Timescape is a New Music Festival That's Really an Art Installation

Isn't a festival in a ballpark parking lot just a tailgate party?
Isn't a festival in a ballpark parking lot just a tailgate party?
Maegan Puetz

How do you make a music festival stick out from the crowd in 2015? Organizers have tried all sorts of ideas, from putting them in arenas to spreading them among clubs and even, uh, having them in the suburbs. A new music festival announced earlier this week, Timescape Music and Arts Festival, came up with a more unconventional solution to the problem: turning their festival into an art installation. And they chose Globe Life Park, the home of the Texas Rangers, as the place to make it happen.

Currently scheduled for three cities, with the others including Salt Lake Cities and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul), the one-day, all-ages festival lands in Arlington on July 18. Billed as an immersive, interactive experience contrasting music and art, Timescape will be divided into three components: LIVESTAGE, THEGARDEN, and THECAVERN. The idea is for these three settings to function as unique landscapes to create a multi-sensory experience.

Jon Stephens, founder and CEO of Utah-based Timescape, is working on bringing the music festival to five or 10 cities. Booking international acts for several dates spread out from July to September may seem ambitious for the festival’s first run, but Stephens has some touring experience as one of the creators of Color Me Rad, a 5k run that partners with charities.

"There are always challenges when it comes to booking large acts for multiple dates," Stephens says. "These artists generally have busy tour schedules, so the logistics of tour routing is always an important factor." But once he has pinpointed an act that fits with his brand, Stephens will do anything to make it happen.

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Stephens describes Timescape as "boutique", explaining that it will be independent from corporate sponsors with a focus on forward-thinking artists in multi-media environments. The freedom from corporate sponsors allows him to book the bands he wants and put them in very specific settings. Stephens also says the festival will be partnering with local businesses at every stop of the tour. "The result is a more engaging visual landscape," says Stephens. His goal is to bring a "personable feel to the music experience."

Hip-hop and electronic artist RJD2, perhaps best known for providing the theme song from Mad Men, and Portland-based electronic pop band STRFKR will headline the festival. Stephens has been a big fan of both artists for years and feels that they are exactly the kind of progressive acts he wants to spearhead Timescape. DJ Jennifer Lee, also known as TOKiMONSTA, will also be on the bill. Other performers include Giraffage, Le Youth, Roosevelt, Gilligan Moss and Dealer from London. Stephens did not have a date for when the lineup will be finalized, but Timescape is expected to bring a carefully curated, diverse lineup of 15 to 20 artists to Arlington this summer.

Timescape focuses just as much on the three unique environments as it does on the music, however. THEGARDEN will be an intimate setting, encapsulating nature and beauty. Giant pastel pinwheels, some of them motorized, will glow in the dark and spin in the wind, hanging over the stage and installed throughout the environment itself. Stephens describes it as "an organic and playful environment." In contrast to THEGARDEN, THECAVERN will be an out-of-this-world setting that hosts DJs. In this visual environment, attendees will be showered with fluorescent-glowing powders similar to those in 5k-style color runs. The ideas was inspired by the Hindu Festival of Colors, also known as Holi, the Indian festival is meant to signal the end of winter and the start of spring and is now imitated in countries all over the world. The excursion will peak at the LIVESTAGE, where Timescape’s headliners will perform.

Rather than taking place in the ballpark, Timescape will occupy a specific section of the property at Global Life Park. Stephens says he would not want to use the entire ballpark because the festival is meant to be intimate. With a location between Dallas and Fort Worth, Stephens also feels that Arlington is the perfect place to launch the touring festival: "We wanted to choose a venue that was reputable, recognizable, and well suited for the logistics and space needed." He always planned to bring Timescape to the area, but felt like it was a good starting point because he anticipates a strong demand for an event that combines music and arts.

Tickets are on sale now at timescapetour.com and cost $29 for the one-day festival. The event will happen rain or shine.

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