By LAURA CARRELL
Courier staff writer
---- — FAIRFIELD — With the theme of "bigger and better," Fairfield's annual free music and more festival has released the lineup for this year's FAIRfest '14.
More than 6,000 people attended last year's three-day weekend of fabulous free music, and organizers are looking to double that this year. The event is scheduled for June 20-22, and it will feature more than 40 national, regional and local musical talent. The festival spreads over several venues throughout town, including a 40-foot stage between the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center and the county courthouse, in the Sondheim Center and on the town square.
Headlining Friday night is Los Lobos, celebrating its 40th anniversary tour. Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band, the New Orleans institution, brings the Mardi Gras atmosphere to Main Street Saturday night. Sunday has a full lineup, including Fairfield's Apocalypso Tantric Boys Choir and the Jefferson County Green Band.
In 2012, several community supporters approached KRUU radio and asked if the station would be interested in spearheading an annual, high-profile, free weekend summer festival. Last year's FAIRfest decided to say "DIY-not" and took the lead in hosting the event. That success has convinced everyone involved that a second extravaganza was greatly needed.
"I think Fairfield deserves a festival of this scope on an annual basis," said James Moore, co-founder of KRUU radio and one of the event's organizers. "We had fun last year, we worked hard and we thought, 'we did it once, let's see if we can do it again — bigger and better.'"
This year, there will also be a literary component to the festival. Starting small, FAIRfest will be partnering with Fairfield Public Library and sponsoring a children's activity. Iowa writers will do a program for children on Saturday afternoon, an adult reading and an adult writing workshop.
With four nights and three days of music and arts, FAIRfest '14 is also an opportunity to draw people into the community. Many of the event's partners, including the Fairfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fairfield Economic Development Association and Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, are seeing the impact the festival is having on the community.
"It's remarkable, but it's vintage Fairfield," Mayor Ed Malloy said, "because Fairfield is the city of a thousand passions. This is a passion that is quickly rising to the top of the things we do to celebrate community, and we want to invite people here to have that experience as well."
Volunteers are still needed and wanted, organizers say. There are many teams of event planners looking for help. For more information, visit the FAIRfest website at www.fairfestiowa.com.
— Follow reporter Laura Carrell on Twitter @CourierLauraC
FAIRfest '14 lineup highlights • The Mike Dillon Band • Glenn Hartman • James Singleton • Charanga Tropical, the nine-piece Cuban salsa band • David Lindley, Jackson Browne's slide guitar player • Los Lobos on its 40th anniversary tour • Christopher the Conquered • The Mumfords • MODOC, Nashville rockers • Bambu, celebrating its 20th anniversary • Rebirth Brass Band • Dave Zollo • Jason Carl and the Whole Damn Band • Fox and Crow • Milltown • Apocalypso Tantric Boys Choir • Jefferson County Green Band • Pieta Brown • Bo Ramsey • The Pines • Mac Gayden with Zenphonic • Keelan Dimick, 350 Duo, Yojimbo, Natalie Brown, Paul Weddie, Host Country, Truckstop Souvenir The lineup is still in the works, so check out their website, www.fairfestiowa.com, and Facebook page for continuous updates between now and the third weekend in June.