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Coming in June

Shifting music: Summer Fest changes up its dynamics by enlisting Beirut & Big Boi

The brash beats of Big Boi and Beirut's indie orchestra will be coming to Eleanor Tinsley Park for June's Free Press Summer Fest. Rapper Big Boi and indie darling Beirut may seem strange bedfellows, but the additions reflect the aim to add new dynamics — and draw more customers — to the music event, now in its third year.

"Naturally, these guys are going to bring more people, but those aren't really 'expansion' bands," Omar Afra of Free Press tells CultureMap. "We really feel that this year, the bands we chose weren't bringing in a new crowd."

Attendees can expect Big Boi, originally one-half of OutKast, to perform tracks from his debut solo album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.

"I've been an OutKast fan since I was about 13, and a big fan of Big Boi" says Afra. When asked how the nascent festival snagged the A-list ATL act, Afra says, "His people are friends with Bun B's people, and we're friends with Bun B's people. That makes things a little easier."

Big Boi is replacing hip hop artist MF Doom due to the latter's inability to confirm that he would not hire a masked impersonator to perform on his behalf. "His management team failed to give us assurance," says Afra, citing an incident in which MF Doom's impostor was booed off stage.

Beirut is the brainchild of prodigy frontman Zachary Francis Condon. The band has enjoyed mounting popularity for its appealing blend of popular Western melodies and former Soviet bloc sounds.

"We looked at Beirut last year, and it just wouldn't work," says Afra, explaining that the festival is capitalizing on the band's concurrent summer tour through Texas. With its ornate tenor, "Beirut brings a completely new dynamic," Afra says. "We think the instrumentation will be really interesting in a festival setting. It's not this wall of sound, but it's still big."

The Big Boi/Beirut duo is the latest addendum to the June 4 and 5 festival roster that also includes headliners Cut Copy, Sharon Jones, MF Doom, Ween and Weezer. Free Press has also confirmed appearances by the hella hip California band Girls and post-punk Brit rockers, Killing Joke.

Still yet to be announced are the headliners for the festival's Electronic Tent, which can be accessed with the new $240 Dancey Pants ticket. Passes for Free Press Summer Fest are already available at FreePressSummerFest.com, starting at $35.

Craving human contact? Check in at Cactus Music and Record Ranch next week to buy the pass in person.

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