The brand-new Holler On The Hill festival is being brought to Indianapolis by Josh Baker’s MOKB Presents and he took some time to talk to Pollstar about the shindig, to be headlined by
“I’ve been going to the park all of my life … but about four years ago I stepped into it again and thought ‘Man, why aren’t we doing more shows here?’” Baker told Pollstar. “This year we had some bookends and I thought it would be perfect to put this festival right in the middle.”
Baker, the founder of MOKB Presents and Indianapolis’ 400-cap The Hi-Fi, has been promoting shows in the park for a while and said there are clear logistical advantages to having such a series of events in a short time. The space will be expanded prior to the first FJM show and will be used by the festival and the subsequent headline shows, effectively creating a concert-series in the historic Indy park.
The park’s outdoor show capacity normally caps at 2,500, and it will remain there for the headline shows he said, but it is being expanded to 5,000 for Holler On The Hill.
The event coincides with the 10-year anniversary of MOKB Presents, which is being celebrated with a July 4th party including Durand Jones & the Indications, and Baker said the lineup is a reflection how far the companies and artists have come.
“The bulk of these are all artists that we’ve grown up with,” Baker said. “St. Paul, Sturgill Simpson, Alabama Shakes, these were artists we were kind of early on with them and we’ve had the opportunity to grow with them over the years. St. Paul has been one of our early favorites and the timing worked out, as they were releasing an album the week before. Moon Taxi is an artist that has really grown in this market over the last two to three years and was an obvious choice. What we’re really excited about is the opportunity to finally see Colter Wall, who is #1 on our list right now, with a full live band.”
That vision is to have an annual, Americana and alt-country-leaning lineup that can bring together 5,000 Indy residents and regional visitors in a very community-centric atmosphere. He said Indy culture is certainly a big part of the festival and local heroes like Reverend Peyton (and his Big Damn Band) and Otis Gibbs will be performing.
That vision seems realistic, as Indy has visions of growth in the market. The city recently hosted the Music Cities Forum, which helps local government, businesses, artists and consumers look at best practices from nightlife hubs. In terms of helping Holler On The Hill, Baker shouted out Michael Huber, president of Indy Chamber, and Jim Rawlinson from the DevelopIndy who helped bring the necessary pieces together.
Last year MOKB helped out with Fountain Square Music Festival in Indy, which featured Phantogram, Dr. Dog, Bishop Briggs and more, but this is the year of HOTH. While Live Nation does have a presence in the region that some might be intimidated by, Baker said he has received support from competitors in the market.
“We all kind of work together in a really odd way, more so than in most markets,” he said. “We want to make it good for the fans and make sure we’re not stepping on each other’s toes. I know what role Dan Kemer (Live Nation VP and Indianapolis resident) and Live Nation play in the market and they know what role we play. Even with some of the smaller independents that are very genre specific, we all kind of work together for the best interests of the town.”
Tickets are on sale now, and Baker said they consciously made the choice to not offer VIP and that the event should feel more like a family reunion/park picnic/festival than a large festival.
Some artists won’t be performing but will still make the trip to hang out and spend the day in the park with 5,000 Indy music lovers, which will only contribute to a less pretentious, more comfortable atmosphere for Holler On The Hill, Baker said.