Launch is a multidisciplinary audio and visual festival. The event aims to create an experience that allows Sacramento artists to join forces in producing a creative community that works for art and the community. Launch brings together artistic individuals to Sacramento to showcase local and national works of art, music and design in one place.
The event will include live music by Little Foxes, D.A.M.B., Exquisite Corps, ReSA, The Dreaded Diamond and Chain Gang of 1974, as well as many others scheduled to appear. Artists, DJs, fashion designers, architects and many other Sacramento trendsetters will be there to showcase their talents.
Artists scheduled to be on hand are Aaron Kraten, Brady Tuazon, Chelsea Greene Lewyta, Jeff Dojillo, Jeff Felker, Joel Lee, John Horton, Keith Telfeyan, Kristina Collantes, Micah Crandall-Bear, Nicholas Wray Wilson and Raoul Ortega. Fashion designers Van der Neer, Miss Chief of California and Adrienne Cheng are also expected to be on hand.
Architecture exhibits are on the menu as well. The Launch Festival is a sensory experience that’s sure to delight visitors.
I was able to get a few minutes with event founder Michael Hargis and conducted a short interview.
Sacramento Press: Can you tell me what your role in the event entails?
Michael Hargis: I’m the event coordinator and organizer of Launch.
SP: How was the name Launch derived?
MH: I’ll try to give you a little history. I’m an architectural designer, so I think that from a designer perspective approaching the city of Sacramento I saw it as a blank canvas. The ideology behind the word Launch was that if we could get enough creative people together, in one place, and rally behind a similar vision, we could take Sacramento to another place, in essence elevating Sacramento. Promoting the feel and culture of the city was a main goal and that’s kind of how Launch came about.
SP: How long has Launch been going on?
MH: This is the third year under the name Launch. We actually did another show that was very similar to this four years ago called The Movement of Design and it was the first show we did that included runway fashion. A fashion inspired art show, live music and vending gave us a little formula that worked but we wanted to take it into another level so we came together with a new group of people and called it Launch.
SP: Has Launch always been held at the Greens Hotel?
MH: We held it the first year at the Greens Hotel. The second year we went to the Artisan which is also in Del Paso. We have a little bit of affection for that vicinity. There’s actually a history of art in the Del Paso area. It was the original site for the Second Saturday Art Walk. There’s a little bit of history we wanted to tap into by doing events there. It will be the second time the event will be held at the Greens and we’re even more excited to hold the event there once again this year.
SP: I was out there taking some pictures of sculptures last month. It seems to be growing.
MH: It’s unfortunate that the economy and everything else that’s happening today has made an impact there. That area really hasn’t been revitalized yet. A couple of years ago there were a lot of developers that were starting to pour some money into that area. Dan Friedlander, who actually owns the Greens building and also owns Limn Furniture, has been a big proponent of revitalizing the area and he actually has a history of doing the same thing in San Francisco. He moved his furniture, Limn Furniture, into the old meat packing district in San Francisco and totally turned the whole area around. Friedlander also being a creative guy and being a designer saw a similar opportunity in Del Paso. I think it has potential to get there but it’s not quite there. I feel like we’re trying to help support his vision as well.
SP: What do you do to get everything together for the event?
MH: There’s a group of us and I think one of the most endearing things about Launch is that many of us are like a family. What we’re doing is more like trying to create a movement rather than trying to create an event. We’re trying to develop another little piece of history. About five years ago, a buddy of mine told me about a music scene in Tennessee and they were so engaged in their music culture and community they sort of branded themselves with the same tattoo. They rallied together and they really believed in this music scene. He was just telling me how close the community was and when I heard that it inspired me to want to do something like that in Sacramento. What I did know was design; I myself am an architectural designer so my sphere kind of went into graphic design and art. So the event itself and how it all came together came from the input from many people who are in charge of those art areas. I’m kind of like the overseer of the event. It’s a team of people who put this together.
SP: Where do you see this going three to five years from now?
MH: Our goal is to be somewhere between a mix of a Coachella Music Festival and a South by Southwest. We’d like to have an event that’s a city based event, something that potentially becomes a national attraction for Sacramento. Something that boosts the economy and really puts us on the map as far as music and design.
SP: Those are some hefty goals.
MH: I’m actually talking to the Crocker Art Museum about doing the event there next year. That’s an exciting opportunity; we feel it’s just a natural progression of where we’re heading. It’s kind of moving or making bigger leaps every year.
SP: If Launch was to leave a legacy behind, what would you like it to be?
MH: Bringing awareness to what we have to offer here locally as far as creativity, and building a community of people so we’re not so disjointed. I think building a community of people who believe in something bigger than themselves, who believe in this city and want to see amazing things happen in Sacramento. I think that if we can look back, in let’s say 10 years and say wow, this was the start of something great for this city, then that would be awesome.
SP: What do you want the Sacramento audience to know about this program or event? What can people expect?
MH: Well I don’t know if you saw our website, we had a recent cancellation of one of our headlining acts, Neon Indian, which is a bit of a disappointment. However, we have come back and in a matter of two days came back with one of the more stellar music acts that we can imagine. We’ve actually replaced one act with five new acts and one of the music acts I just can’t say enough about. They’re one of my favorites, it’s just a God thing, and it just had to be. This music act just fell into our hands; they’re the Chain Gang of 1974. They’re an indie pop group that’s so much fun and they’re one of my personal favorite bands. I’ve been listening to them while I drive in my car and actually I had been thinking about booking them next year for Launch, then this turned out and they were available. So even though it’s a little disappointment in not having Neon Indian, to me the music is just great. Another thing that’s kind of special is that Scott Hansen, who goes under the name iso50 or Tycho, has decided to do a live video mixing session for the Little Foxes set. This guy travels all over the world speaking on design and interactive and graphic design. He’s iconic, so to have him come in at the last minute and say, “okay yeah, I’ll do visuals,” that’s very special.
SP: Can you tell me just a little bit more about yourself?
MH: Well let’s see from ’95 to the first part of ’99 I created events for San Francisco. I took a small event that went from around 700 people to a crowd of about 15,000 in our third year. I enjoy gathering people. I have a desire to see people come together and build things. Other than doing the events and doing architecture, I also love being a part of bringing some creative retail concepts to Sacramento. I’m working with a group of guys trying to do some other cool and creative things.
SP: That’s all the questions I have. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
MH: One thing I’d like to make sure that gets out there is that even though I’m kind of the head guy, this is definitely a team event. It doesn’t happen without everybody coming together and there are so many selfless people involved in the project and they do it just because they believe in it and they love it. It’s a humbling experience to work with so many people who are so giving and so charitable with their time, money and their lives. I would love to give a shout out to the team, everybody involved. So many amazing people – talented, creative and amazing people – are just inspirational to see so many involved in the event.
With that I ended my interview. Hargis and his team have been working tirelessly to put this event together and I’m sure the work will continue until the last minute.
The Greens hotel, located at 1700 Del Paso Boulevard, will host Launch 2011 on Saturday, July 23 at 5 p.m. Many live acts, arts and fashion, as well as other creative individuals will be on hand to celebrate the event. Tickets can be purchased by going to Ticket Leap.