ICT Fest Aims To Revitalize Wichita's Youth Culture
Friday marks the beginning of the 9th annual ICT Fest. The local music festival is changing things up this year by targeting Wichita’s youth unlike they have before.
ICT Fest has always been about providing an all-ages festival, but this year it is making an effort to specifically draw in more adolescents. Organizer Matthew Clagg and founder Dan Davis both said they believe the future of the festival is dependent on pulling in a younger crowd.
“We want to grow the next generation of Wichita performers,” Clagg said.
The festival has even moved from midsummer to September to target high schoolers.
ICT Fest began in 2002 when Davis decided he was tired of a city with no shows for younger audiences. He was one of the few people booking all-ages shows at the time. Most shows were booked in bars, which excluded anyone under 21 years old.
In previous years, there have only been two or three high school-based bands, but this year the festival booked about seven. And with school in session, distributing fliers to students is easier.
When Clagg began the booking process this year, he noticed a majority of the active local bands formed about a decade earlier when there were more all-ages venues. With ICT Fest also being all-ages, it seemed like the right place to promote younger bands.
“I just think it’s important to present younger bands and to get younger bands, or younger people, interested in music because that’s what creates the music scene,” Clagg said.
He said if the younger generations don’t have the opportunity to experience the local community, then they will move to find the culture they’re looking for. Clagg and Davis’ goal is to keep the youth in Wichita.
“If we’re not constantly focused on proving to the younger people that there [are] a lot of things that are exciting in Wichita, and getting them involved in being a part of those exciting things, then they’re just going to be more of the people that move away or lose interest,” Clagg said.
Both Clagg and Davis encourage the younger generations of Wichita to experience the local music scene and to create their own version of what they want Wichita culture to be like.
“Without youth,” Davis said, “there’s no youth culture.”
The festival takes place Friday and Saturday at Parker’s Grotto, 123 N. Sycamore.
For the full 45+ band lineup and schedule visit ICT Fest's website.