It’s been a while since a librarian “shushed” a patron at the Westport Library.
Like many other libraries, ours evolved into a town center. It’s a place for conversation and community. There’s a MakerSpace for discovery, a café for coffee, a stage with a beautiful piano.
But it’s unlikely that any library has done what Westport’s will do April 8-10. That’s the weekend for VersoFest: a unique, immersive music and media festival and conference.
For 3 days, the Library will rock even more than usual.
Concerts, panels and workshops with Grammy winners, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member, 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 Friday night. Spin Magazine calls them “the most powerful all-female band in rock history,” and Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page gave thumbs-up to their blistering arrangements and note-for-note sounds.
Talking Heads fans get a double dose on Saturday. In the afternoon, co-founder and drummer Chris Frantz joins WPKN general manager Steve DiCostanzo in a livestreamed conversation about Frantz’s new memoir, Remain in Love.
That night, Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Artists showcases Enid Ze, a futuristic African pop band from Bridgeport. Their debut album was produced by composer Chris Ruggiero.
The opening band is Deniprobably, an indie group from New Haven.
Saturday’s schedule is filled with other workshops too.
Michael Jai White, a Bridgeport actor/writer/director with over 100 film and TV credits, is building an international production center in New Haven. His keynote speech will cover his life, career and vision for Jaigantic Studios.
Vibe Magazine editor Datwon Thomas, Grammy engineering winner Emily Lazar and Verso Studios’ audio producer Travis Bell will join Dick Wingate — a Westport record executive who worked with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Aimee Mann, Peter Tosh and Pink Floyd — to discuss music production .
Hands-on 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.
Sunday’s “bagel brunch” features international best-selling author (and Westport resident) Jane Green. Her new novel Sister Stardust looks at the Rolling Stones’ 1960s travels and travails in Marrakesh.
Josie Jo Armistead — a soul music Renaissance woman, former Ikette, recording artist, record label owner and songwriter — will be interviewed by Beehive Queen and “Saturday Night Live” tour de force Christine Ohlman.
The final performance is by groundbreaking young blues visionary Selwyn Birchwood. His band includes a sax, bass, drums and keyboard.
In the works for over a year, the event is an extension of Verso Studios — the Library’s media resource and production hub/cultural and learning center. Verso offers cutting-edge facilities for multimedia production and events, including a hybrid-analog recording studio, and a stage with an 18-foot LED screen; state-of-the-art lighting, video and digital projection, and seating for over4 00 people.
First Selectwoman Jen Tooker hails the Music & Media Festival as one more way for the Library to build innovative community. She calls Verso Studios “the perfect venue.”
“06880” is proud to join WPKN as a media sponsor of this event. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce is co-producing all 3 concerts.
The panels are free. The concerts and workshops are ticketed events. Click here for more information.