Thursday, October 13, 2011

3rd Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 1

Reposted from the AURA Music & Arts Festival website found here.

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Included In This Issue:

  • Enter The Aura - An Overview Of This Newsletter Series
  • About Your Writer - A Brief Bio From Staff Writer, Adam Smith
  • Know Your Aura - An Interview With AURA Founder Daryl J. Wolff
  • Artist Spotlight - The Mantras
  • Local Love - COPE
  • On The Radar - Newton Crosby
  • Featured Bands - Upcoming Tour Dates
Enter The AURA
Hello and welcome to the brand new AURA Music & Arts Festival Newsletter. This will be your bi-monthly connection to all things AURA, including artist profiles, up to date information, insight on special events and maybe even a few surprises along the way.

Noah Webster and his Merriam counterpart’s dictionary define the term aura as “a distinctive atmosphere surrounding a given source.” In paranormal studies an aura is subtle luminous radiation, in mythology Aura is the goddess of the fresh air, and in music culture aura is not just the name of a Miles Davis album. It is an appropriate term for describing a person, place or even a feeling that is bigger than itself by achieving the exponential sum of its parts.

On an isolated farmland just inside central Florida, the annual event brings together the chronically music obsessed of the Sunshine State, and beyond, for a weekend boasting symptoms of experimentation, exploration and commonality. Bands of musicians travel respective distances through the rugged topography of marshes and tropical vegetation for a chance to contribute. Patrons gather in large numbers to establish temporary communities, and revel in the experience of migratory relocation for a common intention. In effect the aura of AURA is created when all of these things coalesce at once.
About Your Writer: Adam E. Smith
Adam Smith - Staff WriterAdam E. Smith is a music enthusiast and journalist living in Delray Beach, Florida. His progressive writing endeavors have been featured in publications ranging from The NewTimes Broward/Palm Beach to South Florida magazines Barcode and WeMerge. Employing a hands on approach to building a narrative, Adam can be found haunting local music venues and festivals in the state of Florida and abroad. To contact him directly please send all questions and comments to

Know Your AURA: An Interview With AURA Founder Daryl Wolff
Adam Smith - Staff WriterThe founder and creative mind behind AURA is Daryl J. Wolff. His contributions have allowed the festival to expand to a sold out event in just two short years. Now as he goes for a threepeat, Daryl sat down to discuss the history and future of his successful brainchild.
How did the idea of putting together AURA come about for you?
I've been obsessed with music for a long time. I've been to alot of different festivals ranging from one day events in the area with less than 100 people, to Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN with 80,000+ people. The music festival industry has always excited me. I'm an active musician (keyboardist) playing in multiple bands in the area as well. The idea originally came to me after Brother Bean, a band I was running sound for at the time, hosted a yearly party coined "BB3" at Rancho Relaxo, a deep in the woods party house in Mico, FL back in 2008. Creating an event where regional, and up and coming bands could get a chance to showcase their skills, and where all of my friends could get together for a special experience was in the works. I asked Brother Bean to headline our first years festival, along with Papadosio and The Malah, and they happily accepted. We expected a turnout of 400 people, but after over 850 showed up, we realized that something special was on the horizon. And as they (you know... THEY!) say, the rest is history.

Where was the first AURA held?
The first AURA was held at the Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville, Florida in January 2010. Midway through the first years festival, we quickly realized we had already outgrown that venue, and immediately following the end of the festival I began the search for our new home.

Who were the headliners the first year? Who has returned to play multiple times since then?
Brother Bean, Papadosio, and The Malah headlined our first year. Papadosio, The Malah, Cope, Aquaphonics are just some of the repeat offenders that have become part of the AURA family. I'm personally really excited to have Brother Bean coming back this year after taking a two-year sabbatical to pursue things in their personal lives.

