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Rexburg music festival will showcase local artists for community


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REXBURG – Singers and musicians throughout the region are hoping to get their music in front of a new audience at a music festival in Rexburg next month.

The Basement, a music venue in Rexburg, is hosting The Ground Music & Arts Festival at the Madison County Fairgrounds on July 10.

James Manzanares, the owner of Servants Heart Entertainment, an entertainment company in Idaho Falls, which also owns The Basement, tells 14 different bands will be performing live throughout the day, including the headline performers Drusky and The Moss. (The Moss’ lead singer, Tyke James, has performed on “The Voice.”)

“With our business, we’re all about live music. We have two music venues and are all about promoting the music scene (in eastern Idaho). Many people aren’t even aware there is a music scene here, but there is. It’s growing and it’s awesome. There’s so many talented musicians and artists in the area and we wanted to give them a platform to showcase (their music),” Manzanares says.

Some of the bands performing at the festival are from Utah, but the bulk are from eastern Idaho. One of the local bands that will be performing is called Poor Sports. Lead singer and guitarist Noah Shelton describes their style of music as Emo Rock, which he says is a form of punk rock that emphasizes emotional expression.

“It stands for emotive hardcore or emotive punk,” Shelton says. “It’s a form of punk rock that originated in the 1980s but now it’s more obscure and it’s kind of (morphed) into an indie rock-type sound.”

Shelton says he and his band have been performing together for about 9 months. They released an album about a month ago called “No Longer Invited.” Shelton’s favorite song on the album, which is also a fan favorite, is called “Karl Marxial Arts,” combining “Karl Marx” and “Martial Arts” into one word.

“It has nothing to do with the song, but that’s what it’s called,” Shelton says, laughing. “A lot of our music is about struggling to fit in or feel accepted in a highly religious community. Rexburg has a very high population of LDS people and (this song) is about feeling a bit isolated from everyone, not culturally fitting in and questioning faith.”

The group’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms. Shelton is inviting you to check out their music as they prepare to perform at the festival.

Manzanares has always loved music and even studied it in college. He and his co-owner, David Moran, formed Servants Heart about four years ago to help people with community events. As the duo worked together, their mutual interest in music eventually inspired them to do something to promote the local music scene.

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Moving into a new building at 1501 Northgate Mile in Idaho Falls last year has allowed the company to grow and become established in the community, Manzanares says, allowing him and Moran to focus on what they love most.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to focus on young artists. Most of the people we work with are high school or college age,” says Manzanares. “We want to give people opportunities that we didn’t really get growing up in Idaho.”

One of the ways they help aspiring musicians is by providing space to record music at a rate that’s more affordable than competing companies.

“A lot of the more established bands already have budgets and (resources) so they can go to more expensive places and do their thing but these young artists that are 16, 17, 18-years-old don’t have the budget to pay $1,000 for one (recording session). So we charge them way more affordable prices to help them get their music out there,” he says.

Recording Session
Artist in a recording session at Servant’s Heart Entertainment in Idaho Falls. | Adam Forsgren,

Manzanares recalls one artist, Hannah Nichole, who he says was particularly rewarding to work with because the relationship proved mutually beneficial.

“She was like the model of what we wanted to do. We were able to help her get a whole album produced. Since then, we’ve formed so many connections with other people in the community and she’s got a lot more connections. It’s helped further her career and help further us as a business.”

Nichole will not be performing in the festival, but many of Manzanares’ clients are, including Poor Sports.

Shelton says The Basement has been a blessing for him and his band. He has a special place in his heart for the venue and he’s excited to be performing in the festival.

“The Basement has always treated us well and that’s where our band got started. It will always (be) one of our favorite venues,” says Shelton. “We’re very energetic performers and we love it when people are into the performance because it helps us play better. With Emo music, a lot of it is about honesty and showing emotion in the lyrics. We hope that anyone who comes will feel that from us and enjoy our performance.”

The Ground Music & Arts Festival is happening Saturday, July 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. at 460 West 2nd North in Rexburg. Poor Sports is scheduled to perform around 5 p.m. Tickets for the event are $25 at the door or $20 in advance. Tickets can be purchased through The Basement’s website.