Photo by Roger Gupta.

Written by Alejandro Beach.

In 2019, the state of the music festival scene is that of saturation; an amazing event with all of your favorite artists is happening every other weekend, and usually not too far from home. Every year, another festival has its inaugural event, and seemingly, an equal amount of festivals call it quits. In such a fluid market, small and midsize festivals are usually the first in line to the chopping block. The Werk Out Music and Arts Festival has stood the test of time, not by just having an eclectic lineup, having quality production, or by the community it has built over the past decade, but by achieving all these things and more. In its tenth year, The Werk Out X will be bringing one of the most meticulously curated festival lineups to the midwest. Producer, talent buyer, and drummer of The Werks, Rob Chafin, provides some insight into what’s in store for attendees for this year’s Werk Out Festival.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the Werk Out. Tell me a little bit about what makes Werk Out X stand out from prior years?
Year 10 is very special to us because of how hard it is to keep an outdoor music festival going for that long.  There are so many people who have put their blood, sweat, tears, and love into this festival, and it is the sum of everyone’s hard work, dedication, and perseverance.   That being said, we are going BIG for this year’s event and stepping it up across the board. We feel like the lineup is very diverse and has something for everyone, and we are looking forward to some serious collaborations and sit ins this year!

The Werks

I’ve always respected the talent buying team of the Werk Out, especially in terms of musical diversity. To have headliners ranging from Steel Pulse, Big Gigantic, and The Claypool Lennon Delirium, to name just a few, is bold and inventive. What drives you to kind of push the envelope on what genres are represented on your lineup?
Thank you!  We like to listen to the fans and get feedback on who they want to see.  We also like to bring acts people wouldn’t expect to be on the lineup, or are a new act we want to introduce to the festival.  This year especially, we wanted to make the lineup very well rounded and eclectic, just like The Werks! We are always about collaborations and special sets, so we wanted those to be heavy this year.  We are VERY stoked for The Wall Tribute with Papadosio, Dopapod and The Werks!

The view from the top of the hill at Legend Valley. Photo by Roger Gupta.

Legend Valley is one of the most well-known (and my favorite) festival grounds in Ohio. How long had the Werk Out existed before you landed on LV, and what brought about that choice of venue?
Legend Valley is an incredible venue with so much history there.  We are very honored to be able to call it home. The first two years were at Zane Shawnee Caverns in Bellefountaine, Ohio.  The Caverns are also a very special place, and we had such amazing times “growing up” there. However, after year two it was clear we needed to find a bigger venue, and Legend Valley was the next logical step.

Photo by Roger Gupta.

Apart from the music, what else are you excited for at this years Werk Out?
We are so very lucky to have one of the best communities in the world.  The people make The Werk Out what it is. Everyone always talks about how the vibes at The Werk Out are second to none, and it is because the fans really are all about love and community.  Also, I am very excited for the Arts side of the festival, as we are working hard to bring in incredible painters and performers, as well as werkshops and yoga!

Photo by Roger Gupta.

I won’t lie, I’m usually not very excited about tribute act announcements at festivals. That said, the two tribute sets (one for Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and the other paying homage to the music of Queen) are a few of the sets I’m most excited for this year. What inspired you to bring together such incredible groups of musicians to perform in these tribute sets?
The Wall was inspired by year five at The Werk Out, when Papadosio, Dopapod and The Werks came together to recreate Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.  We felt it was only fitting for year 10 to go back and recreate selections from The Wall! We are so very excited about this one! The Queen Tribute is the brain child of Kenny Holmes, who helped put together an all-star cast!  Super stoked for both of those!

Michael Travis. Photo by Doug Fondriest.

Seeing The Trancident announcement was really cool for two reasons: First, they’re comprised of a major part of The String Cheese Incident, and second, I’ve never even heard of this particular Cheese side project before. Can tell me a little bit about what what’s in store for those of us who haven’t had the chance to see The Trancident before?
Yes!  The Trancident features Jason Hann, Michael Travis, Michael Kang, and Kyle Hollingsworth of The String Cheese Incident.  This is a very rare set and will be a dance party!  They are basically EOTO on steroids, throwing down some incredible Trance and Electro-Funk Dance music!  This is definitely not a set to miss!

Read our interview with Michael Travis about The Trancident.

Being one of only a few festivals to have announced Dopapod on their lineup so far summer, how excited are you to welcome them back to the Werk Out after their hiatus last year?
So very excited! We love Dopapod, they are the super homies, and we are very happy they are back at The Werk Out!  They are staples of the festival and glad to have them for year 10 in a big way!

Photo by Roger Gupta.

What would you consider to be one of the must-see sets of the weekend? (I know that’s a tough one considering the lineup you’ve put together this year, but try your best!)
Claypool Lennon Delirium is going to be epic, Les Claypool is one of my favorite performers!  Steel Pulse is going to be a great act for everyone who has always asked for real Reggae, they are LEGENDS!  Matisyahu is also a legend and very excited to have him as well. One of the best sets of the weekend will be Norman’s Big Damn Jam, featuring Johnny Neel (of The Allman Brothers), Todd Stoops (of RAQ, Electric Beethoven), Dino Dimitrouleas, The Werks, and many more awesome acts!  Obviously, everyone on the lineup are top notch, you gotta see everyone! 🙂

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