Local music festival Madness on Main was due to mark its sixth year this month but like everyone else, it has had to adapt to the times. The yearly event focuses on local and Gulf Coast region bands and was founded to draw attention to Houston’s vibrant local music scene.
Though the festival has been postponed until September 12, organizers aren’t leaving Houston high and dry. Seven weeks ago they launched Madness Online, a weekly live stream featuring artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival.
The Living Room Sessions take place every Monday with tips benefiting the artists as well as the Relief Fund for Artists and Arts workers in Greater Houston, a partnership with the Houston Arts Alliance.
The weekly performances can be seen on Facebook every Monday at 7 p.m. and they are rebroadcast on Instagram live at 9 p.m. The performances are archived on the Madness on Main website and YouTube channel.
Previous performers have recorded live from home or used empty venues around town to record their performances and the past lineup is a vivid reflection of the musical diversity housed in Houston.
The next session will feature The Nod Squad, a Houston collective of beat makers and musicians on June 1 followed by Lillyaviana & Uncle Tino, Jame Claire & Butcher Bear and Luke Lukas finishing off the month.
With the festival being tentatively pushed to September, this is a great way for Houstonians to get to know some new and upcoming talent. Marissa Saenz, executive producer of the festival, explains how the Madness team has been focused on staying active in the local music scene and maintaining its role as a resource for artists.
“It has always been about the music community and the music scene and we joke around cause it's super DIY that it's like a Frankenfest,” says Saenz. Tickets for the rescheduled event are available for purchase though the lineup has not been finalized.
This year's festival is tentatively set to be held at 8th Wonder Brewery and the Secret Group, both located in Houston's historic and rapidly growing East End district.
The festival began by taking over the mid Main block that houses the Continental Club and all of the surrounding bars making it a single wristband, multi stage event where fans could bounce around seeing their favorite bands and getting to know new artists.
Saenz describes how photographers would line up as doors opened for the chance to photograph bands, simultaneously providing photographers with more experience and bands with something to add to their portfolios.
“You kind of see this ecosystem just forming of people coming together; it is building the whole community. We are all doing this as a passion project.”
“You kind of see this ecosystem just forming of people coming together, it is building the whole community."
When organizers began sensing they were outgrowing the area, they relocated to White Oak Music Hall, coincidentally also on Main Street. The venue allows attendees to bounce from the upstairs stage to the downstairs and across the parking lot to the Raven Tower.
Madness on Main had recently expanded to offering free workshops to musicians. Their first one took place in February and focused on creating and using electronic press packages in the industry. Saenz and her crew were pleasantly surprised at the turnout of musicians from all over the city.
"We put together a host committee of about ten to 15 folks in the industry and our goal is to tap into them for these educational projects," says Saenz.
Their next workshop is scheduled to take place virtually on Tuesday June 30 with special guest and Madness Host Committee Member, Entertainment Attorney Erin Rodgers discussing the legal aspects in the music business.