On the tail of my interview with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Peter Hayes, I was also able to interview the curator of the Moon Block Party (and performer) Phil Pirrone. Check it out below and get your tix here.
HardRockChick: Can you give me a little history of the Moon Block Party, and your top memory from them to date?
Phil Pirrone: After a few events under different monikers, we landed in Pomona and started calling it Moon Block Party. Since then we’ve been creating events with a handful of artists and musicians. Top memory… I totally forgot, but it was tops.
HRC: What was the first live music experience you had that made you want to do this?
PP: I went to a punk rock show in Riverside, CA at a venue called The Barn, crowd surfed and was dropped on my ass on a concrete floor. That pretty much did it for me. I was hooked. Been playing and touring and then eventually putting on events ever since.
HRC: How does being a musician yourself make your festival a better experience for the bands and the fans?
PP: Perspective and attention to detail. But one main thing is we’ve experienced bad festivals, bad catering, bad hospitality, bad sound, bad staff and I think we know what not to do. With that said, it’s a process getting everything right and it’s taken us years to dial it in and we’re still working on it.
HRC: Speaking of that, tell me a little bit about your band(s).
PP: My current project is called JJUUJJUU. We are on the internet, but on Oct 18 we’ll be at Moon Block Party
HRC: What was your criteria for selecting the bands to play this year?
PP: We decided early on that we wanted this year’s Moon Block Party to be a rock n roll festival. We just noticed the void. My wife is in Deap Vally. My band JJUUJJUU is loud. We love Metz. We love BRMC. There’s a lot of festivals out there with a lot of keyboards and laptops on stage. So we’re here for all those folks that miss rock n roll, that are sick of there being like 2-3 rock n roll bands on a festival lineup. We just wanted a loud rock n roll festival with people playing real instruments. And for a second there, it looked like it may not have been fully realized, but we kept digging and digging and thinking when certain bands said no, and we continually came up with more rock bands to ask and thankfully, it really came together.
HRC: Who are you most excited to see that you haven’t seen yet? Who can you not wait to see that you’ve seen before? Who is someone you couldn’t get for the fest but wanted to?
PP: I’ve never seen Spoon, very excited about that one. I can’t wait to see Tinariwen again. Can’t answer that last one because we’ll be trying to get em for the next one and we never spill the beans on that stuff.
HRC: There are soooo many festivals these days. What makes yours different?
PP: Everything. Come and you’ll see. It doesn’t feel like a “big music festival”. It feels like everyone was invited to the same thing, if you know what I mean.
HRC: How would you describe patrons of your events?
PP: Creative, friendly, positive and fun
HRC: Looks like there’s going to be a lot of stuff besides music to do at the fest. What is something you’re super stoked on?
PP: I’m very excited for all of the visual artists set to contribute to the environment. We have Mad Alchemy liquid light show on one of the stages, Demonbabies creating some kind of psychedlic womb room, two chill out domes, Celeste Byers is working on some kind of beautiful optical illusion backdrop… Who knows what these projects will evolve into, but that’s the idea as of now. There’s going to be a lot to look at! Your brain will thank you.
HRC: What is your costume going to be for the costume contest?
PP: Festival Director. It’s a pretty simple costume – walkie talkie, slightly sweaty t-shirt, golf cart, smile, and an elevated heart rate