It happens here too often: A favorite restaurant, shop or venue closes, or a cherished event goes dark, and the folks behind it console us with, “We’ll be back in a few months/in a new location/with a new name.” And that’s the last we ever hear of it.
Not so for Neon Reverb. Downtown Las Vegas’ revered grassroots music festival, which went on hiatus after its spring 2013 edition, will return—for real—in March, its organizers informed the Weekly after nailing down key details. Among them: the dates (Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, March 13, with the bulk of musical action on Friday and Saturday); the venues (Bunkhouse, Backstage Bar & Billiards, Beauty Bar, 11th Street Records, Inspire Theater and possibly Fremont Country Club); pricing ($50 for an all-fest wristband or varying door covers); and the foursome at its core—longtime Reverb overseers James Woodbridge and Jason Aragon, Downtown Project music buyer Mike Henry and 11th Street Records owner Ronald Corso.
Along with the new names attached, the most significant change involves Downtown Project, which will come onboard as a sponsor. “A lot of it has to do with Ronald being in various peoples’ ears for a number of years about it,” Woodbridge explains. Adds Corso: “Once [DTP Ventures CEO] Mark Rowland heard about it, he was like, ‘What can we do to make it happen?’ … [Now] he wears his Neon Reverb shirt pretty frequently.”
Set for the weekend before South by Southwest in an attempt to catch acts en route to that massive Austin gathering, Neon Reverb’s 11th installment promises its traditional musical blend—indie rock, folk, hip-hop and more—from Vegas-based and rising touring bands, along with a few “headliner-type tentpoles,” Corso says. “EDC, Punk Rock Bowling, Life Is Beautiful—it’s great that they’re all here, but you could hold those anywhere,” Woodbridge says. “Neon Reverb has always been about our bands and our venues, and there’s something special about a truly Vegas festival.”
Previously a twice-annual fest, Neon Reverb will forgo its fall edition to focus on the spring, though organizers say they plan to maintain a “presence” throughout the year. The spring festival will likely include comedy acts, and could feature variety-show elements, burlesque and more. “The goal is to have it be like the height of the Neon Reverb festival in fall 2010,” Corso says, referring to the Reverb edition headlined by The Walkmen, Jeff the Brotherhood, Crocodiles, The Soft Pack and others. “That was a series of, ‘Wow, this town doesn’t suck’ moments, and it’s something we’ve missed a lot.”