12-band music fest returns to Garvin

Megan Thorne

Andrea Wirth (left) and Melini Boza (right) of the Honey Vines perform folk music with a rock and roll influenece, during last year’s ParksFest at Garvin Park. They will return to perform at ParksFest Saturday.

Alex Mourer said he wants ParksFest to make people as happy as possible.

ParksFest will take place  at Garvin Park, featuring 12 live bands, including Shooter Jennings, Davina & The Vagabonds, Willie Watson and The Honey Vines.

Mourer got involved with ParksFest after hearing about a poll saying that Evansville was in the top 10 most miserable cities. This news inspired him to make a change.

“That’s not how I feel about Evansville at all. If I’m gonna live here and if I want to raise a family here, then I want a different outlook on my city,” Mourer said. “I don’t want my city to be known for that.”

At the time Mourer said he didn’t know that his motivation would turn into a music festival, but he knew he wanted to do something to make people happy.

“I want to change the mindset of people and to show that Evansville isn’t really a miserable place at all,” Mourer said.

The core value of ParksFest is to create a fun day in Evansville that people can come to without spending any money, he said.

“We like to provide a night of entertainment that you would expect to pay for, but we offer it completely free,” Mourer said.

ParksFest will have food, children activities, bouncy houses, zorb balls, a beer garden and Art the Dude.

Art the Dude, who sings and plays harmonica, will play at 11 a.m. At 12:30 p.m. he puts on a harmonica workshop, where he gives the participants all a free harmonica.

There is always a big crowd of children surrounding Art the Dude learning how to play Harmonica, Mourer said.

“This might be the only exposure they have to have someone teaching them to play music,” Mourer said. “Hopefully, it inspires them to pick up an instrument.”

This year ParksFest will have different genres of music such as Americana, country, bluegrass, rock and roll, jazz, funk and folk, Mourer said. They want to have something for everyone’s music taste, especially since they have three national touring acts coming in for the event.

Factor: Primo, a band originating from the Evansville area, will be making a comeback performance this year at ParksFest, Patrick Preston said.

Preston, the band’s leader, keyboard player and vocalist, said that last year’s performance “was a great performance and amazing crowd. I guess it was no question that we would be back this year.”

Preston describes Factor: Primo’s musical style as “funk-pop fusion.” He said the band’s motto is “One band, one goal, great music.”

“We love to stretch out the musicality of our original songs as well as the cover tunes that we play,” he said.

Preston said he and the rest of Factor: Primo are look forward to playing for children, teens and seniors, considering they usually play late nights.

“We hope that the momentum and vibration of this year’s ParksFest,” said Preston, “will carry over into 2016 and will expand beyond our imagination.”