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Lawrence Field Day Fest: An interview with founder Cameron Hawk





Lawrence Field Day Fest: An interview with founder Cameron Hawk

Lawrence Field Day Fest was born out of Cameron Hawk’s frustration with the attention that local and regional acts weren’t getting—to highlight their talents, to be different from other festivals that bring in national acts and sprinkle in local acts here and there.
 
“I honestly didn’t think people in Lawrence would care that much. It’s not like we were doing anything new.” Hawk told me. “I just wanted to show people the great talent we had in Lawrence. Plus, it was a way to fill a couple days in The Bottleneck’s calendar.” It went so well in its inaugural year that July 11, 12, and 13 this year will see the return of the fest. “I guess what people were waiting for was for someone to step up and just do it.”
 
Kansas City’s recent Middle of the Map Fest was incredible, with bands like Joy Formidable, Grizzly Bear and locals including Soft Reeds, Cowboy Indian Bear, Thee Water Moccasins, Hawk’s own band The Dead Girls, and others, but it just wasn’t the festival he had in mind.
 
“Middle of the Map, where they matched up local and regional acts was a cool idea, but I wanted to do something for the Lawrence bands and some area acts to make them feel special, to give them something that was just theirs for once,” said Hawk.
 
Were there ever moments of doubt? When did the calls of people wanting the fest made Hawk nervous? Did he doubt the creature he began constructing? “Oh yeah, man. I had never tried to do something like this so there were a lot of moments when I wondered if I could actually pull it off. It was kind of a Wayne’s World 2 scenario. Let’s do it. Oh shit, now we have to do it.”
 
Hawk, guitarist for The Dead Girls, Many Moods of Dad, and the punk thunderbolt that is Stiff Middle Fingers, and drummer for Hidden Pictures, says this year LFDF is completely local or regional acts. This is different from last year, where alt-country greats Drag the River and punk rock legend Stephen Egerton—guitarist for The Descendents—took the stage at the Jackpot.
 
“Having Drag the River and Stephen (Egerton) last year just kind of happened. It was awesome, but this year, I wanted to keep it to just the great bands of the area. People haven’t been going out as much, whether its money, kids, work, or just getting older. I want people to see what’s been going on, what they’re missing.” 
 
This year’s lineup will lean even heavier on the crop of local talent to build a roster that should pack The Bottleneck for three straight days. The ominous quake of Bloodbirds, Many Moods of Dad, Going To Hell in a Leather Jacket, the hardcore-influenced Black on Black, Radkey, Scruffy and the Janitors, sleaze warriors Pale Hearts, JOCKS, BaioWolf, Man Bear, Millions of Boys, and several others, will descend upon The Bottleneck, showing everyone that the Midwest is more than capable of cranking out great rock ‘n roll. 
 
“I hope people see the whole point of this,” Hawk said. “It’s not about bringing in national acts and getting the local acts to support them. This is about the local bands playing and showing support for each other. Let’s quit worrying so much about which bill will draw the best, having the same bands playing together all the time, all the competition. There are people that work really hard and never get thrown a bone for whatever reason; maybe it’s a situation where if more people saw them they’d get a better chance. That’s all I want to do with this. Let’s just play and have some balls.”
 
Lawrence Field Day Fest runs from Thursday, July 11 to Saturday, July 13 at The Bottleneck. A full lineup and ticket info will be available soon at The Bottleneck’s website. Facebook event page.
 
--Danny R. Phillips
 

Danny R. Phillips has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph, MO music scene for well over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the national circulated BLURT Magazine and his work has appeared in The Pitch, The Omaha Reader, Missouri Life, The Regular Joe, Skyscraper Magazine, Popshifter, Hybrid Magazine, the websites Vocals on Top and Tuning Fork TV, Perfect Sound Forever, The Fader and many others. 

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