Goldrush Festival co-founder Crawford Philleo on how this year's festival will be different

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Marcus Renninger
Goldrush Festival co-founder and occasional Backbeat contributor Crawford Philleo.
By Leya Lynnette

Goldrush Music Festival is the brainchild of Jake Martin, occasional Backbeat contributor Crawford Philleo and Ryan Pjesky. The three friends all knew each other from going to local shows and writing about experimental music on the internet. At some point, they began exchanging e-mails and hashing out the details of a festival that would tie in to their blogs. "There was a lot of music we were writing about that we'd never seen live, so it just seemed perfect," says Philleo. "Let's invite our friends to get really excited about seeing the bands that we're really excited to be writing about."

See also:
- Goldrush Festival 2 at Deer Pile | Fri-Sat, 9/21-22
- Review: Goldrush Festival, Night One, 9/16/11
- Review: Goldrush Festival, Night Two, 9/17/11
- The Organizers of Goldrush Festival on the festival and blogging

Year one was considered an overall success by those involved, but the three friends were wary of undertaking a second year. Philleo explains, "As this year was coming up, there were whispers between the three founding members: Could we do it again? We were all like, 'No way, you're crazy!' but then we got thinking -- people liked it last year, we have a name built up for it, there's no way we could really do worse... Maybe we could use this as a jumping board to do it again, and improve upon it."

As year two crept ever closer, it became more apparent that it was going to, in some ways, be a one-man show. "We kept talking, and it got later in the game," says Philleo. "In that time, it turned out that Ryan actually moved to Brooklyn, and Jake is in the process of moving to Austin, but I was already on the train of 'How can I do this, different and better?'"

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"By the time Jake and Ryan were like, "We'll still help, but we can't be around nearly as much," it was already too late," he explains. "I'd already pulled the trigger and asked a bunch of people if they'd come out. I took it from there and started putting plans into place, and the more I looked at it, the more it seemed like we really could do it again, so...we're doing it!"

Philleo already had a long history of writing about and playing music. He has been in several local groups, including the Vitamins and Breakfastes (the latter of which are playing Goldrush 2.) In his opinion, "Festivals have a tendency of finding a formula that works and sticking to it.

"This festival's second year is the same only in name, really," he points out. "We moved it because Deer Pile is a space we have more control over. When I talked to them about hosting the fest, they were excited about it. I like that there's no bar... it's so much more about community, and focused on the actual art of do-it-yourselfers everywhere. We're able to give our artists more than we could last year, and with the smaller space, it'll be more the people that are super-dedicated to this kind of music, so hopefully the artists are seeing more of their target audience.

"Deer Pile is a small space, where it seems crazy to have a festival," he goes on, "but at the same time, we're not including many high-profile bands. This year we're having bands that wouldn't normally sell out a show on their own, and they're being paired up with other members of their global music community. I think we're going to fill the space up with people who are just really excited about challenging and experimental music."

Fair enough, but is there going to be a year three?

"I said last year that I wasn't going to do it again, and I might say that this year, but, you know, it's entirely possible," Philleo allows. "I think if people respond well to it. This year, we made it easier by collecting more sponsorship... we made it harder by using a smaller space, and by inviting more "under the radar" bands. Maybe those things will balance out and it'll end up basically the same as last year, in which case, I'd say, 'Hell yes! I'll do it again.'

"Or maybe it'll tank, and I'll say no," he concludes. "I'm interested to see how it does. I'm excited to see who comes out. I mean, I really love Titwrench Festival. I really love these DIY festivals that stand in the face of the opposition. There's something to be said for doing it on your own terms. Like a little kid dreaming, 'If only I could do it my way, this is how I would do it.' Goldrush is my version of being a kid with a dream, and this is how I would do it."



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