Being a band is easy. Being a band that stands out, especially in an era inundated with new bands at every corner of the Internet, is not. That's why Derek Lancioni, drummer of Charles the Osprey, brings Fes2val to Grand Rapids.
When Osprey was first coming together, Lancioni and band mate Rafael Ohli (guitar) developed a philosophy for their music writing.
"It became kind of a challenge where it was like, we need to write so that we don't ever need a third member."
Fes2val started in 2008 after Lancioni and Ohli envisioned a festival to celebrate two-man bands with philosophies similar to theirs. Though the groups are small in member count, there will be no lack of showmanship with 15 bands scheduled to play alongside Osprey for Fes2val 2011.
"We get two stages and each band gets a half hour, so we just ping-pong the crowd back and forth."
Spanning genres in the realm of Osprey's instrumental and math rock to comedy pop and hip-hop, the stipulations are pretty low and simple for Fes2val: two-man bands ONLY. Even negotiations with widely known talent They Might Be Giants had to be called off when Lancioni discovered the band no longer performs as a two-piece. It's all about staying true to two.
Fes2val 2008 was held on the Blue Bridge over the Grand River and the Gilette Bridge immediately north in 2009 — not quite the average places for concerts.
"The two-man band is unconventional, so I didn't want to do it in a conventional setting," Lancioni said.
Lancioni anticipates Fes2val 2011 at Wealthy Theatre; not quite a bridge this time, but with a parking lot planned for the unconventional playing space and a backup roof in case rain imposes like it did for Fes2val 2009.
"It's unfortunately a lot more expensive to move it inside, but we do have that contingency built in just in case."
Fes2val 2011 will be majorly funded by Osprey's finances, and Lancioni hopes to grant the money made back to the community in order to demonstrate how much bands of two can stand out and prove what they can do.
"We've never been about walking away with a bunch of money, so pairing up with Wealthy Theatre is a really nice thing so that way any profits we make can go to them as part of their restoration."