Music, mini-golf and more at new festival

2013-10-31T00:00:00Z 2013-11-01T22:54:22Z Music, mini-golf and more at new festivalBy Gerald M. Gay Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Organizers of Night of the Living Fest, being held Saturday at Old Tucson, are hoping to be all things to all people.

The main component will be the music.

The inaugural event will feature more than 20 local and national touring acts, including Deerhoof, Bob Log III, The Pork Torta, the Meat Puppets and Shaun Harris.

Beyond that, the rest of the fest’s attractions are more eclectic and widespread.

There will be live mural painting and a sculpture garden, candle pouring demonstrations and on-the-spot vinyl record cutting.

Xerocraft will provide 3-D printer demonstrations, and many aspects of Old Tucson’s Nightfall, including its haunted houses, will be in operation.

For the young at heart, a nine-hole miniature golf course has been created.

“There is something magical about a miniature golf course,” said Ben Schneider, the ringleader behind the Living Fest. “It is simple but so cool and so challenging.”

The idea for the festival was to provide something out of the ordinary for Tucson.

“We wanted to create this childlike feeling where you are overwhelmed, like you are at Disneyland,” Schneider said. “There is so much you can choose from.”

Schneider wanted Old Tucson as the venue because it has a unique vibe to it, but also because it isn’t downtown.

“Downtown can be overused sometimes,” he said. “We wanted to bring people out of downtown.”

Schneider is a musician, not a promoter. His musical career includes time spent with Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout, Golden Boots and Laser Dad.

Many of the people helping to put Night of the Living Fest together are Schneider’s fellow musicians, local artists, and employees of La Cocina, which is owned by Schneider’s mom, Jo Schneider.

Parker Arriaga, a full-time bartender at La Cocina, created the miniature golf course.

Arriaga, 29, worked in construction in Portland, Ore., before moving to Tucson.

He created the ramada for La Cocina’s stage and is building the booths for its new bar on the southeast end of the property.

Earlier this year, he created a miniature golf course from reclaimed materials for an evening of putt-putt and arcade games at the venue.

“It was a big success,” he said. “When Ben was talking to me about this festival, I said I would create another one.”

The golf course will include nine holes, each with a different theme. One is based on the buildings of Old Tucson. Another is designed like a pinball machine.

“It has taken two months of my life, but it was so fun,” Arriaga said.

Schneider said the fest will serve as a pre-party for Sunday’s All Souls Procession and, if attendance is solid, will return again next year.

“We are all feeling really good about the event,” he said. “Even if it’s a little bit sloppy in its first year, we are taking pride in putting it together.”

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@azstarnet.com or 807-8430.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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