Illinois music festival to combine music, art, community

By: Katie Christoff – A&E Editor

If you missed out on Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, or any other popular festivals this summer, don’t fret; music festival season isn’t quite over yet.

The first annual Phases of the Moon Music and Arts Festival will take place from Sept. 11-14 at Kennekuk County Park in Danville, Illinois, about a four-hour drive from Dayton. The festival, founded by Sam Shear, 24, will combine music, art, camping and even a meditation area to provide festival-goers with a truly unique experience.

“We put Phases of the Moon together by festival-goers, for festival-goers,” said Shear, the director of the festival. “I feel like the event we’re creating is something that people can really understand and connect with.”

Shear said this idea has been in the works for a long time, ever since his days at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe, where he earned his bachelor of fine arts.

“While I was out there for five years, I had the opportunity to immerse myself not only in the art world but also in the music world,” Shear said. “When I graduated, I wanted to merge these two ideas together, music and art, so it was kind of a natural segue into creating a festival.”

Shear said he drew inspiration from the countless music festivals he attended during his college years, but he realized that he couldn’t put his own festival together based on what he’d seen. He put together a focus group of festival-goers ranging from 16 to 60 years old, and together, they discussed what they liked and didn’t like about the festivals they’d attended in the past.

The group focused on four main objectives: all organic, feel-good music; awe-inspiring artwork; a strong sense of community; and the conscious collective.

“We realized that people wanted interactive artwork, they wanted to have a real connection with the musical performers, so we came up with the idea of 100 percent organic, feel-good music through that focus group,” Shear said. He also wanted to incorporate a west-coast vibe from his college experience.

Shear said the majority of the music will be jam-centric, with branches of country, blues, rock, funk and blue grass, but his main priority in recruiting musicians for the festival was that they make real contact with their fans.

“The music is really all over the place, but the idea of artists making real connections with the audience is the overall general theme,” he said of both the musicians and performance artists.

The festival will also provide “an oasis for relaxation and rejuvenation” called the Sanctuary, Shear said. The Sanctuary will be a space for massages, yoga, meditation and a variety of workshops and presentations.

“We wanted to create an environment where people could come to feel centered, feel whole and come to talk with each other,” Shear said. “It will be an interactive space where you come to unwind after a long day of listening to your favorite artists.”

Since Phases of the Moon emphasizes a strong sense of community and connection with the audience, Shear also wanted to provide attendees with a chance to give back. He organized an “Art That Feeds” food drive, and anyone who donates 20 non-perishable food items will receive a free commemorative festival poster.

The four-day festival offers different passes with a variety of different camping options. Shear said the 3000-acre park has unique locations throughout to satisfy all campers, including forests, rolling hills and even turn-of-the-century historic buildings. These tickets range from $85 – $250.

“I just hope that everyone comes and enjoys themselves, and that they experience something new and something that is their own,” Shear said.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.phasesofthemoonfestival.com.