It’s a tribute to two of rock’s most iconic and influential artists as Musikfest celebrates the lives and legacies of the late David Bowie and Prince during a double bill at the festival’s Sands Steel Stage Aug. 8. The show, which is free to attend, features David Bowie tribute group Band From Mars kicking off the evening, followed by “A Tribute to Prince” at 9 p.m. by Swift Technique. No admission tickets are required; gates will open at 6 p.m., with seating available on a first-come basis.
At 7 p.m., the Sands Steel Stage audience will enjoy a career spanning salute to The Thin White Duke as Band From Mars performs Bowie classics like “Ziggy Stardust,” “Changes,” “Fame,” “Modern Love” and more. Comprised of members of popular local groups Start Making Sense, Insidious Rays and Trouble City All-Stars; the Band From Mars will serve up a collection of Bowie’s biggest hits, while also going into the vault for some deeper cuts from the artist’s legendary career.
Few artists have influenced our generation as the one and only Prince. At 9 p.m., Philadelphia’s Swift Technique, which is known for its blend of rock, funk and R&B, will take the stage to honor the legendary singer and guitarist with a hits-filled set ranging from “Purple Rain” to chart toppers like “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry.”
Since its formation in 2007, Swift Technique has toured relentlessly throughout the United States. Over the years, it has shared the stage with artists ranging from Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, to The Meters, Wu-Tang Clan and Deep Banana Blackout. The group has performed at numerous festivals and events including the Philadelphia Experiment PEX Festival; Camp Jam in the Pines in New Jersey; The Northeast Kingdom Music Festival in Vermont; and Grassroots Festival in Ithaca, N.Y.
For this show only, Musikfest is offering tickets to its Oasis Lounge for only $10 (regularly $20). Oasis tickets include access to the Sands Steel Stage’s only full-service bar and air-conditioned restrooms, as well as a festival parking pass for the adjacent Sands Steel Stage parking lot with every two Oasis tickets purchased. All proceeds raised from Oasis ticket sales at 2016 Sands Steel Stage shows will go to support Musikfest’s more than 500 free performances annually for the region.
The Band From Mars & Swift Technique concert, sponsored by 100.7 WLEV, takes the place of the Aretha Franklin show previously scheduled for the evening. Patrick Brogan, Sr. Vice President of Programming for ArtsQuest, the nonprofit that presents Musikfest, says ArtsQuest considered different options for a main stage concert and ultimately decided to focus on a core element of its mission – providing opportunities for regional artists to perform.
“Musikfest started more than three decades ago as a festival dedicated to presenting artists from our community,” Brogan says. “While some people may wonder why we didn’t add another nationally touring act to the lineup, this isn’t at all unprecedented. In fact, the change in the schedule actually provided us with a great and rather rare opportunity to showcase our local artists on a very large scale.
“Two years ago we had the Craig Thatcher Band on the Sands Steel Stage during Musikfest after ZZ Top was unable to perform, and our community responded with a great turnout. If past performances by these two groups are any indication, the audience is in for an amazing night of music they won’t want to miss.”