PHOTOS: Minerva full of exclusive bands, says fest organizer

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Rick Dunsford has always wanted more.
Dunsford has been booking rock shows in the Tupelo area for the last several years, and he’s always wanted to bring in more bands, to have more shows.
After staging a successful St. Patrick’s Day music festival at Main Street Bar and Grill last year, Dunsford wanted to expand that idea. He teamed with Christian White to form this year’s Minerva Music Festival, Tupelo’s first alternative music festival.
“Yes, it is a rock festival, but it’s not necessarily just one kind of rock,” he said. “There’s hard rock, punk rock, pop rock. …We wanted to get all kinds of music in there.”
Dunsford said he tried to book bands who aren’t touring much, so Tupelo rock fans can see artists they can’t see anywhere else.
“I’m most excited about Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. They’ve never been here before. It’s something fresh for Tupelo,” he said.
Other bands, like Gotham Road, Whole Wheat Bread, The Luchagors and Saving Abel, are all coming into town just for this event.
If this year’s Minerva is a success – and it may well be, since all VIP tickets are sold out – Dunsford and White hope to make this an annual event.
“It’s historic for Tupelo,” Dunsford said. “And, what else are you gonna do this Saturday?”

Forever & Never says goodbye, Mourning Party says hello


TUPELO – Out of the ashes of Forever & Never comes Mourning Party.
Tupelo rock fans know Forever & Never, a pop-rock band based out of the Tupelo/Fulton area that released a successful EP, “Calling the Shots,” in 2008. But due to multiple member changes and the need to go in a different musical direction, the two original Forever & Never members, Will Thornton and Tyler Eden, are starting a new band, Mourning Party.
Forever & Never’s last show is the Minerva Music Festival, where the band will open the Main Stage at noon.
“It’s really cool, because Tupelo’s been so nice to us,” Thornton said. “(Minerva) will give people a chance to shine for a day, and it gives a band a chance to play with a bigger band you look up to.”
Thornton said fans can expect to hear Forever & Never’s pop rock sound, as well as hints toward Mourning Party’s sound, which he describes as heavy and dark. But the change is a part of a natural progression.
“We’ve matured as musicians. … I’m the youngest in the group – I’m only 19. We’re just a little older, and just the teenage love story, angst, the typical cliche stuff has lost its value to us now,” he said. He likened Mourning Party’s meatier, complex sound to Thrice, Saosin and the Deftones.
Mourning Party is already hard at work to get that new sound out to fans. The group is working on a new album, “The Escape Artist,” which will be released on Prevail Records this year. The first single, “I Swear, I Swear,” will go to radio in April.
“We learned so much with Forever & Never,” Thornton said. “Now we get a chance to not start over, but definitely get a bit of a second chance.”

Rock out
What: Minerva Music Festival
When: noon Saturday
Where: Ballard Park
Cost: $35
Extra: Show will happen, rain or shine. Glass bottles, coolers, outside food, pets and thrown objects are not allowed.

Main Stage
12:25 p.m. – Forever & Never
1:20 p.m. – Joan Red
2:20 p.m. – Whole Wheat Bread
3:25 p.m. – Pop Evil
4:35 p.m. – Gotham Road
6:15 p.m. – Framing Hanley
7:50 p.m. – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
9:30 p.m. – Saving Abel

Beer Garden Stage (must be 21 and over)
Noon – The Scams
12:55 p.m. – John West
3 p.m. – Prosevere
4:10 p.m. – Cemetery Surfers
4:55 p.m. – John Milstead
5:30 p.m. – A Broken Method
7:10 p.m. – Tokyo Monster Control
8:50 p.m. – Killjay

Lucky 7 Tattoo Stage
Noon – Local Support
12:55 p.m. – Amalgamation
1:55 p.m. – Silent Haze
3 p.m. – Silas Reed N Da Books
4:10 p.m. – Augie May
5:30 p.m. – Sore Eyes
7:10 p.m. – Justify These Scars
8:50 p.m. – The Luchagors

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