Is Iowa ready for a cold-weather, mini-SXSW music festival? Yes, says Sean Moeller, founder of the GAS Feed & Seed Festival, which audiences warmly embraced at its inaugural run last February. This year’s GAS festival will welcome over 30 nationally touring artists on November 9-11 in the Village of East Davenport. In keeping with its mission to get artists and audiences better acquainted, the event begins Thursday night with a family-style dinner served to musicians and festival attendees together. Moeller says it gives everyone a much-appreciated opportunity to connect.
The GAS Feed & Seed Festival gives “patrons a reason to get up, get out, and fall in love (or like) with new artists,” says Moeller. This year, artists LOLO, Sarah Jaffe, Cory Chisel, Okey Dokey, Izaak Opatz, and many more will perform Thursday through Saturday at Baked Beer & Bread Co. and the Village Theatre, with VIP shows at Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel.
If you haven’t heard of many of the artists on the roster—well, that’s sort of the point. “The fun of it is discovery and seeing artists you’ve never seen or heard of before, and then watching as certain artists break out from the pack,” Moeller said. “It’s so much fun to stumble onto surprises and little gems that you would never have sought out on your own. It’s my favorite thing, and these are some of my favorite young bands.”
Sean Moeller was kind enough to answer a few questions about the event:
Where does the name come from?
The GAS part is a bit of an acronym that stands for Give A S***. It was really my intention to just get people to care about something that they weren’t sure of, or something that was new or foreign. All of the artists performing at these GAS fests are personal favorites of mine, but are largely overlooked. I find so much value in championing the brilliant underdogs, and if people are just willing to meet me halfway, they’ll likely be delighted they did. The Feed & Seed part is about the concept of a dining experience (the feed) and the nurturing of unheralded artists, helping them grow an audience here (the seed).
Whose idea was it to get the artists to mix with the audience? Is this something that performers usually like to do? Get to know their audience?
It was my idea. I liked the idea of being able to kick everything off with artists and audience members mingling. You always like something more when you know the person doing it. An apple pie is tastier if you know the baker. A short story is more clever if you know the writer, etc. The artists sure enjoyed it when we did it in February. It was a perfect kickoff.
How do you find these new bands? And get them to come to Davenport?
Finding the artists is just something I’ve been doing my whole professional career, and even before that. I derive so much pleasure in discovering new music and new artists. Most of these people are just looking for a leg up, for someone to champion them, and that’s what I’ve been doing for almost two decades now, with my various endeavors (Daytrotter, Codfish Hollow, Quad City Times, and all kinds of freelance work). It’s not hard at all to get them to come to Davenport, Iowa.
What sort of comments did you get from festival goers and artists at the last event?
I think it was a resounding success in February. It’s why I wanted to do another one. Everyone loved the dinner, loved the proximity of venues, and fell in love with all of the bands who performed. It was a special weekend!
Here’s the full GAS Feed & Seed lineup:
Ticket options are available at moellernights.com.