Maybe because I want to look forward to when the oppressive heat begins to give way to the cool of the early fall, I’ve decided to focus on one of Baltimore’s newest late summer festivals, Scapescape. The name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Baltimore tradition of Artscape send-ups (e.g. Starscape, Ratscape, Whartscape, etc.), and the festival was first organized last year filling a void left by the demise of Whartscape in 2010. But Scapescape’s main organizer, Dave Underhill, is careful to emphasize that the Wham City organized festival only inspired Scapescape in part.
Either way, Underhill’s -scape continues the tradition of oversize, local-band-and-artist-driven summer blowouts, occupying stages inside and outside of the Windup Space and Metro Gallery, as well as various art galleries, August 30 – September 2. Of the 50-plus bands already announced (more to come!), Wye Oak, Celebration, Dope Body, and Arbouretum are among the bigger names. Unlike Whartscape (which I promise to stop mentioning), Scapescape draws from exclusively local talent.
I interviewed the festival’s main organizer, Dave Underhill, who offered a little more insight into Scapescape’s beginnings, as well as what we can expect this year.
What prompted the first Scapescape? Was it the end of Whartscape?
Actually, what prompted the first Scapescape was the impending closure of the Gspot. My friend and co-organizer Reuben Kroiz, who founded the venue, wanted to orchestrate a blowout festival to send it off. He had just recently been to see my now-defunct band the Suits and asked if we wanted to play this with our friends in the now-(criminally)defunct band We Used to Be Family. Since we were the first he asked, I offered to do one better and help organize the entire show. As we were in a bar, also present were Dan Deacon, Ed Harris of Big in Japan, and Brandon Arinoldo of Sri Aurobindo. I asked all three if they wanted to play a festival for the Gspot. All were willing, and the show snowballed in size from there. So a lot of credit goes to those guys for helping us get started.