Fortress Festival, North Texas’s newest premier music event, occurs April 29-30 in Fort Worth.
Over the last decade, music festivals have exploded in popularity. Though Fort Worth has had events in the past, such as the Fort Worth Music Fest and Dia De Los Toadies, the city has hitherto lacked competition for tastemaker events such as Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest or the Bay Area’s Noise Pop Festival. Fortress Festival, which debuts this April 29th and 30th, aims to change all that. The annual festival plans to hold its first event on two outdoor stages in the heart of Fort Worth’s Cultural District.
A partnership between Fortress Presents and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fortress Festival will feature internationally acclaimed headliners alongside up-and-comers and local performers. As for pedigrees, Margin Walker, the team responsible for Fun Fun Fun Fest and it’s successor, Sound on Sound Festival, has handled artist booking.
For a certain demographic of young and hip music lovers, Margin Walker has knocked it out of the park, and put together a line-up to rival any festival of comparable size. To say that Fortress Festival is eagerly anticipated has become an understatement. The hype is real, and evidenced by the sell-out of presale tickets – which were offered before the announcement of lineups — in less than six hours.
“We wanted to do a general lineup, not niche, and touch on a lot of different kinds of music to reflect the listening habits and tastes that are underrepresented here,” says Ramtin Nikzad, who co-founded the festival alongside Alec Jhangiani. “A big part of this was approaching our partners Margin Walker, and booking the artists became a very collaborative process.”
This collaboration yielded success, as shown through the fantastic lineup. On Saturday, April 29th, headliners Run the Jewels will bring their progressive hip-hop to Fort Worth. A partnership between rapper Killer Mike and rapper/producer El-P, Run the Jewels has established a reputation as critical darlings across three acclaimed albums.
Flying Lotus, the Los Angeles-based multi-genre producer, DJ, and rapper, also performs the first night. Each of Flying Lotus five albums has garnered higher accolades than the previous, and his dark vision of electronic music makes for an excellent live experience. Additional performers the first day include Houndmouth, Wolf Parade, S U R V I V E, local favorites Burning Hotels, and several more.
The second night explodes with the one-two punch of Purity Ring and Slowdive. The former is an electronic music duo from Alberta, Canada, whose debut album, Shrines, garnered an esteemed “Best New Music” rating from tastemaker website Pitchfork.
Slowdive is a hugely influential English rock band that formed in 1989. Their appearance at Fortress Festival is one of just a handful of dates announced for the acclaimed band’s hugely anticipated reunion tour. Also performing on the second day are the energetic Nathanial Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Peter Hook & The Light, Alvvays, Whitney, and many more.
For this bountiful offering of musical talent, festivalgoers can thank Alec and Ramtin. The two Fortress Festival founders see the event as representative of Fort Worth’s changing character and evolving cultural dynamic.
“We see Fort Worth as being in a really interesting formative period,” says Alec. “It’s changing quickly and developing new aspects of its character. We saw an opportunity here to develop a new dimension in cultural offerings, and saw an ideal alignment with the Modern.”
The two founders have worked with the Modern before through their experience in the Lone Star Film Festival.
“Alec and I took over leadership of the film festival, and always had an idea to do music. We’re both from nearby and grew up around the area, and had formed really strong relationships with the cultural community within Fort Worth,” says Alec. “We found the right space and time, and decided to take the leap.”
Fortress Festival promises to not only reinvent Fort Worth’s music scene, but also expose the city to a whole new audience.
“Fort Worth is an anomaly,” says Alec. “It’s grown big, but it still has that small town feel. We’re hoping for a lot of discovery of Fort Worth, for people to come over and realize everything that the city has to offer. Fort Worth is all the things that people think it is, in terms of heritage and history, but it’s lots of other things as well.”
If you’re interested in attending North Texas’s newest premier music festival, buy your tickets now. One day tickets and two day passes are available through the festival’s website, www.fortressfestival.com.