Organizers of Albany’s 10th annual PearlPalooza have announced the September festival’s concert lineup.
The North Pearl Street festival scheduled for September 14 will feature six performances between its two stages. WEQX’s Jeff Morad says Grand Rapids duo In the Valley Below and alt-rock band The Moth and the Flame will prepare audiences for the headliner.
“I can feel the vibes, the positive energy, the danceability of this group as we’re all packed onto Pearl Street: Wild Belle is going to be headlining PearlPalooza 2019," Morad announces.
Following the release of its critically-acclaimed debut, Isles, in 2013, Wild Belle has toured the world and had its music featured on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and movies like Pitch Perfect. The band’s latest album, Everyone of a Kind, came out in March, and Wild Belle has since been on the road with the likes of Beck and Cage the Elephant. Morad says the band was an easy choice.
“We put ‘em in that position because of their energy, and their kinda smooth, reggae vibes," he says. "So I’d say [I’m] very much looking forward to seeing Wild Belle.”
Also playing will be Victory Soul Orchestra – a local horn-funk ensemble sometimes featuring Albany rapper JB aka Dirty Moses – "sugary" sweet Nashville band *repeat repeat, and the winner of Skyloft’s “Battle of the Bands.” Morad says 10 local bands will hash it out at the Crossgates venue in August for the opener slot at 1 p.m.
“As a local, independent radio station, there’s nothing more important to us than supporting the local bands and giving them the exposure and the experience to move on to achieve their goals," he notes.
PearlPalooza will also feature a variety of food vendors, and a couple events before the music starts. Georgette Steffens, executive director of the Downtown Albany BID, says the festival’s mass-yoga class, “YogaPalooza,” had a surprising 200 participants when it was introduced two years ago.
“The second year that number doubled to 400 – so much so that we’re adding a couple stages and additional speakers, because we expect that almost all of Pearl Street between Sheridan and Pine will be filled with people doing yoga," explains Steffens.
“YogaPalooza,” presented by MVP Healthcare and hosted by The Hot Yoga Spot, is expected to start at 11 a.m. For people seeking some competition, the festival plans to hold a cornhole tournament at noon. 18 teams will compete for hundreds of dollars in prizes from WEQX, the Downtown Albany BID, Albany Distilling Company, and more.
The point of PearlPalooza is to highlight Albany’s downtown businesses during the warmer months. Steffens says it’s grown quite a bit from its 3,000-person crowd in 2009. She says organizers expect up to 10,000 attendees this time around.
“This is a local festival. It’s sponsored by local brewers, it’s sponsored by local businesses, and it’s hosted by local people," says Steffens. "So we’re really excited to highlight the growing industry that we have here, and we appreciate that private support, and the support of the mayor and the city departments to help us make this event possible.”
Of course, for attendees, it’s all about the performances. And if any (or all) of the lineup sounds new to you, WEQX’s Jeff Morad says that’s a good thing.
“What we like is, ‘I’ve never heard of that band before,’ but our listeners – we’ve kind of established this trust that we’re not gonna let you down. If we’re gonna like it, we think you’re gonna like it," he says. "And so, we love to watch that, ‘I’ve never seen this band before,’ to ‘Holy cow, where can I see them again?’”
PearlPalooza 2019 Schedule - North Pearl Street
11 a.m. — YogaPalooza
12 p.m. — Cornhole tournament
On the "O'Connell & Aronowitz" Stage:
1 p.m. — "Battle of the Bands" winner
3 p.m. — Victory Soul Orchestra
5 p.m. — *repeat repeat
On the "Remarkable Liquids" Stage:
2 p.m. — In the Valley Below
4 p.m. — The Moth and the Flame
6 p.m. — Wild Belle