Alternating Currents is recharged and ready to electrify local music fans Aug. 17-20 with over 100 acts across 30 venues throughout the Quad-Cities.
Featuring an eclectic and vibrant mix of music, comedy, film and visual arts strewn across two states and multiple locations, it’s a one-of-a-kind fest that allows people to put together a diverse menu of awesome entertainment, and the majority of the shows are free.
“Alternating Currents’ goal is to highlight the vibrant cultural scene, cultivate local creators and showcase businesses that make the region unique,” said Jason Gilliland, one of the festival organizers. “We wanted to create an accessible festival and make a lasting impression on how Quad Citizens and visitors feel about the quality of place in our region.”
Rock Island native & American singer-songwriter, LISSIE has had Grammy nominees thanks to the Deadmau5 remix, opened for Lenny Kravitz, has had music produced by Band Of Horses, worked with Snow Patrol, and has a UK tour under her belt with many more accolades!
AC has been plugged in since 2017, bringing new and diverse performances, screenings, and art events to venues throughout the Quad-Cities downtowns in both states, within walking distance of a welcoming slate of locally-owned restaurants, shops, bars and more. It’s a way for people to create their own festival experience by mixing and matching fun events to capture their interest.
The gig is a massive undertaking, powered by the Downtown Davenport Partnership and run by a small staff of placemaking professionals. Rock Island Downtown Alliance and Downtown Bettendorf Organization collaborate in these efforts and serve as host downtowns.
Alternating Currents will feature over 118+ events, including touring, regional, and local artists, comedians, filmmakers, wrestling, & much much more!
“We start working on planning in the fall each year,” Gilliland said. “We start by looking at talent and confirming venues to get the ball rolling. It takes our team of people most of the year to get all of the pieces together to make AC work.”
And there are a lot of different pieces. One of the unique aspects of the event is that it’s not just music, or art, or comedy, or film, but a wide range of various entertainment.
“One of my favorite things about AC is that it doesn’t focus on one art form,” Gilliland said. “It has music, film, comedy and art. I definitely have my favorite artists that are coming in, but we want people to explore everything that AC has to offer and find their favorites. The Alternating Currents app is best tool for this. You can check out everything that is happening at the festival and make your own schedule for the weekend.”
Bettendorf native & UI alumni, original writers of “A Quiet Place”, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. Screening their film, “A Quite Place” at the 2018 Alternating Currents.
Another cool thing about the festival is how it weaves together the Quad-Cities as one large metropolitan area, and while the spotlight is on the entertainers, it’s also on local venues.
“I love the fact that while people are exploring new artists they are also exploring the downtowns,” Gilliland said. “The downtowns in the Quad-Cities have so many gems to discover, from bars and restaurants to shopping and parks. This is a great vehicle to push people to look around and take some time to really learn what is offered. We also love the fact that we are able to partner with so many local organizations like Common Chord, The Figge, Beaux Arts and Quad City Arts to help bring great content to AC.”
It’s also rapidly growing, and continuing to evolve, Gilliland said.
“There are always big ideas for events like this,” Gilliland added. “AC has grown immensely in the short time is has been around and we want to continue that growth. That means more stages, more movies, more comedians, more venues, more art. The more diverse we can make this, the more interesting it will be to people.”
SQUONK, 2022!!! In collaboration with Quad City Arts, Alternating Currents hosted Squonk. Described by the New York Times as, “a multimedia troupe of infinite jest with an imagination to match”.
Also interesting to people is the fact that almost everything offered is FREE to check out.
“The first reason to come to AC is because it is free,” Gilliland said. “Where else can you see that much talent and content in a weekend for $0 dollars? My elevator speech to folks is that AC is `where you go to find your next favorite band that you didn’t know existed.’ This is a festival of discovery. You may not know many of the bands, but you will find something you like. If you walk in a venue and don’t care for that artist or genre, you can walk down the street and find something else.”
You can find that something else, and many other something elses, on the convenient app for the festival, which you can access here.
“The app is essential to having the best experience possible at AC,” Gilliland said. “We encourage everyone to go to www.alternatingcurrentsqc.com and download the app ahead of the festival. This gives you time to go through all the artists that will be there and check out what they do. If you like something you can add it to your calendar and create your own schedule. If you aren’t familiar with downtown Davenport, Rock Island or Bettendorf, there is a map function to give you directions to all of the venues.
“AC allows us to showcase local talent as well as out of town touring artists all while showing off many of our great bars, restaurants, parks and fun spaces. It also showcases the general attitude of this region and its willingness to embrace art and have a good time!”
What does the future hold for Alternating Currents?
“AC was an idea that came from wanting to do something a little different than what had been done before in this area,” Gilliland said. “It has been embraced by the festival patrons, downtown businesses and the artists as a festival that helps everyone succeed. We want to keep that train rolling and continue to grow and have incredible talent be a part of this festival for years to come.”