A visionary music and media festival calls for visionary talent.
Enter Steve Lillywhite.
The lauded record producer, whose credits include the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, U2, the Psychedelic Furs, XTC, Morrissey, the Pogues, Dave Matthews Band, Guster, Phish, the Killers, and many more, has been confirmed as a headliner for VersoFest 2023.
VersoFest is The Westport Library’s annual music and media conference and festival where knowledge is shared and inspiration is discovered — a forum for media creators, artists, and fans to converge.
Lillywhite will be appearing on Saturday, April 1, in conversation with renowned Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club drummer Chris Frantz.
“Hello Versoites, come and watch my good friend Chris Frantz and me share some stories from the past on April Fool’s Day,” Lillywhite said. “What could possibly be better?!”
Lillywhite’s career began as a staff producer with Island Records, flowering with the emergence of new wave music. Island Records is widely regarded as one of the all-time forward-thinking popular record labels and rosters. With grand success in pioneering recording ethos and technique, as well as popular sales, Lillywhite was made a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (CBE) for his contributions to music in 2012.
Lillywhite’s VersoFest 2023 booking capitalizes on Verso Studios’ Island Records alumni connections, including Frantz and Grammy-winning producer and engineer Rob Fraboni, both key Verso Studios contributors and VersoFest 2022 alums.
“VersoFest celebrates the creative community, with a focus on innovation and inspiration,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “Steve Lillywhite perfectly embodies this spirit. He has left an indelible imprint on music and popular culture. His production credits are legendary and helped to define the soundtrack of a generation. It’s an honor to have him headline VersoFest 2023.”
VersoFest 2023 will run from Thursday, March 30, through Sunday, April 2, and include panels and keynotes where experts share their perspective and vision; intimate workshops provide creators the opportunity to deconstruct, improve, and hone their craft; and performances that entertain and inspire.
Contributors and artists will continue to be added to the festival. Sign up for Verso Studios e-news for all the latest VersoFest and Verso updates.
Chris Frantz is bringing his Emerging Musicians series back to The Westport Library.
The famed member of the Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club will reprise the series on Saturday, November 19, with two Fairfield County acts: Residual Groove, a funk-fusion, improv-heavy dance band, and contemporary singer-songwriter Brian Dolzani.
The show begins at 7:30 pm in the Library’s Trefz Forum and will run until 10 pm. Doors open at 7 pm.
The Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians series at The Westport Library features up-and-coming regional, national, and international music, hand-picked by Frantz, with the goal of bringing new music to new ears and to be an incubator for rising talent. The concert is a music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at The Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m excited to be resuming the Emerging Musicians Series at The Westport Library in the beautiful and innovative Verso Studios,” Frantz said. “Both Residual Groove and Brian Dolzani are Fairfield County mainstays deserving of a larger platform. A fun night is in store.”
Previous sessions of the Emerging Musicians Series featured Lulu Lewis, The Problem with Kids Today, Daniprobably, and Enid Ze.
“Chris is one of the landmark figures in rock and roll, and we’re thrilled to partner with him once again to bring these incredible artists to our stage,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “When we planned and executed the Library’s transformation, we imagined creating a space that could feature creativity in all its forms and deliver first-class events to Westport, Fairfield County, and beyond. The Emerging Musicians series is another example of delivering on that vision and another opportunity to demonstrate the full capabilities of our Verso Studios.”
Residual Groove is a five-piece Funk-Fusion band out of Norwalk, featuring brothers Previn Edwards (guitar/vocals) and Kiran Edwards (keys/vocals), Miles Livolsi (bass/vocals), Henry Thomas (drums), and Garrett Halstead (percussion). Their bio reads: “With a healthy mix of groovy originals and surprising covers, Residual Groove joins their influences and creations together through tasteful segues and spontaneously improvised segments.” Westporters will recognize Residual Groove from its continued Dunville’s residency.
The storytelling roots of Dolzani’s music are in the singer-songwriter tradition of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Cat Stevens, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Credence Clearwater Revival, among others. He has played at famed stages such as the World Cafe, Daryl’s House, New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall, The 5-Spot in Nashville, and the Blue Plate Special radio program in Knoxville, among many others.