In the scheme of local music promoters, Ken Welker's 13th Floor Music is a relative upstart. The company itself, based in North Dallas, is barely a year old, and Welker himself has only been working as a promoter for the past couple years. But already 13th Floor has built up a roster of roughly 15 artists, each of them local, and 12 venues. Now they're taking the plunge into the festival business, with the first-annual 13th Floor Music Fest scheduled to take place at Club Dada on Saturday, September 6.
The lineup is headed by Dead Flowers, Goodnight Ned and Cody Jasper, with music slated to take place for 10 hours at the more-than-reasonable price of -- you guessed it -- $13.
13th Floor Music, named after Roky Erikson's groundbreaking psych-rock band the 13th Floor Elevators, stemmed from Welker's desire to be more involved in music, having previously worked as a DJ. "It seemed like all these bands were trying to figure things out for themselves," says Welker. His first clients were a band called Shotgun Friday. "I did it for a year for free [prior to founding 13th Floor Music] to see what I could do with it."
Today, his clients mostly fit into the Americana realm and recently he's branched out into tour booking as well. "I book around 20 shows a week, so from a volume perspective it's grown really fast," Welker says.
Diving into festival side of things seemed like a logical extension of 13th Floor was already trying to do. "Everybody runs around in the same circles. Everybody really supports each other," he says of the local music scene. "I figured it'd be a good opportunity for everybody to get together and have a good time."
The 13th Floor Music Fest will consist of 30-minute sets from each of the 15 bands, 11 of which have been announced. (Another four "decently big names" will be revealed the day of the show.) Performances will be spread across multiple stages at Dada, while there will also be food trucks and games on hand.
"If I'm going to put bands together and run a booking company, [my] ideal is to put a band in front of somebody that's so exciting it helps them think of something new or inspires them," Welker says. The new festival would seem to be an ideal way to do just that.
Here's the full lineup of bands that have been announced:
Dead Flowers Goodnight Ned Cody Jasper The Birds of the Night The Venetian Sailors Crypt Trip Drug Animal Leon Bridges & the Texas Gentlemen PVC Street Gang The Paychecks Van Sanchez
13TH FLOOR MUSIC FEST takes place at 4 p.m., Saturday, September 6, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $13
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.