Tell me about the new festival site, Forever Florida, and why you choose it as the new home for AURA?
Finding Forever Florida was an amazing day for me. After months of looking I finally found somewhere we could properly produce the event that I had always dreamed of. I happened to find the property while doing extensive research on properties. I wanted to find somewhere central to the state, while also keeping in mind the importance of nature, environment, and a feeling of seclusion from the world. AURA is known for its long days of live music, so I made sure we would be able to host the event with minor restrictions regarding noise ordinances. While we may not be able to have live music 24 hours a day, the 4,700 acres of protected land surrounding the festival site allow us to produce AURA without disturbing any of the surrounding population. Osceola County has been very generous by allowing us to bring our event to their area, and we do everything we can to give back to them. We heard a rumor or two of the convenience store seven miles from South of Forever Florida sold out of all their products midway through AURA this year.

What kind of green or charitable efforts are associated with AURA?
At AURA 2011, we recycled 120+ 40-gallon bags of bottles, cans, and other recyclable items. Our recycling program will return this year in full effect. Upon arriving at the festival, you will be given both trash bags and recycling bags. As an incentive you can redeem your properly sorted recycling items for gifts such as band merchandise, prizes, magazine subscriptions, and even tickets to other AURA Music Events shows. As far as charitys go, we work with a few different ones and are always open to hosting new ones!

Why the shift away from incorporating DJs into the festival this year?
While we all love the DJ's, and lord knows we've had some amazing ones perform at the previous two festivals, we've decided to shift our focuses towards our live band lineup. We are sticking to the original plan for the festival to showcase the best up and coming acts in our little underground music scene. We have 30+ bands performing at the festival this upcoming year, both old and some new alike. What the future holds, I can't say, but for now that is where our priorities are focused.

What are some new things AURA is doing this year?
That’s a good question! My favorite addition this year is the Campground Stage that will be showcasing some of my favorite local acts from Florida. We've got bands like Ketchy Shuby, Fusik, The Resolvers, Nick Noyes, and many more who will be performing sets throughout the weekend on our new Campground Stage.
Artist Spotlight: An Interview With Keith Allen of The Mantras
cope banner How would you describe the music The Mantras are currently making and playing live?
The music is a high-energy collaborative of funk-rock, electronica, metal, world and fusion that will shake your knees and rattle your toes.

What are some of the techniques you have used to hone your improvisational skills?
We are always trying to improve our ability to improv. The melodic side of the band – guitar, keys and bass – all have jazz degrees and strive to bring much of the ear training we received from that into The Mantras improvisation. We have a handful of exercises and games that we have developed over the years that we work on in rehearsal. The games have pretty strict rules and range from really simple to very difficult, but they all focus on the same thing – listening to each other. The better you listen the better you can react.

Give me a run-down of who is currently playing in the band now?
On drums is Justin Loew, behind the keyboards and adding vocals is Justin W. Powell, bass and vocals come from Brian Tyndall, Brent Vaughn is our percussionist and also vocals, and I play guitar and sing as well.

What are your thoughts on AURA as a gathering of Florida music fans supporting musicians from here and abroad? More importantly, how has the reception been for The Mantras when entering into the Florida music scene?
We are newer to the scene down there, but have already had some great times in Florida. We just got done with Suwannee SpringFest and are about to do MagnoliaFest. Everyone we've met has been incredibly receptive to the music and wonderfully supportive. We are looking forward to getting down at Aura!

Besides other music sources, what influences The Mantra’s music, lyrics and philosophies?
Our music is influenced by everything around us. Our lyrics range from being about events happening in our lives to universal consciousness and downright silliness! It is usually a positive and uplifting message. We strive to inspire and want the fans to leave the show feeling like anything is possible.

Describe the band’s writing process? Do you develop songs on the road or do it all when on breaks from touring? Do you have any plans for studio releases?
We are always writing and developing songs. Most of the writing comes from when we break from touring, but the arranging and tweaking can go on for years before it gets "perfect". We now have the ability to make high quality multi-track recordings of our live shows available to the public. In 2011 we began compiling a large archive of these recordings via a new mobile tracking unit, lovingly named R2. Our sound engineer Matt Gordon set out to build this archive so that will be made available to the fans in early 2012. This site will allow fans to purchase every show recorded by the band. Copies of the night’s show are now available to fans in attendance for free.

Do you have any charities or philanthropy you work with? If so, what do they do?
Not directly, but we have done many benefit's for various charities like Toys For Tots and we have donated profits from shows and merchandise to Red Cross drives for tsunami and tornado relief.

