About Weapons of Mass Creation Fest
Art, design, film, and music. A celebration of creative visionaries who defy the hand they're dealt.
I'm Jeff Finley, artist and designer and part owner of Go Media. I'm starting an art, film, and music fest. This May, I'm bringing amazing talent to Cleveland, OH for a two day celebration with some of my favorite artists, designers, bands, and filmmakers. It's like DIY version of SXSW. For years I've been going to similar conventions and wondered why nothing that cool ever came to Cleveland. One sleepless night I felt this surging desire to start it myself. My plan was to take my inspirations and start a movement of my own.
On May 22 and 23 artists, designers, nerds, film geeks, musicians, punks, and hippies will all gather at Parish Hall in the Gordon Square Arts District of Cleveland. There will be film screenings, punk rock and indie/folk bands, and creative entreprenuers giving talks and workshops. This all happens in the midst of a supercharged art show featuring some of my favorite artists and designers from across the country. And if we're lucky a few of them might share their insights in collaborative panel discussion or demonstrations. It's truly something for the creative community to experience.
Where did I get this idea?
The past 3 or 4 years Iíve been going to Fests. Mostly punk rock and folk music fests like Berea Fest, DIT Fest, and of course THE Fest. I went to SXSW in 2006 and the Cleveland Film Festival in 2009. All of them were inspiring to me, but not just from a listener/watcher perspective, but from an entrepreneurís perspective. I love seeing it all go down Ė how people are gathering together and building a community around something they love. I love the idea of SXSW, how they werenít just another music fest, but also a film festival and web/tech tradeshow and conference. Thatís a pretty awesome event, but it was so expensive and so far away.
A few months ago I was lying in bed awake at night and had an ďaha moment.Ē Why donít I just create a mini SXSW in Cleveland but do it the way I want on a much smaller scale? Instead of wishing there was a fest that celebrated all the cool things I was inspired by, I would go out and create it. Brilliant! A fest about art, design, film, and music Ė all based around an authentic and heartfelt DIY spirit. I wanted a fest that would attract people who were into the same stuff.
Weapons of Mass Creation.
A celebration of creative visionaries who defy the hand they were dealt.
The idea was to celebrate what I value in all forms of creativity: honesty, passion, integrity, authenticity, and emotion. Youíll notice a trend in the movies I see and write about. Iím a realism junkie and documentary lover. Most films I find myself loving are documentaries or fiction told with a documentary aesthetic. I appreciate art, film, and music that expresses the spirit of the creator. The more transparent the work, the more I gravitate towards it. I admire blue collar, hard working people. I admire artists who are bold and bare their souls in whatever medium they choose to express themselves in. Iím attracted to lo-fi, obscure, and the otherwise rejected by the mainstream. I value community, sharing, and positivity and those values carry over into this fest.
Who is coming to WMC Fest?
Official guests, aka WMC's, are hand picked by myself and WMC co-founder Adam Wagner. We act as official curators and we usually pick people who inspire us in some way or another. Whether it's through their tangible craft such as art, music, or film, or their inspirational role as a leader in the creative community. We've put together a list of artists, bands, filmmakers, and speakers who we are bringing to Cleveland for WMC this year. For more info on the criteria for how we select our WMC's, check out the WMC Manifesto.
What to Expect
The first year of WMC Fest will be small and low-key. 10 of our favorite bands that weíve established relationships with over the years. Iím going to try to get a few of my favorite filmmakers into Cleveland to screen their films. Weíll just be doing it DIY style with a DVD player or digital projector and a screen. Itís going to be like youíre watching a movie with your friends, except the filmmakers will be there to talk about it with you. And artists weíve met over the years who are involved in this scene will be showing their work and talking about their craft and business. The costs of entry will be affordable and fans will be able to interact and mingle with their favorite artists and peers.