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MoonTower Music Festival is listening to the fans while preparing for second-year event

MoonTower Music Festival is held in Masterson Station in Lexington. (Photo provided)

MoonTower Music Festival is held in Masterson Station in Lexington. (Photo provided)

 
By Jonathan Coffman
KyForward intern
 
A movie titled Dazed and Confused seems unlikely to inspire focused event planning, but watching it did just that for LexEffect founder and president Kaelyn Query.
 
After watching the 1993 movie, Query and her friends came up with the idea for Lexington’s MoonTower Music Festival. LexEffect, a local event management company that has worked with festivals across the country, will host the event at Masterson Station Park Aug. 29.
 
“There’s a scene where they talk about going to the moontower,” Query said. “There’s a party at the moontower and they say, ‘Everyone’s going to be there.’”
 
The term “moontower” stuck, and the festival was named. One friend is a graphic designer who designed the festival logo. The other decided on the festival’s color scheme, and that quickly, MoonTower Music Festival became an actuality.
 
“The whole thing was all said very lightly,” Query said. “‘Wouldn’t this be cool, wouldn’t it be fun…’ Then all the sudden we were planning a music festival.”
 
The second-year festival lineup includes Moon Taxi, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, The Weeks and more.
 
There were many reasons to be proud of the event’s inaugural year, according to Query. A goal to sell out the event at 1,200 attendees came just short as over 1,100 attended despite limited marketing. Query said it felt awesome getting that attendance from word of mouth.
 
Seeing the surprise on so many faces at the event was Query’s proudest moment.
 
“When you’re doing something new, people look at you like, ‘OK, sure. You’re going to do a festival in Lexington, yeah,’” Query said. “I think they expected a stage to roll in on the back of a tractor, a plug and play kind of amp system from a music shop. I don’t think they quite knew what we were bringing to the table.”
 

Kaelyn Query addresses those in attendance at MoonTower Music Festival 2014.  (Photo provided)

Kaelyn Query, second from left, addresses those in attendance at MoonTower Music Festival in 2014. (Photo provided)

Fans not only showed up – they wanted to help make it better. A survey was given to those in attendance, and 86 percent responded. Few comments were negative, but creative suggestions were in abundance. Asking for a larger beer selection, finding ways to know about the festival sooner and spreading the word throughout the area were top suggestions. This year Query and the LexEffect team have taken initiative to fill those requests.
 
An increased local approach will be taken this year. Beverages will be served from nearby breweries including West Sixth, Country Boy, Ethereal and Kentucky Ale, as well as Old 502 Winery’s wine slushies.
 
To promote the festival, pop-up events are planned at local breweries every other Thursday in June, and each Thursday through July and August. The events offer free tickets, t-shirts and merchandise to those in attendance.
 
Connecting with the fans in these ways helps the festival’s planners know the audience, according to Query. A similar approach is taken when creating a music lineup. Fans were asked through social media about which acts they would love to see. Query said there is an emphasis on having a variety of genres for people to come and enjoy, but above all LexEffect is there to serve the fan’s interest with the festival.
 
“I’m not the one buying the ticket,” Query said. “I want what the guest wants.”
 
The event planners hope to make the festival unique by strongly connecting with its community and accommodating a variety of music fans, according to Query.
 
“We want people to come every year and say, ‘That was awesome. I had so much fun. I cannot wait until next year,’” Query said.
 
For more information, visit the festival website here.
 
Jonathan Coffman is a senior journalism major at the University of Kentucky.

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