What should we look out for in The Mantra’s near future?
We are going to be doing a lot more touring in the next year, combining forces with bands across the country. We also have our own festival here in Ferguson, North Carolina starting next summer called Mantrabash 2012. It will be a 3 night event with 2 stages and no overlapping sets.

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  • Mantrabash 2012:
Local Love: COPE
cope banner These Tampa-based harbor rock crusaders specialize in southern funk and island blues. Momentum has been the name of the game for the West Coast Florida crew following the release of their second studio installment See. Rigorous cross coast and Northward touring ventures has paid off with headlining slots at local festivals like Orange Blossom Jamboree this past May, and the upcoming Big Jammalamma. In addition to that they will share co-bills with The Heavy Pets in Atlanta and Tim Reynolds in Tampa this October. To cap off the big year, Cope will be featured at Bear Creek Music Festival and The Bond Fire Arts & Music Festival as contributing artists.
The success has not been in vain, and fans of the band rest easy knowing that the evolutionary progress that has defined the quartet is moving forward at an exponential speed. The already smooth live delivery of Dennis Stadelman (guitar, banjo, vocal), Kenny Stadelman (bass, vocals), Dave Gerulat (drums, vocals) and Juan Montero (saxophone, keys, vocal) grows tighter with each show.
As the latest addition to the group, Montero's horn and ivory efforts have finally recessed into the total sound, and offer a texture that compliments and organically encourages new auditory destinations. Throw in some stellar new material in jam launch pads "What Goes Up" and "Bear With Me," and it’s evident that pieces are in play for the quartet. Cope will be filling gaps between festival appearances by doing shows from St. Petersburg to Jacksonville throughout the next three months.

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On The Radar: Newton Crosby
cope banner
The multitalented five-piece live electronic band from Rutherford, New Jersey is among a select few that have been chosen to transplant their sound down to St. Cloud. Assembled from various bands in the New York and Jersey area, the theme of keeping the crowd moving has been a cornerstone for the tri-state repping quintet. Not limited to the confines of a genre, the group balances a mix of funk and jazz to form a hybrid, high-energy sound that has gained them notoriety among fans in the North East.
They have shared the stage with moe. and Conspirator. This past summer Jake Cinninger of Umphrey’s Mcgee provided some validation for Newton Crosby. He sat in with them at the Stone Pony for a take on Phantom of the Opera - cleverly dubbed PhantUM of the Opera. Jennifer Hartswick , famed horn player for the Trey Anastasio Band, also did a special sit in with them at Sullivan Hall in New York City.
The tour side isn’t the only place the band is making strides. Chris Cartelli (guitar and vocals), Stephen Minn (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Paul Apicella (bass), Alizie Sisco (drums) and Eric Mitchell (keyboards and vocals) are currently writing and recording in the studio for an upcoming album release. According to them, what you can expect is “climatic peaking jams backed by breakbeats and thumping bass lines.”

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  • Twitter:!/newtoncrosby
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Cope On Tour

  • Friday, Oct. 14th, 2011 Skipper’s Smokehouse Tampa, FL w/ Tim Reynolds
  • Saturday, Oct. 15th, 2011 Big Jammalamma Festival Lakeland, FL
    w/ 3rd Stone, Legacy, FunkUs and more
  • Friday, Nov. 4th, 2011 Santa Maria St. Augustine, FL
  • Saturday, Nov. 5th, 2011 Skipper’s Smokehouse Tampa, FL w/ The Heavy Pets

The Mantras On Tour

  • Saturday, Oct. 15th, 2011 The Camel Richmond, VA
  • Thursday Oct. 20th, 2011 The Charleston Pour House Charleston, SC
  • Saturday, Oct. 22nd, 2011 MagnoliaFest Live Oak, FL
    w/ moe., Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Railroad Earth and more!
  • Saturday, Oct. 29th 2011 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh, NC

Newton Crosby On Tour

  • Friday, October 21st, 2011 Seaside Tavern Stamford, CT w/ Sushi Grade Panda
  • Saturday, November 19th, 2011 The Brass Lantern Reading, PA
  • Friday, November 25th, 2011 Katie Mac’s Mount Kisco, NY

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