This year's Together Festival, a weeklong multi-venue music, art and technology celebration, honors techno and house music’s American roots with a lineup that’s heavy in homegrown talent, including headliner Kerri Chandler, an east coast DJ-producer who's created soul-infused house for over a quarter of a century.
“Techno and house started here and then went to Europe and got very popular there, and then became popular back here,” says Together’s co-founder Alex Maniatis. “We’ve programmed tons of European artists over the years, but this year we’re bringing it back home. It’s a homemade music and we should show it off.”
Though dance based, Maniatis points out Together is not a mainstream EDM (electronic dance music) festival: “There is no EDM culture in this festival, it’s rooted in the underground,” states Maniatis, a long time music industry insider who worked in promotions at Capitol Records, and co-ran local indie Dopamine Records before co-founding MMMMaven in 2011, the year after the first Together festival. Cambridge-based MMMMaven evolved into an education project as well as an event production company, and still books the Middlesex Lounge’s long-running weekly Thursday club night, Make It New.
“We purposely steer away from the mainstream,” the North Shore native continues. “It’s easy booking a festival full of top ten Beatport artists or whatever. Together is hyper-curated and not about booking big names and throwing a lot of people in a field.”
Nowadays, Together ranks in the top ten US DJ/tech focused festivals, standing alongside the notable likes of Movement in Detroit, Mutek in Montreal and Three Points in Miami.
Though the music side takes center stage, art and technology come into play via displays and workshops, plus technology demonstrations. At the heart of it all, though, is community.
“We want to keep people off their phones and have them enjoy each other," says Maniatis. "We’re focusing on the experience. People can hop around from club to club and get lost in a room.”
If you go:
May 14-21, multiple venues. togetherboston.com.