Projektfest Returns

Projekt label-founder Sam Rosenthal has resurrected the Projektfest. The music festival will happen in Philadelphia on July 30 and 31 for Projektfest.

This will be the 9th label festival and the first since 2002. Projektfest'10 will be a weekend of dark rock and indie music at the legendary Trocadero Theatre.

"I've navigated the waters of the music industry for most of my adult life," Sam says. "I love what I do, and I've got it to the point where the label is fun to work at and provide a minimal amount of drama. I am releasing Projekt's 245th CD this year, I have not succumbed to the downward spiral that prevades most of the industry. Actually, the label is more profitable than ever. Why? Because we love what we do and we keep in touch with our fans. People have this idea that musicians are aloof and unapproachable. My idea behind the festival to break down the barriers and bring the fans and bands together."

Projektfest is a hands-on event for Rosenthal, a light-hearted guy with a casual manner and an easy smile. The festival features a sampling of artists from the Projekt's roster, including Rosenthal's own Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Lovesliescrushing, Unto Ashes, Weep, Makaras Pen and five others.

Rosenthal's dark rock outfit Black Tape For A Blue Girl recently released their 10th studio album, a collection of boisterously indecent character sketches performed in theatrical cabaret style. Keyboardist/guitarist Rosenthal is joined by vocalist Athan Maroulis (formerly of the pioneering electronic band Spahn Ranch), drummer Brian Viglione (of the Dresden Dolls) and Philadelphia-native dark cabaret chanteuse Nicki Jaine.

Projektfest'10 will also introduce the label's newest signee, Weep, the musical side of Doc Hammer, co-creator of Cartoon Network's The Venture Bros. "Worn Thin," the first full-length from the New York City band, takes their aggressive and firmly pop-structured songs to a place of heightened grandeur within Weep's guitar and drum-driven dark rock sound.

"Projekt welcomes every insane idea as long as the music is beautiful and the quality is excellent," Hammer said. "Projekt gives artists the freedom to fall on their ass or make a true piece of art. And that is something only a label run by a working artist can offer...The opportunity to make art and find an audience that appreciates it."

The first Projektfest was held in 1996 in Chicago, where the label was based. Rosenthal took a break from the festival after 2002 to focus on raising his son, but Black Tape For A Blue Girl's tour earlier this year brought out the festival-itch, and Rosenthal began making arrangements for its return.

"I throw these festivals to bring us together, to give the fans great music and to give the bands a chance to connect to fans of other label acts," Rosenthal said.

In keeping with this philosophy, Projektfest'10 kicks off with a "Meet Up," where fans, artists, and Projekt staff can meet and mingle prior to the show at the Hampton Inn, on Friday beginning at 2 p.m. Fans can gather again on Saturday at the hotel, which will host a Day Stage and Merchants Bazaar from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The festival is a 2-day event presented in conjunction with the Philadelphia-based Dracula's Ball, a gothic/industrial music night held Saturday Night at Shampoo. The Digital Ferret record store will also host a pre-event on Thursday.

"Hosting a label festival is really a blast," Rosenthal said. "Hanging out with bands I usually only communicate with by email. Meeting the label's fans. We sold a pair of tickets to a couple from Anchorage, Alaska. That's dedication to the music! Our fans stick with us because they know we're the real thing, we're people who love this music, and make songs for people who love music."

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