Despite the challenges that come with organizing an event like the True/False Film Festival during a pandemic, the festival team has managed to plan a unique weekend with a lot of firsts for the fest, including when it came to music. This year, the fest's music director, Martin Kamau, and his team of music coordinators decided to focus on one thing: putting together a diverse lineup spanning a variety of genres.
There will be 11 showcase concerts in total spanning Saturday and Sunday, some of which are open to the public while others require a $15 ticket. There will also be shorter 30- to 40-minute concerts before every film screening like in previous years, Kamau says.
The biggest difference with the music at this year's festival is that it will be more Missouri-centric than in years prior, featuring more local and regional artists such as The Hooten Hallers and J. ARTiz. Geographic proximity was important when booking the artists, as the pandemic affected travel and availability, Kamau says.
Kellie Everett, saxophonist for The Hooten Hallers, says the band is excited to get back on stage after having not performed for an audience since June. "It will be a triumphant return — especially in the band's hometown," she says.
Kamau says he's excited to be able to give people an opportunity to enjoy live music again in a safe setting. "We like to think of ourselves as an international festival, but this year is definitely more focused on the community," he says. "It's giving our people something to do for the first time in a while after this pretty traumatic past year."
This has been the most challenging year to organize the musical acts out of Kamau's five years with True/False, he says. "We're doing something fairly big really early into the summer, and not many people are doing that right now," Kamau says. "So that's been interesting and a huge challenge."
Even with the challenges that they faced, Kamau says the lineup is strong and features something for everybody. "Even if you don't know what's out there, there's something for you, and you're going to have a good time," he says.
Everett says it's always interesting to perform for an audience who doesn't know what to expect from an artist, which is often the case at True/False. "There might be some people who don't know what they're getting into when they show up to the show, but that can be really fun," she says. "We enjoy surprising people."
You can find the full showcase concert lineup for True/False 2021 with showtimes and prices on the True/False website.