Featuring some of the state and region’s best musical talent, the 37th annual Valparaiso Popcorn Festival on Saturday, Sept. 12, promises to deliver a lively entertainment lineup. Starting at noon on festival day and concluding with a high-energy performance by headliner Poi Dog Pondering, patrons will have the opportunity to relish the diversity of sounds coming from the South Shore CVA Main Stage at the Porter Health Amphitheater in Valpo’s Central Park Plaza.
In keeping with festival tradition, the main stage lineup will cater to a wide audience, including all ages and musical interests, and many of this year’s bands have local and regional ties.
“This year, we will feature several bands who are originally from Indiana or the local community,” says Tina St. Aubin, Valparaiso Events executive director. “The Indigos have some Valpo roots, and the Max Allen Band is originally from Indianapolis. We will also feature the Crawpuppies, a local favorite.”
The Indigos will be the first to take the stage at noon. An independent rock band from Muncie, the Indigos are known for their eclectic groove-meets-rock ’n’ roll sound. Matt Mellen, a Valparaiso native, will lead the vocals.
Performing at 1:20 p.m. on festival day, the Max Allen Band offers a hint of every genre, including jazz, blues, funk and rock. With six albums and previous openings for notable groups such as the Spin Doctors and the Marshall Tucker Band, Max Allen and his crew bring a wealth of experience to this year’s festival.
Next in the lineup are the Crawpuppies, scheduled at 3 p.m. on the main stage. The local talent and regional favorite can boast a history of performances at the Popcorn Festival, playing classic hits from the ’60s to today as well as many of their own original tunes.
After what promises to be an exceptional afternoon lineup, Poi Dog Pondering will close the show as the festival’s main headliner starting at 5 p.m. Known also for its eclectic fusion of musical genres, the band first took shape in Hawaii in the ’80s and has since relocated to the Chicago area. In 1997, Poi Dog Pondering was named the “Best Band” according to Chicago magazine, and in 2009, it was named the “Best Pop and Rock Act” in a Chicago Reader poll. The band’s newest album, “Everybody’s Got a Star,” was recently released on Sept. 1, just in time for the festival.
“[Poi Dog Pondering] has lots of energy,” says St. Aubin says. “They are a great fit for the Popcorn Festival, and after their performance, everyone will leave on a high note.”