Westport Library Music and Media Festival

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It’s been a while since a librarian ‘shut up’ a Westport library patron.

Like many other libraries, ours has become a city centre. It is a place of conversation and community. There’s a MakerSpace for discovery, a cafe for coffee, a stage with a beautiful piano.

But a library is unlikely to have done what Westport will do April 8-10. It’s the weekend for VersoFest: a unique and immersive music and media festival and conference.

For 3 days, the Library will vibrate even more than usual.

Panels and workshops with Grammy winners, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, actors, movie studio executives, legendary journalists and famous songwriters – VersoFest promises something for everyone.

Lez Zeppelin – a Led Zeppelin tribute band – kicks off the festival on Friday night. Spin Magazine calls them “the most powerful all-female band in rock history,” and Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page applauded their stunning arrangements and note-for-note sounds.

Lez Zeppelin will rock Westport Library.

Talking Heads fans are getting a double dose on Saturday. In the afternoon, co-founder and drummer Chris Frantz joins WPKN General Manager Steve DiCostanzo in a live chat about Frantz’s new memoir, Stay in love.

Chris Frantz

That evening, Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Artists presents Enid Ze, a futuristic African pop group from Bridgeport. Their debut album was produced by composer Chris Ruggiero.

The opening band is Deniprobably, an indie band from New Haven.

The Saturday schedule is also full of other workshops.

Michael Jai White

Michael Jai White, a Bridgeport actor/writer/director with over 100 film and television credits, is building an international production center in New Haven. His keynote will cover his life, career, and vision for Jaigantic Studios.

Vibe Magazine editor Datwon Thomas, engineering Grammy winner Emily Lazar and Verso Studios audio producer Travis Bell will join Dick Wingate – a Westport recording executive who has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello , Aimee Mann, Peter Tosh and Pink Floyd – to discuss music production.

Practical workshops will be led by Joe Bouchard, co-founder of Blue Öyster Cult; Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and New York Times writer Joe Hagan; country singer-songwriter Drew Smith and hip-hop legend Dooley-O.

The Sunday “bagel brunch” features international bestselling author (and Westport resident) Jane Green. Her new novel Sister Stardust looks at the Rolling Stones’ travels and work in Marrakesh in the 1960s.

Josie Jo Armistead – a soul music renaissance woman, former Ikette, recording artist, record label owner and songwriter – will be interviewed by Beehive Queen and the tour de force “Saturday Night Live” Christine Ohlman.

The final performance is by revolutionary young blues visionary Selwyn Birchwood. His band includes sax, bass, drums and keyboard.

In the works for over a year, the event is an extension of Verso Studios – the library’s media and production resource center/cultural and learning center. Verso offers state-of-the-art facilities for multimedia production and events, including a hybrid-analog recording studio and stage with an 18-foot LED screen; state-of-the-art lighting, video and digital projection and seating for over 400 people.

First Selector Jen Tooker hails the music and media festival as one more way for the library to build an innovative community. She calls Verso Studios “the perfect place.”

“06880” is proud to join WPKN as the media sponsor of this event. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce is co-producing the 3 concerts.

Panels are free. Concerts and workshops are chargeable. Click here for more information.

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