Ethan Jones
Staff Writer

Santa Barbara will host its first Starry Nites Festival, happening at the Live Oak Campground, on March 18-19. The event will feature established acts such as the Alan Parsons Project, The Kills, The Dandy Warhols, and Strawberry Alarm Clock. In total, forty different bands will play the two-day event, which includes four different stages, on-site camping, and visual installation pieces by OBSCURA DIGITAL.

Headlining the first night, The Kills are a minimalistic blues-influenced lo-fi group that have been together since the early 2000’s. Featuring lead vocalist VV (Alison Mosshart) and guitarist Hotel (Jamie Hince), the U.K.-based duo is well-established in festival and mainstream indie rock crowds, having toured with acts such as the White Stripes.

They’ve recently acquired even more mainstream success when their most recent album, Ash & Ice, charted worldwide, faring especially well in New Zealand and some European markets. In support for their most recent release alone, the duo has played in six different countries so far, including a spot in the notorious Isle of Wight Festival in England.

For the second night, legendary producer and audio engineer Alan Parsons takes the stage with namesake progressive-rock band The Alan Parsons Project, also known as APP. APP have seen commercial success with their first album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, which broke the U.S. Billboard Top 40, as well as a string of charting singles that followed in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. Alan Parson himself is renowned in the music industry for his work in the production of The Beatles’s Let It Be and Abbey Road, as well as Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

Another highly anticipated event within the festival are the visual projection pieces by OBSCURA DIGITAL. According to the festival’s website, the installation “Fire Eyes” is a collection of projected art pieces for the purpose of visual appeal, while also making a statement on the fragile coexistence of people and nature. Not much detail is provided on what will specifically be projected, but the projections will interact with the surrounding scenery including oak trees, a nearby valley, and distant cliffsides. The images are described to be both interactive and telling, representing both the festival’s audience and endangered animals.

The event is being put together through the combined efforts of Tommy Dietrick, the founder Desert Stars festival, and Kerry Brown, founder of Starry Records. On the website, they describe the purpose event as encouraging the creation of a community in urban society through exposure and interaction with nature, and being environmentally conscious when doing so. Starry Nites is picking is picking up a lot of local attention (the Facebook page already has over 2,000 likes) and has the potential for a great turn out.

Tickets are currently on sale for $85 for a single day or $150 for the weekend, with camping passes going for $25. UCSB and SBCC students can receive a 10 percent discount on weekend passes, as well as free camping passes, and if you want to skip monetary expenses entirely, there are volunteer forms available on their website. The on-site campground includes tent areas and limited RV parking, and has hot food and showers available.

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