How many have you have ever been to I-4 Fest? Well, I can tell you that you have been missing out on one of my personal favorite local festivals and a fun 4th of July. With 26 bands on two stages, the one inside the coffee shop that you know and love and the BIG one outside in the parking lot, everywhere you go there is so much great local music! The fun only starts there as there will be hot dogs and hamburgers (vegan choices too) on the grill outside, plus their wonderful normal menu will be available including the iced coffee's and sandwiches they are known for. Beer and wine are also available and you will be ready for a few of those out in that July sun. The local Artisans that come out and bring a wide variety of things from art, t-shirts, amazing jewelry and the last couple years have brought us blown glass products as well, the best thing about that is you can watch them blow glass all day! So, for 7 bucks this is a dream day, grab your friends and bring them along. Every year there is a band that triggers FREE BEER while they are performing and I just got the skinny that it will be "Sweet Cambodia" that will start the kegs a flowing this year. Now, keep in mind this festival runs from 12pm to 12am on July 4th and I know some of you are like that is TOO long and too hot. Well, the good news is that your armband will allow you to come & go as you please, so if you need to go home to catch some A/C, you totally can. I was fortunate enough to be able to lend a hand last year at the Orlando Hipsters booth and I might get to be there again this year, so stop in and say your hello's to us but, we can tell you this is a great time, but, you have to experience it for yourself. We wanted to find out a little history on this 11 year festival and so I was asked by OHIP to take a few minutes to interview one of the owners, Jackie Moore, she is the heart and soul of getting this festival together every year. So, check out some of the answers we got when we asked her a few questions:
Q: How many years have you been a part owner of Austin's Coffee?
A: Brothers, Stephen & Sean Moore, are the other two owners and we have been in charge for 10 years now.
Q: How long had you been coming to Austin's Coffee before you invested to buy it?
A: Well, that is a funny story actually, me personally one time, lol. Out of the three of us Stephen was the regular and just happened to suggest being owners at a time when Sean and I were looking to invest and expand into business. I am sure Sean came several times more than that. It was a time when Austin's needed help and so we stepped in and rescued it.
Q: Did you have coffee and restaurant experience?
A: Well, I am sure we all had food service experience on an employee level, but, we were excited to get into a coffee shop!
Q: How did I-4 Fest come around?
A: It was a necessity to throw this festival, because as it so happened the owner, Joe Royal, let the cat out of the bag and let his clients know that he was closing. So, in order to get the attention of the clients and show them we were here and show them that Austin's was not going anywhere we came up with the I -4 Fest! Save us by getting all the people to come back and give us a chance.
Q: How can local musicians and artisans be a part of the festival?
A: They can reach out to me on Facebook or at Austin's and let us know they are interested in participating. I start putting things together in February and March so I have to get permits all of that together. But, I am starting to reach out to Artists, Musicians, and Artisans of all types to see if they are interested in being a part of the event. The best way to be a part really is be heard, if I see that you are getting a lot of attention and that you have had shown in the past it makes me more likely to pick your band on sheer professionalism.
Q: How integral do you think Austin's Coffee has been in the local music community?
A: Well, I have to say there was times when we were really involved and integral in that scene and we are focused on bring it back to its former glory! I mean we have helped launch people to where they are now by giving them a stage to play on and some have been on TV and gone on to tour globally. To name a few of the more famous people to have played at Austin's Coffee's stage we have had Très Bien, Trey Hester, Danny Shay and Roadkill Ghost Choir as well. I am sure there are others those are just the ones that I know of that definitely went on to better things. We are proud of that.
Q: Is it true that you have an open mic every day of the week?
A: Not quite, we have Sunday: Comedy, Monday: Freestyle hip-hop, Tuesday: Singer Songwriter Open Mic, Wednesday: Spoken Word/Poetry Open Mic, Thursday: Jazz Jam Night and then Friday's and Saturdays are random events of all types, mostly music. It is rare that we don't have something going on in the evenings for sure.
Q: What is your FAVORITE thing about I-4 Fest?
A: When it started, it was not meant to be I-4 Fest, it actually was supposed to be Independence 4 Festival, that 4 was of course for 4th of July, but, it meant more than that it meant Independent music, art, coffee shop and YOU! So, the 4 is a nod to that as well, and so that true meaning is a favorite thing. What I want to actually talk about it a favorite thing that used to happen and I wish it would come back, used to be people would be costumed and crazy all in patriotic colors, this is what we need to make sure we get that true feel of freedom and let's KEEP Austin's WEIRD and we mean it! Another awesome thing this year PUNK is back in a big way!!! Come early because it will hit the ground running this year with Warm Like Winter kicking it off early!
Well, a big thank you to Jackie Moore of Austin's Coffee taking the time to talk to Orlando Hipsters today and helping us spread that Local LOVE with their wonderful festival! Get your Red, White and Blue on and bring yourself out for all the fun you can handle. If you have never been to Austin's you become family when you step in the door! So, once again this will start on July 4th at noon and run to midnight! Pets and children welcome! See you up at the stage!!!