The big headline of Indie Grits last year was “Indie Grits Gets Ambitious.”
Free Times wrote:
Organizers say this year’s Indie Grits will be the biggest yet, with a festival-high 83 films and 30 bands — also a festival record — playing across multiple venues.
I contested this, noting that other years featured nearly 30 bands as well, and maybe 83 films was a high, but the years where Indie Grits lasted a full week and encompassed several different types of events at least seemed like bigger years.
The festival is known for being ambitious, having scaled up and down over the years and this year finding a sweet spot. We’ve seen it move down Main St., host block parties, partner with Slow Food Columbia, and tie their name with musical acts like Toro Y Moi, Big Freedia, Olivia Tremor Control, Lambchop, Mipso, Helado Negro, Jason Isbell, and of Montreal.
With this track record expectations are high when it comes to the music lineup, and understandably so. So, this year when the music lineup underwhelmingly trickled out, it felt slightly disappointing. Taking nothing away from the acts playing of course, it’s a great slate of locals, but the list above is the record the festival’s built.
There are lots of reasons for all of the changes over the years, and if you bring up the past music lineups or partnerships, you’ll hear a barrage of reasons for all the changes. It’s all moot.
The heart of the festival is of course the films and that’s what’s remained consistently great over the years and really all that matters. The music and other events involved are all bells and whistles and added bonuses. So our slight disappointment with the music is nothing compared to the fact that we’re excited about the films and to support the Nick, our local nonprofit cinema. We’ve seen it grow and blossom since 2006, and where it is today is pretty close to what we always dreamed it would be.
This year Indie Grits includes 90 movies, with nearly half of those being documentaries. Indie Grits Labs —the year round organization that not only hosts the festival, but serves the community through media education and artists driven projects — launched The Rural Project last year where 19 filmmakers focused on issues facing small towns and rural communities in the Southeast. Seven of these films are set to premiere at Indie Grits. These seven along with the largely documentary scope of this year’s programming offers a variety of glimpses into life in the South, both past and present.
Thursday March 27
Opening Night In Cottontown
5:00 PM-10:00 PM
Indie Grits opening night party covers three venues in Cottontown, SC for a night featuring 10 live bands, food trucks, and beer.
She Returns from War
The War Mouth
The Weeks Sisters
Friday March 28
The Weekly Revue
Where: Pastor’s Study (1635 Main Street) above Lula Drake
ZY YEAR (House band for the Revue)
Where: Richland County Public Library
7:00 PM-11:00 PM
Saturday March 29
Indie Grits Closing Party
Where: 1216 Taylor St.