Killbillies are presenting the 561 Music Festival. L-R: James Galiano, Ben Childs, Hector Diaz.
Photo by Killbillies.
Most music festivals emphasize touring artists with a few local acts mixed in.
Not so with the 561 Music Festival, the second installment of which happens April 1 at Mathews Brewing Co. in Lake Worth Beach. As its name implies, all 21 participants hail from the 561 area code.
The festival’s 2022 inception stemmed from the now-2-year-old weekly Friday “561 Music” podcast (www.561music.com), hosted by singing multi-instrumentalist Ben Childs and singing bassist Hector Diaz. Their Palm Beach Gardens-based trio Killbillies (killbillies.net), with singing multi-instrumentalist James Galiano, is a veteran roots music institution and one of the busiest acts on the local scene.
The trio will be joined at the fest by 20 other local bands and artists, ranging from pop/rock, punk and blues to bluegrass, reggae and folk. Every one has appeared on the podcast.
“Right out of the gate,” Diaz says, “we created both an audio podcast available on all streaming platforms and also a video version that we host on our ‘561 Music’ YouTube channel. When we started getting close to the one-year mark, we joked about how it would be fun to do a local music festival featuring past guests. Somehow that went from an idea to ‘Yeah, let’s do it,’ and immediately it took on a life of its own.”
“561 Music” is an entertaining series featuring questions from, and conversation with, the two hosts, as well as live performances by the guests. With his British accent and radio-friendly voice, Childs leads the questioning, with Diaz interjecting and asking follow-ups. The results are often more like breezy, humorous musical discussions than staid Q&As.
Frequent topics include beginnings in music, the business side of the profession, practice habits, genres, influences, equipment, recording, venues and the nuances of the local music scene.
The 561 Music Festival 2 will feature food trucks, dozens of Mathews’ in-house brews and two stages. The performers are Killbillies, Octo Gato, Tasty Vibrations, Uproot Hootenanny, Jake Walden, Joey Calderaio, Bryce Allyn, Lybica, The Shake, 1983, Dominic Delaney and the Dead Language, The Bucc Stops Here, Rogue Theory, Spider Cherry, HADEE, Stumble Steady, Eastway, Andii Styron, Euphobia, the Fox Maple Band, and Young Fiction.
Singing guitarists Allyn, Walden and Calderaio, who all lead self-titled bands, return from last year’s inaugural event.
“The lineup this year is once again stacked,” Diaz says, “and will feature the first reunion show for Octo Gato in over 4½ years. It is truly a showcase of the local talent we have here in the 561. Two years ago we were really excited about the local music scene and thought there was a lot of talent here. The idea of the podcast is to spotlight a different band or artist from the 561 area every week, basically giving them another platform to get their music out.”
As the “561 Music” podcast approaches its 100th episode, Childs and Diaz will interview this year’s participants in the fest’s special “561 Music Living Room.” And with its two stages, an outdoor patio covered with chickee huts and sails, house PA and lighting systems, and an ace sound engineer, Mathews Brewing Co. is the right venue for a sprawling 12-hour music marathon that promises to eclipse last year’s event.
“The first festival had two or three sponsors and more than 700 people in attendance,” Diaz says. “It ended up being a huge success, so we decided to do it again. This year we’ve grown that to eight sponsors and have been able to do a proper campaign around the festival with posters, palm cards, social media ad campaigns, billboards and even some radio advertising.”
The 561 Music Festival 2 runs from noon to midnight April 1 at Mathews Brewing Co., 130 S. H St., Lake Worth Beach. Tickets are $10 plus a $1 service fee in advance for general admission or $25 for general admission plus, which includes a souvenir T-shirt.
For further information, call 561-812-3738, or visit www.561MusicFestival.com.