Touring for mid-level indie rock bands tends to consist of an endless string of nighttime sets at standing-room clubs, along with the occasional afternoon spot at a big festival like Boston Calling.
So think of the inaugural In Between Days Festival as an alternative for the alternative: A family-friendly day outside, set to a soundtrack of smart and fun bands like Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra, St. Paul’s Hippo Campus, and Denver’s Tennis.
“We looked at other festivals and saw that here’s this music that people are listening to, including a lot of our own employees, but a festival dedicated to it doesn’t really exist, especially an independently produced one,” explains Alex Magleby, CEO of Heritage Sports Ventures and the New England Free Jacks, the major league rugby team that plays at Quincy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, where the festival is being held Saturday.
With a music roster likely to attract both the younger and middle-aged slices of the indie rock demographic, fans can choose to stand on the field or sit in one of the stadium’s 3,000 seats. “You could stuff 8,000 people with the field open and be fine, but I think it is going to take us a few years to get to that. This year we’re expecting a few thousand,” says Magleby.
The venue had been the home of the Boston Cannons professional lacrosse team, but league mergers led to that team becoming a barnstorming outfit, so in went the Free Jacks last year. Magleby says he’s been asked by Quincy officials to present upward of 35 events each year at the stadium.
The fest’s name is inspired by a Cure song as well as its place in the calendar. “It’s the end of summer, school hasn’t quite started yet, but vacations are winding down, so it’s a chance to reconnect with friends you haven’t seen all summer before work starts picking up again. It’s not quite fall yet, just a nice in-between time,” says Magleby.
Even a veteran rugby player and coach like Magleby might find the music industry to be a rough-and-tumble world to enter as a first-time presenter. Most of the In Between Days bands have played corporate venues like the House of Blues and Paradise, but Magleby says that when it came to seeing who was available “we lucked out, because there’s such a pent-up supply of quality bands that want to be on the road after such a long period of not being able to tour at all.”
In the ‘90s the stadium hosted the City of Presidents Blues Festival, which featured the likes of James Cotton and a young Susan Tedeschi. And Quincy’s Beachcomber club thrived for decades until it closed in 2015 — the Dropkick Murphys played its final show. Magleby thinks that with the Quincy restaurant and bar scene picking up momentum, the time is right to bring music back to a city that is both right off the highway and on the Red Line. “For next year we’re mapping out a Saturday afternoon concert series that we can build on in the future,” he says.
Saturday’s one-stage bill also includes Sidney Gish, who started receiving acclaim for her songwriting when she was still a Northeastern student, and Blac Rabbit, whose New York subway performances of Beatles covers led to a TV appearance and viral videos.
“It’s funny, people think that we were a Beatles cover band and that after we were on ‘Ellen’ we started to do our own original music, but actually we had always been writing our own songs — even if when we played there might only be three people,” says Rahiem Taylor, who cofounded the band with his twin brother, Amiri.
Blac Rabbit just released its long-in-the works full-length debut, “Interstella,” a catchy disc of contemporary psychedelia. The title is appropriate, says Taylor, “because as we were recording the album it was getting progressively more and more spacey sounding — more expansive and wide and with more depth than anything we had recorded before.”
As students of rock history, the Taylors are well aware of both the rewards and the challenges that can come when two brothers are in a band. “I think we’ll always be ironing that out,” Taylor says with a laugh. “There will always be some arguing and bickering, but we’re now trying to move towards writing collaboratively, so it’s not ‘my song’ and ‘your song.’”
Magleby says bands have already started to ask about slots at the 2023 In Between Days, and that the festival might expand to two days and venture into other musical territories. “Let’s be that indie rock fest for now as we build the experience, and maybe in the years to come we’ll continue to grow and reach out to other genres.”
IN BETWEEN DAYS FESTIVAL
At Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy. Aug. 20, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. $99-$169 (children 10 and under free). inbetweendaysfestival.com