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The Farewell Concert

In 2016, Alicia Champion and Danielle Lo Presti announced that they would be moving to Oakland with Lucian, their five-year-old son. The couple decided to move to Oakland so that they could be closer to their families in the southern Oregon and Bay Area. In the announcement, the couple expressed their bittersweet sentiments about leaving San Diego, saying that San Diego provided so much to them personally and professionally. Throughout their stay there, they had met people from all walks of life, made many friends, and established meaningful connections. The couple affirmed that other than moving to be closer to their respective families, there wasn’t much reason for leaving San Diego. The couple hosted their farewell party dubbed “The Best of San Diego IndieFest/ Danielle Lo Presti and Alicia Champion Farewell Concert” at The Music Box, 1227 India Street, Little Italy. The farewell concert was a five-act event featuring Danielle Lo Presti and The Masses, Dj Double Score, SKYTERRA, The Brother Burns &J. Phatts, and Gil Sotu. Ticket prices for the farewell concert ranged from $10 to $25. The event was drenched in emotion as fans celebrated the couple’s effort to promote diversity in thought, art, music, and business. The couple used their farewell event to showcase their new releases on Say It Records. Mathew Stewart and Alicia Champion co-produced Lo Presti’s new album “House of D”. Champion and Lo Presti co-wrote six of the nine tracks on the album. Alicia Champion also took this opportunity to showcase the video for her new single “Bi”. Later that year, Lo Presti created a video for “Holy” — one of the songs in her new album. The video was directed by Michael Brueggemeyer, a winner of the top 2 sections at the San Diego Film Awards in 2016. The video features John Barrowman (best known for “Torchwood”) and Annika Marks (co-star in “The Fosters”). Although the couple has officially retired from their IndieFest festival, they continue to promote diversity in their community in various ways.…

Goals and Popularity

The 2011 event was very successful. However, although the new site at Liberty Station was six times the size of the previous one at North Park, the crowd size was almost equal to that of the past year and this posed a new challenge. Champion and LoPresti decided to take 2012 off to rethink and restructure the festival. They needed to adjust their plans to the now larger scale and to raise capital so that they could bring in more headlining talent, and that’s what they did. The eighth edition of San Diego IndieFest took place between August 16 to 18, 2013, at Liberty Station, three months after Danielle LoPresti finished her chemotherapy treatment for diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The event featured a dual focus on film and all genres of music with the debut of electronic dance music. It was the first time that all acts were paid for their performances. Since the event was launched in 2004, one of the goals was to pay all the performers. In the first year, they managed to pay some, and a few more in the following years. In 2008, the recession made financial matters a little harder. So, the restructuring in 2012 was largely about bringing more talent to the show and making sure all of them got paid.

The San Diego IndieFest took a break in 2014, following the medical challenges posed by LoPresti’s illness. The 9th edition of the festival was held the following year on March 28 at City Heights. The 2015 event featured more than fifty solo and group acts on several stages, and an array of visual artists. Some of the acts on the lineup included RnB singer Paige Bryan, Venezuelan-born singer and actress Yeniffer Behrens, Rigoberto Gutierrez, and the New York buzz group Bear Hands. Homegrown acts from San Diego included Danielle LoPresti and the Masses (featuring IndieFest founders Alice Champion as a guitarist and LoPresti as a lead vocal), Dead Feather Moon, and Todo Mundo. The 2015 event was held at Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park, near City Heights Public Library, in City Heights Urban Village. It was a collaboration between the founders and City Heights Community Development Corporation. The decision by the corporation to collaborate with IndieFest founders was driven by the desire to bring back an event that celebrates different cultures across City Heights. IndieFest was the ideal partner since diversity was an integral part of the festival. The designated the new event, The International Village Celebration, and the event would have an International Village Oasis.

What made the location in City Heights so exciting was the fact that it really entrenched IndieFest with its purpose, which is to bring different artists, people, and cultures together. The founders also did that in their previous events, but the locations weren’t as optimal as City heights (which sits right next door to the BMP headquarters). Ticket prices were $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors and students, and $40 for VIP passes, which included entry to a lounge in the International Village Oasis and a direct view to the stage. Film Screening, which had been a focal point of previous IndieFest editions, was suspended in 2015. The suspension was more because of the festival’s retrenchment and lack of an appropriate venue to show films than the loss of interest in the film segment. In 2015, the focus of the San Diego IndieFest was to establish a new location and create a solid foundation. The event was streamlined to 1 day, after being held for three days in 2013, when attendance plunged after years of steady growth since the event was launched.…

San Diego IndieFest Insights

The San Diego IndieFest was launched in 2004 by Alicia Champion and Danielle Lo Presti in HillCrest. The two also run their independent record label – Champ Records and Say it Records. As the lead woman for Danielle Lo Presti and The Masses, her work has laid the foundation for promoting the independent music scene in California, with an emphasis on linking the arts and social activism. The San Diego IndieFest has had a total of nine editions stretching from 2004 to 2015, with the main aim of promoting diversity across cultures in San Diego. 2016 marked the end of the San Diego IndieFest era after the founders moved to Oakland.

From its launch in 2004 until 2010, the event was held in Hillcrest and North Park. On March 12 and 13, 2011, the San Diego IndieFest was held at NTC Promenade, Liberty Station, Point Loma. The event took place between 12 pm and 11 pm and featured films, live music, art, and much more. The official afterparty continued until 2 am after the main festival. The 7th edition of the festival featured more than eighty acts on five stages at the NTC Promenade at Liberty station. These included AWOLNation, We Are Scientists, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Marsters, and Love Darling (which helped create the theme song for the TV show The Real L Word). Local-based acts included LoPresti and The Masses, Monette Marino Keita, and VoKab Kompany.

The move to Liberty Station was a big and necessary decision for Danielle LoPresti and Alicia Champion. The previous year’s event at North Park had attracted the largest gathering in IndieFest’s history. North Park did not have the capacity to hold such a large group, and some people were trying to take down fences while others stood on virtually all levels of a nearby parking complex to view the main stage. The event had outgrown North Park, and the new site in Point Loma provided the necessary increase in space as it was relatively large and could easily fit three football fields. The founders had considered different venues, including San Diego State University, Embarcadero Park Area, and La Mesa, but ultimately settled for Liberty Station at Point Loma since it was becoming quite a massive nexus of arts and culture. The creative vibe at Liberty Station was very appealing to LoPresti and Champion since there were various arts and cultural organizations.

On the first day of the 2011 festival, there was live music on five stages as well as film, comedy, poetry, dance, interactive art activities, art activities for adults and children, and indie designers. Admission to three of the five stages was free, and there was food and drinks available on site. The second day of the event exclusively focused on film. Ticket prices were $25 for general admission, $22 for seniors, active military, and students, while children under 13 years received free access. The theme of the seventh edition of San Diego IndieFest was “No Safety in Sameness”, inspired by the event’s aim of trying to make people realize how much art exists out of the ordinary convention, and how worthy and remarkable art can be. By bringing together relatively unknown but remarkably inspiring films and bands, Champion and LoPresti wanted to challenge the notion that something has to be famous to get your attention. They also wanted to bring gay and straight audiences together, as well as people from various age brackets and backgrounds.…