The little independent music festival that could is back.
The Central Valley Indie Fest returns after a two-year hiatus. The fifth festival, which will run April 10-19, just unveiled its schedule.
As in years past, the event will span the valley in venues from Stockton to Riverbank, Modesto to Merced. The grass-roots music festival is the brainchild of promoter and performer Anastasia Rego. Helping her this year are Tina Braaten, the new marketing creative coordinator, and Middagh Goodwin, a Stockton music promoter.
Braaten said it wasn't hard to re-stoke interest in the festival.
"It seemed like everyone remembered it. There was a time in the past when Indie Fest was up there next to X-Fest and the MAMAs (Modesto Area Music Association Awards). Of course, it's a much smaller event," she said. "People are excited to have it back."
This year, more than 30 bands will play across at least seven venues. Those venues include the Queen Bean Coffeehouses in Modesto and Riverbank, The Partisan in Merced, Blackwater Cafe in Stockton and Speakeasy Lounge and Fat Cat Music House & Lounge, both in Modesto.
The groups are almost exclusively from the Central Valley. They include area favorites and newcomers. Hundreds of bands applied to perform, but only the best acts were selected.
"This is special because it is a showcase and highlight of what we've got right here in our back yard," Braaten said.
"This is what we have available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if we find it and utilize it. If we can sort of put it together and bring it out as a bigger thing. These are bands you always see in Modesto, but never in the same place."
Performers include Hero's Choice, Not4Nothin, EARL, Fat Skeleton, Soup, El Olio Wolof, The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit and Moon Trent, among many others.
The musical genres will run the gamut from Americana to rock, indie pop to jam fusion.
Event organizers will audition l performers Saturday to be part of a special Indie Girl show April 13 at the Fat Cat. The female dancers and performers will put on a cabaret act in between acts that night. To audition, call Braaten at 247-3948.
For more information or a full schedule for Indie Fest, visit www.myspace.com/ centralvalleyindiefest.
Elsewhere around the Scene:
Get your laughs at the Willow Creek Lounge at Black Oak Casino.
Two Thursdays each month, the lounge plays host to a Comedy Showcase featuring notable stand-up headliners.
This Thursday, catch Carrie Snow, a former comedy writer for Roseanne Barr, with comic Diane Nichols for a special "Ladies Night Out."
On March 27, see comic ventriloquist Willie Tyler and Lester. Tyler got his big break on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," appeared on "The Jeffersons" and was the first ventriloquist on "The Late Show With David Letterman."
On April 10, see Murray Langston, aka The Unknown Comic, with the world's most famous houseguest and new comic Kato Kaelin. Langston was a regular on Chuck Barris' "Gong Show" and Kaelin is known worldwide as a key witness in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
All comedy shows are free to guests 21 and older and begin at 8 p.m. For more information and the schedule, visit www.blackoakcasino.com. ...
Modesto's State Theatre has the perfect shows for the '80s fan or gospel lover in you. See the Lost '80s Live Tour on March 27 and the Oh, Happy Day Gospel and Praise Concert on March 30.
The former will feature such spandex and synthesizer '80s staples as A Flock of Seagulls ("I Ran"), When In Rome ("The Promise"), Real Life ("Send Me An Angel"), Dramarama ("I'll Give You Anything, Anything") and Gene Loves Jezebel ("Motion of Love"). Tickets are $30-$55.
The latter will feature gospel legend Edwin Hawkins and the Community Praise Choir. The event is the third in a series of gospel shows presented by Joandro Music and sponsors PennySaver, Doc's Q'in Pit Stop, Valley Views Magazine and The Morris Show. Tickets are $25 and include a light catered supper.
For tickets for either show, call 527-4697. ...
And finally, the Marshall Tucker Band show originally slated for this week at the Fat Cat Music House & Lounge has been rescheduled to May 15. Tickets are $20. Call 524-1400.