Squallfest showcases eclectic music scene


Bryan Minks (second from the left) and his band The Kentucky Sons are one of many groups performing at Squallfest. 

Matt Wickstrom

Bryan Minks has been a staple in Lexington’s fast-growing music scene throughout much of the last decade, slaying the guitar for Those Crosstown Rivals and Bryan Minks and The Kentucky Sons. For the last four years Minks has also curated Squallfest, a charitable four-day festival to promote local artists and to give back to the community, held this year at The Green Lantern.

Dubbed Those Crosstown Rivals Rock n’ Roll Barbecue in its inaugural appearance, this year’s Squallfest will benefit The NEST Center for Women, Children and Families. According to Minks, 20 percent of the event’s initial proceeds are donated directly to the charity, with many of the performing artists later donating their pay from the event to the charity as well.

This year’s Squallfest features an endless supply of local talent from the honky tonk of Coralee Townie, The Kentucky Hoss Cats and Louisville’s Nick Dittmeier and The Sawdusters to the edgy rock n’ roll of Johnny Conqueroo. Other bands, such as Denver, Co.’s Arliss Nancy are returning to the bluegrass to perform. 

“We’re all over the place. We try to include everything from roots to country to rock n’ roll to punk rock,” Minks said. “We’ve even got surfer punk on the lineup this year, so we think we’ve got something for everyone to enjoy.”

Country Boy Brewing is also sponsoring the event and will be offering up free swag and beer specials throughout the weekend. Feast your tastebuds on barbecue and egg rolls from Roll ‘n’ Smoke on Thursday and Friday, followed by Hidenori Yamaguchi’s famous noodle tent on Saturday. Minks is still organizing a food vendor for Sunday, but during the early afternoon there will be artwork on display from local painters and other visual artists.

Minks and The Kentucky Sons will close out Friday night of Squallfest, and chances are you’ll hear some fresh material of the group’s latest project “Last Will and Testament.” According to Minks, the record is very personal and features bevy of influences including country, rock n’ roll, punk and americana. 

“(‘Last Will and Testament’) deals with the basic principles of life — to live, to love and to deal with loss,” Minks said. “There’s this recurring theme throughout of falling in love in the beginning, later moving to the struggles one deals with throughout life to the various things that may bring death into your life, such as alcoholism and other addictions. We try to capture that moment of loss and throughout the record try to project the idea of perseverance through loss and hard times.”

For the last several years Minks has been booking shows for his bands and other events such as Squallfest through his management company Heathen Booking. Minks’ musical adventures have taken him to all corners of the country, and according to him, Lexington has one of the most talented groups of musicians he’s been around.

“I can honestly say that (Lexington) has one of the most talented music communities in the country,” Minks said. “We have a great scene of musicians here who are compassionate and care about each other. The difference in our scene and many of the larger cities is the community involvement. My goal with Heathen Booking is to make more of the community aware of what’s going on in our music scene.”

View the full lineup and band schedule on the event’s official Facebook page.

Who: Coralee and The Townies, The Landers, The Kentucky Hoss Cats, etc.

When: Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 16 at midnight

Where: The Green Lantern Bar – 497 W Third St.

Tickets: $7-15