There are plenty of music festivals determined to grow in spite of their meager cultural surroundings, but the Konsept Music and Arts Festival has always been a little different. From the beginning, the event's organizers have taken pride in growing the event alongside the community that surrounds it. Konsept Fest evolved from a one-day-festival taking place in a empty marketplace (now 4th Street Market) to a full blown three-day event that takes place throughout 4th street in downtown SanTana. Tyson Pruong, the event's creator of Konsept Arts Collective, says that since the event's inception back in 2012, the group's annual cultural celebration has taken on a new, exciting shape, just as the collective has, remodeling itself as a Record Label as of last June.
“We were offered a distribution deal with a major record company and it will be official by the end of the year,” Pruong says.
Still, the premise remains the same — to put on a event for the city that he loves and provide local artists and musicians a platform to showcase their talents. Pruong says Konsept will continue to serve Santa Ana with monthly art walk events, The East End Block Party and, of course, their flagship festival.
According to Pruong the shift to focus on the musicians doesn’t take away from the collective that they worked so hard to build. “We’re still a family and we still see each other every day,” he says. “What I think a lot of people don’t understand is we built a family structure so even though we’re not a collective anymore, we’re all still involved in the community." Running a record label has proven to be a learning experience and Pruong is taking it in strides and looks forward to the opportunities and challenges but for now he’s focussing his efforts to make the 4th annual Konsept Art & Music Festival bigger and better than it's ever been before.
“It’s not just about bringing out headliners and big name artists. For me it’s about the underground and local artists opening up for them and providing them with the opportunity to play alongside some of the bigger acts,” he says. “It’s about bringing attention to the city and bringing attention to the artists that run the city all year long.” This year's festival will showcase ten different local promoters hosting ten different stages in which they were given the creative freedom to curate lineups, changing up the direction, and drawing in a more diverse crowd.
Returning to the festival is OCML (Orange County Music League), “We worked with them last year for the first time for the festival and we liked the vibe that they give out so we definitely wanted them involved again,” he says. In addition to OCML, reoccurring promoters include FeelGood Collective, Pacific Nature, GCS and SOCAL Radio (who will be live streaming the stage), ROTU (who will be putting on a curated art show with Obey Clothing). Kicking off the event Friday night is Beat Cinema, hosting the pre-event beat battle at the Frida Cinema, featuring Exile, House Shoes and Thavius Beck (music industry legends) as the judges. New to the festival is Diced Pineapple (a new EDM nightlife scene group) and Sic Transit Entertainment (A multimedia entertainment company that work with all types of artists, from bands, models, photographers to designers).
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Many of the artists who have been with Konsept since the beginning can attest to the impact and local engagement the festivals and art walks provide for the community. “What Tyson and Konsept are doing for the community is providing a younger generation of kids with the opportunity to experience live music by local artists,” says rapper Karlton Phresh who performs on Saturday at the SOCAL Radio stage. “And in result possibly [it’s] inspiring them to pick up a guitar or lay down a verse and hopefully encourage them to be creative in one way or the other," he says.
Konsept Festival takes place at various locations on 4th St. in Downtown Santa Ana, Nov. 4-7th, for full stage and ticket info, visit www.facebook.com/konseptproject