Made Fest, Lit Fest, debuts at Pygmalion Music Festival

Set to a background of psychedelic inspired synths and indie rock beats, this year’s ninth annual Pygmalion Music Festival featured two new additions: Made Fest and Lit Fest. For the first time, Pygmalion, held from Sept. 26-28, included an art and literary festival alongside the music festival, for which it is famous.

“(Pygmalion is) more than music,” said Justine Fein-Bursoni, producer of Made Fest and wife to Pygmalion creator Seth Fein. “It’s just a cultural event at this point.”

Fein-Bursoni said she has helped her husband organize Pygmalion over the years. However, this year she finally brought to fruition an idea she thought of years ago at the first Pitchfork Music Festival, then named Intonation Festival, in 2005.

“It was fun to be able to do something that really was more up our alley,” Fein-Bursoni said. “As much as I love music, I’m a consumer and I love the arts and vintage wear, so it was really fun to provide a whole different realm of the music fest.”

Last year, Fein-Bursoni decided to bring the art market to this year’s festival with her friend and artist, Alexia Brown. Together, Brown and Fein-Bursoni chose the vendors and organized the Made Fest. Among the mix were artists from Savoy, Ill., Chicago, Ill., Wisconsin, Connecticut and Iowa. In total, Made Fest featured 26 vendors who set up booths along Market Street in downtown Champaign on Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ryan Martin, a junior in History Education at Illinois State University, attended the Made Fest on Saturday.

“It seemed like a cool, extra way to just add something for people to do if there aren’t bands playing that they like,” Martin said. “When I went (to Pygmalion) before, there weren’t always bands playing that I really wanted to watch, so it’s a good way for people to go and do something else.”

Coast to Coast Mobile Vintage was one of Made Fest’s vendors. A vintage mobile shop from Connecticut, Coast to Coast Mobile Vintage showcases thrift store finds from all across America. A tag attached to each item identifies where the piece originated. Adam Lodynsky and Jaimee Dormer, the owners of Coast to Coast Mobile Vintage, began their business after purchasing a mobile home, for which they intended to sell their items in, on Ebay. They began traveling across the country, sharing vintage pieces with customers all over the country.

“We wanted to see the open road,” Lodynsky said.

Also in attendance at the Made Fest was the Horny Girl Collection, from owner Laurie L. Martin. The collection features a variety of wearable sculptures with a feminist purpose. Martin has “horny girls” model her collection to show that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

“Sculpture is my way of saying ‘I love you,’” Martin said.

In future years, Fein-Bursoni plans on adding more vendors to the Made Fest to give more artists an opportunity to debut their work.

The Lit Fest also took place over the weekend, on Sept. 27 in Urbana and Sept. 28 in Champaign. Lit Fest’s creative director Caleb Curtiss brought Lit Fest to Pygmalion after being inspired by a similar event while attending Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City. Curtiss worked with Fein to incorporate book readings near Pygmalion’s shows.

“We were really intentional when we scheduled the writers and (we) booked the writers to try and build a tone with each reading,” Curtiss said.

Dan Chaon, author of “Among the Missing,” James Greer, author of “Artifical Light” and Matt Bell, author of “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods,” were a few of the authors whose work was featured. The readings took place at Cafeteria & Co., Buvon’s Wine Bar, Mike ‘N’ Molly’s and Memphis on Main, and were free to the public.

The Lit Fest collaborated with the University’s creative writing program to organize the reading series. Jodee Stanley, director of the University’s creative Writing program, coordinated with Fein and Curtiss, both of who are alumni of the program.

“It seemed like a really great way to connect with the community and bring some of our favorite writers to town,” Stanley said.

Both Fein-Bursoni and Curtiss said the new additions to Pygmalion created a more interactive atmosphere for festival goers.

“They add, I would say, an enriching component that makes it a much more interesting and engaging festival,” Curtiss said. “It’s more of a community feel. You can interact with people without music playing, you can go to a reading, you can talk about the reading on the way to the next show, you can talk about the show on the way to the reading. We really see these as being interconnected parts that work together.”

Alice can be reached at [email protected]