Yoderfest grows in year two

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Chris Yoder: self-portrait
  • Chris Yoder: self-portrait

Chris Yoder's friends are doing what they can to honor his memory. The local music lover died of heat stroke at Bonnaroo 2011, and Sunday sees the second Raleigh festival bearing his name. The first Yoderfest, a four-band affair at the Pour House, took place in August of last year. This weekend's expands to two venues—Deep South the Bar and again the Lincoln Theatre—and seven acts, including a headliner that organizer Chris Badders is fairly excited about.

"The fact that we have a nationally-known band like Big Gigantic is huge for the festival, only in its second year," he says. The Colorado live electronica duo is contributing to a pool of donations and raffle money which will then go to the Fender Music Foundation, Badders says. Last year's charity, Faith Ministry, is a Christian organization that builds houses in northeastern Mexico. This year's puts instruments in the hands of American music educators.

"We decided to donate to the Fender Music Foundation because it was more in-line with Chris' passion for music, and his belief that everyone should be exposed to music," says Badders.

The eventual ideal is to buy some land and throw a dedicated outdoor fest, something echoing—at least to a degree—Yoder's beloved Bonnaroo. Badders realizes the current Yoderfest is a baby step in that direction, but he remains ambitious and inspired by his late friend. Yoder's business model involved a cheap plot of land in a remote location; not too different from local grassroots arts-and-music phenomenon Shakori Hills, with permanent stages and tents.

"I've never known a person to be more set toward achieving his goals, or unsettled until those goals were accomplished," he says. "If anyone was going to grow up to start his own music festival, it was going to be Chris Yoder."

Badders is hopeful, but realistic: He realizes an all-day event culminating in a late-night bill may be a hurdle on a Sunday—the day that best matched Big Gigantic and Lincoln Theatre's schedules.

"I'm afraid that if this year doesn't go off as well as possible it might hinder us advancing the festival further next year," says Badders. "We want next year to piggyback this year and possibly bring in two or three more nationally known bands, and even expand to more venues."

Big Gigantic, Crizzle, and DJ Rou-Dee play Lincoln Theatre at 8pm, Nov 11. Tickets are $17–$20.
Supatight, Beside the Fire, Nectar Unit, and Pseudo Blue play Deep South the Bar at 1:30pm. The early show is free.

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