Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Bloom Heavy hopes to invigorate the Cape Girardeau music scene

Monday, September 17, 2012
Reverand Peyton's Big Damn Band at Buckner Brewing Company on Sept. 1. Submitted Photo

Bloom Heavy is more than a summer bluegrass music festival, according to coordinator Alex Barney. It is also the name of his production company that is in charge of bringing some new and fresh music to downtown Cape Girardeau.

Barney and his friend Roger Cochran started the Bloom Heavy festival in the summer of 2010. The original festival was in Bloomfield, Mo., which is where the festival gets part of its name.

Mainly family and friends attended the first festival when it was a local event. After the first two Bloom Heavys -- a summer and a fall version -- Barney moved the festival to the Arrowhead Campground in Grassy, Mo. Popular touring band Yonder Mountain String Band headlined the fifth festival last summer and over 2,500 people attended.

Barney likes to focus on bringing music to his hometown of Cape Girardeau when festival season is over or in between festivals.

"We are searching out good original bands and bring them to a town that hasn't had that much exposure," Barney said.

Mountain Sprout plays at the Mud Stomp Ball on April 20 at Buckner Brewing Company. Submitted photo

He uses local bars such as Buckner Brewing Company, Bel Air and Port Cape Girardeau Restaurant to house live and original music from touring acts from all over the country, such as Mountain Sprout from Arkansas, Kentucky Knife Fight from St. Louis, Split Lip Rayfield from Kansas, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band from Indiana and The Whistle Pigs from Illinois.

Barney said there are plenty of Bloom Heavy events coming up. Dirtfoot will play at Buckner Brewing Company at 9 p.m Wednesday. Other upcoming shows at Buckner Brewing Company include Mountain Sprout and Kentucky Knife Fight on Oct. 6 and Elephant Revival and Cluster Pluck with The Big Idea on Oct. 27.

Casey Mills has worked for the festival for about two years. He is the photographer for the festival. He said the downtown music scene is really coming along in Cape Girardeau and Bloom Heavy has some big plans to make it even better. Barney said that they hope to open a music venue by winter, though he is not sure about location.

"We are trying to make it where there is not just one scene or genre associated with Bloom Heavy and the Cape scene," Barney said. "It's not just bluegrass. It's not just jam bands. It's all kinds of good music. Every show is a little different. They have a personality of their own."

Last year, Bloom Heavy held a fall festival in Cape Girardeau called Spook Heavy. Barney hoped to fill a void with the hiatus of the 14-year-old City of Roses festival. This year Barney said it most likely won't happen, but he has high hopes for next year.

"Each time we try to beat ourselves by making it bigger and better," Barney said. "We are looking to expand the festival into a neighboring campground. We are expecting a lot more people next year."