in these ideas as our national bands.

“We chose bands whose sound is influenced by technology. We chose bands whose live show is impacted by art and performance. We chose bands whose members have lives in the science and tech worlds outside of their lives as musicians because they impact one another.”

▪ Future Innovators Zone for children — free activities from the Magic House, The St. Louis Science Center, The School of Rock and other local organizations.

Brian Cohen created LouFest seven years ago, then looked for another adventure.

“Murmuration started the end of last year,” he said. “For the last couple of years, I’ve been working on what my next project would be after LouFest. I knew I wanted to do music and art. I had the opportunity to meet Dennis Lower, the president and CEO of the Cortex innovation community (a 200-acre mixed use technology district).”

They put their heads together and came up with an event that served both of their purposes.

Murmuration — the word means “a gathering of starlings that produce intricate patterns during flight” — begins 6-10 p.m. Friday with a free party that features interactive art exhibits, a fashion show of local designers, and live music. Tickets are required for the Thought and Music sessions, but the Maker Expo, art exhibits and Future Innovators Zone are free. The event continues from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For a full schedule of the Thought and Music sessions, visit http://murmurationfest.com/schedule/.

Festival-goers are encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint by cycling, carpooling or using public transportation. Trailnet will be on site to provide free bicycle parking. Tickets are available at www.murmurationfest.com and range from $40 for a single day music pass to $275 for an all-access VIP pass for the entire festival.

“This festival is unique in a lot of ways,” said Cohen. “It’s really a unique animal ... it has the opportunity to present St. Louis not as just a city that’s doing what other cities are doing, but as a city that can generate really unique, creative ideas from the ground up and hopefully have that extend to the national stage.”

Murmuration festival

What: A festival focusing on art, music, science and technology.

When: Opens 6-10 p.m. Friday with a free party, continues 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Cortex district of St. Louis. The Festival Box Office is located at the intersection of Duncan and Boyle avenues, north of Interstate 64 near IKEA.

Tickets: Go to www.murmurationfest.com; prices range from $40 for a single day music pass to $275 for an all-access VIP pass for the entire weekend. The Festival Box Office is open 6-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All print-at-home tickets must be redeemed for wristbands at the Festival Box Office.

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