Seth Murphy had an idea for a music festival — yes, another one.
But what he envisioned was something more neighborly than the usual sprawling performance event. Instead of opting for a massive park setting or the middle of downtown, the Lexington cellist launched the idea in his own community — the Southland area. Thus was born the Tahlsound Music Festival, which celebrates its sophomore outing on Saturday.
“The festival is here to showcase Lexington musicians and just to help connect the community with those people,” Murphy said. “I’ve been in Lexington for about 10 years now. Events like these are what connected me to the community. I mean, when I got here, I knew my roommate and that was it.”
It didn’t take long for Murphy to get connected. Visible in recent years through a number of Lexington bands — Bear Medicine and Ancient Warfare, among them — and well as active at many local venues as a sound engineer, Murphy didn’t choose the Southland neighborhood simply because he lives there. He wanted to celebrate an area whose musicality is so established that an entrance sign at the corner of Nicholasville Road and Southland Drive erected in late 2016 employs a design of massive guitar frets and strings.
“That’s exactly it. This is a very music-rich neighborhood. It has great music shops, music venues, plus a lot of musicians live there. What it didn’t have was a music festival. We saw that was missing, so we wanted to bring something like that to the neighborhood. We saw the location of the Oleika Great Lawn and thought it would be a great space for it.
“The lawn is fairly hidden. We tell people it is Southland Drive’s best kept secret. So the Oleika Lawn is a fully fenced in area with a permanent stage built by the Amish in the early 2000s. It’s actually right behind Feeders Supply. If you look at an aerial map and then look behind the temple, it’s to the left.”
Of course, in establishing a neighborhood festival, an obvious question emerges — what will the neighborhoods think? With a schedule that has the music concluding by 10 p.m., Murphy said the response he received following the inaugural Tahlsound last year was highly encouraging.
“It was all positive feedback,” he said. “The neighbors, especially the people right up next to the festival, loved the event. They were able to walk out of their homes right up to a music festival, bring their whole family, bring their dog. It was great.
“Compared to something like Masterson Station (Park), the Oleika Great Lawn is maybe one sixth the size. Since it’s an all-gated area, you can bring a whole group of friends and not worry about trying to figure out the area in order to meet up. Through all of this, the community was very supportive, as well as a lot of local businesses that helped us make it happen last year. They’re back again to help us out in year two.”
Among the businesses lending a hand is Willie’s Locally Known, which is located a few blocks away on Southland Drive from the Oleika Great Lawn. In fact, the restaurant/music club will cap off the day with a free After Party show featuring Otto once Tahlsound closes down.
“This is a city festival in a neighborhood,” Murphy said. “It’s not in the downtown area. We’re not shutting off Broadway or the Court House or anything like that. It’s not going to be a giant festival where thousands and thousands of people will attend. We’re trying to make this a very quality event with diverse musical entertainment that becomes an enjoyable place to hang out all day long. That’s what we want to be.”
Saturday’s performance schedule for the second annual Tahlsound Music Festival:
1 p.m.: Everyone Lives Everyone Wins
1:45 p.m.: People Planet
2:35 p.m.: Ethos Jazz Quintet
3:30 p.m.: The Local Honeys
4:15 p.m.: Double Dog Swamp Band (Tent Stage)
4:45 p.m.: Doc Feldman and the Alt Cntry Delete
5:30 p.m.: Mbira Ensemble (Tent Stage)
6 p.m.: Fabled Canelands/Western Movies/Big Maracas
7:50 p.m : Big Fresh
8:30 p.m.: Leaden Verse (Tent Stage)
9 p.m.: The Ford Theatre Reunion
If you go:
Tahlsound Music Festival
When: Sept. 8. Gates open at noon, music begins at 1 p.m.
Where: Oleika Temple Great Lawn, 326 Southland Dr.
If you go:
Tahlsound After Party featuring Otto
When: 11 p.m. Sept. 8
Where: Willie’s Locally Known, 286 Southland Dr.