VersoFest is 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.
VersoFest includes panels where experts share their perspective and vision. Intimate workshops provide creators the opportunity to deconstruct, improve, and hone their craft. Performances entertain and inspire.
*All panels and keynotes are free; concerts and workshops are ticketed.
Festivalgoers will be required to show proof of registration for all registered and ticketed events, including registered events that are free of charge.
FREE, AGES 10+ (SOLD OUT)
Originally conceived by brainiac, prankster, LSD head, and sometimes Grateful Dead sound tech Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the Wall of Sound was a three-story, 28,800-watt hot-rodded PA system, the largest of its time, used at Grateful Dead shows in 1974. The Wall of Sound was the first large-scale line array used in modern sound reinforcement systems.
This innovative sound system serves as the basis for TeachRock’s Wall of Sound class in which participants will both learn about the Wall and partake in hands-on activities that will spark their inner prankster/scientist.
TeachRock's Bill Carbone and Gina Machado will join you to explore the questions: What is a PA system? How does it work? And why should we thank the tinkering scientists of the 1960s and 70s Grateful Dead entourage for many of the standard elements of how we experience live music today?
Steven Van Zandt is the TeachRock founder, and the organization’s board includes Jackson Browne, Martin Scorsese, Bono, and Bruce Springsteen.
Note: While this event is sold out, there will be extra chairs available in the Trefz Forum for those who want to watch the workshop in progress.
$15 REGISTRATION FEE
Photographer Katie Settel will take workshop participants through her journey, influences, and technique in this master class.
Settel is a Connecticut-based photographer known for her evocative performance images as the in-house photographer at the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Settel’s artistic approach is creative, mindful, and unstaged. She has a unique ability to visualize the picture long before snapping the shutter.
$15 REGISTRATION FEE (SOLD OUT)
This class presents an overview of screenplay structure with a focus on the 90-page feature film script. Utilizing Blake Snyder’s popular “beat sheet” method as a starting point, participants will come away with a better understanding of screenplay structure, as well as tools and strategies for completing a feature-length script, and hopefully some inspiration to get them started on their screenwriting journey.
In this panel, author and journalist Rachel Felder will lead discussion on cutting edge female/androgynous rock fashion through the 1960s to today, accompanied by pictures, video, and multimedia. Three expert panelists share their thoughts and perspectives including: Vivien Goldman (writer, broadcaster, musician, Professor of Punk and Reggae at NYU), Christian Joy (fashion designer, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and Matthew Yokobosky (Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture, Brooklyn Museum).
Rachel Felder is an author and journalist who writes about fashion and style, trends, and art. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Financial Times, Vogue, Elle, and many other publications. She is the author of five books, the most recent of which, Red Lipstick: an Ode to a Beauty Icon, examines the impact and cultural significance of red lipstick.
$15 REGISTRATION FEE (SOLD OUT)
Whether you are already a performing songwriter, or just want to learn HOW to start a song, this class will focus on finding your own voice, turning your story into a musical moment, and discovering the tools for getting “unstuck,” with an emphasis on using lyrical imagery to create sonic cinema.
Amilia K Spicer is a singer/songwriter who was raised in rural Pennsylvania and lives in Los Angeles, with a haunting, husky voice and an Americana folk/rock style that evokes “majestic vistas — and shadowy mysteries.” Her 2017 album Wow and Flutter was released to rave reviews, with PopDose calling it “one of the best albums, any genre, of the past decade” and American Songwriter Magazine lauding Spicer as “a seriously gifted songwriter.”
Musician Dylan Hundley (Lulu Lewis) hosts a cadre of influential and regional rock photographers focusing on the craft, style, and approach behind their legendary shots. The panel includes Fairfield County natives Katie Settel and Michael Friedman, and New York's Julia Gorton and Lynn Goldsmith (who currently has a landmark art/IP case at the Supreme Court).
BOARD ROOM (ROOM 210)
FREE (WITH REGISTRATION BELOW, CLICK TICKETS)
Visit this mini-museum exhibition of Alice Cooper Group costumes, stage props, instruments, photos, and much more!
Vinyl has reclaimed its throne as the most popular physical music format. Continuing one of the more surprising comebacks of the digital age, vinyl album sales in the United States have grown for the 17th consecutive year, showing a return to collecting and curating after decades of the digital song deconstruction of albums. Join moderator Dave Schneider (The Zambonis), Kid Ginseng (Kraftjerkz Records), Karen Ponzio (New Haven Independent Arts Writer), Alec Cumming (Snap Crackle POP! on WPKN), Dooley-O, and Eric Holland (WFUV) for a warm, crackly brunch.
$15 REGISTRATION FEE
Producer and director Annette Jolles will teach a master class on TV/media production in conjunction with Verso Studios crew call members.
Jolles has created a diverse body of work as a director and producer for stage and television, receiving 17 Emmy Awards for shows including the 9/11 Memorial from Ground Zero, the 2015 NY Papal Visit, and Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle for PBS. As the first female director for Live from Lincoln Center, broadcasts include the NY Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve: La Vie Parisienne; Stars in Concert programs headlined by Sutton Foster, Leslie Odom, Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Norm Lewis and Patina Miller; 50 Years of Mostly Mozart; and threeRichard Tucker Galas: From Bocelli to Barton, A New Century, and Richard Tucker at 100.
Record Riots dealers command The Hub of The Westport Library in VersoFest’s inaugural record fair! A handful of vinyl dealers will wheel and deal, adding to the electricity of Sunday’s VersoFest events. Leading primitive/garage/punk/R&B label Norton Records & Kicks Books will have a very special table of goods including rare and never-before-seen Norton and Kicks memorabilia.
And be sure to check out our vinyl record silent auction featuring albums signed by our VersoFest headliners and guests.
Sarah Van Mosel (EVP, Podcast Revenue, iHeart Media), Corey Boutilier (Senior Account Director - Connecticut Public Media), Chaz (WPLR, morning host) and moderator Steve Goldstein (CEO, Amplifi Media) explore the latest audio industry trends. Whether you are a podcast creator, musician, or broadcaster, don't miss this chance to hear insider perspectives and strategies.
Music industry veteran Dick Wingate moderates a panel with five music business experts including: Sam Hendel (Chord Music Partners) Tiffany Almy (founder, PKA Law), Jeff Warshaw (founder and CEO, Connoisseur Media), David Boxenbaum (CEO, Newport Media Advisors), and Shep Goodman (record producer, songwriter, and musician).
This panel will explore the recent explosion of investment in both the recorded music and music publishing businesses. Ubiquitous music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have generated billions for rights holders with the regular income streams they generate. Significant new revenue is now being generated from license fees to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok; sync fees to TV, film, and ad producers; gaming and Web3 platforms; and exercise platforms like Peloton. The panel will also explore the new collaborative models for music creation driving the biggest chart hits.
OFFICIAL VERSOFEST SPONSORS
OFFICIAL VERSOFEST PARTNERS
OFFICIAL MEDIA PARTNERS
OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PARTNERS