Rootwire music, arts and camping festival was held August 15-18, 2013 and though it may
only be their third year this gathering has been hailed across the festi-world for their creativity as
well as untouchable standard for production. Similar to the gathering’s reputation, followers of
the founding act Papadosio are equally respected for their passion and unique artistic abilities. I
had the opportunity to pick Sam Brouse’s brain, the keyboardist from Papadosio, and ask some
dire questions about his thoughts on the movement, acts and future of Rootwire.
Q. In your mind, which aspect in particular sets Rootwire apart from other
festivals in the Midwest?
A. I think that our fans set Rootwire apart from other Festivals in the Midwest.
People feel a deep connection with the festival and the grounds. There is an amazing
group of people who put incredible amounts of energy into making it comfortable and
enjoyable for everyone.
Q. Many of the mammoth festivals have trouble including all of their audiences
in a healthy, creative as well as constructive way. Meanwhile Rootwire boasts such
an abundance of art in all styles, what are some methods of involving everybody in
A. We want people to bring what they do, or if they don’t do anything, we want
them to feel comfortable learning a new skill. I think that there is such an overwhelming
feeling of inclusion here that you really need to try NOT to be involved.
Q. Is there a certain theme or motif that you believe Rootwire portrays to their
patrons? What exactly does Rootwire want the festi-goers to take home with them and
gain from this experience?
A. I think the most important thing for me is the quality of the production and the
music. Everyone is obviously going to focus on different aspects of the festival because
everyone is different and there is a lot of stuff going on, but I think that our standards are
so high when it comes to music and our sound that, if people walk away satisfied with the
quality of the show, I will be overjoyed.
Q. There has been a lot of growth and change not only from Papadosio, but from
the entire production of the festival, would you insist on expanding attendance? If so,
how do you maintain this trend without sacrificing the integrity as well as standard of
excellence that is seemingly synonymous with the Rootwire franchise?
A. We go to enough big festivals to know that we don’t want Rootwire to be too
big, but in order to continue to increase the quality of the Rootwire experience we know
that naturally it has to grow. The past two years I remember going to the site worrying
whether or not the experience would be as intimate for the patrons as the year before, but
I have stopped worrying because I think that the veterans of the festival lead by example.
I know that as long as our hearts are in the right place and the people we choose to work
with are on the same page that the experience here can only get better.
Q. Is it fair to label this gathering as a “consciousness” festival? How would you
avoid this sort of pidgeon-hole?
A. I’m not really sure what consciousness means anymore, at least not in the
context of genre. It is really frustrating because I agree with a lot of aspects of the
“consciousness” movement, but I am really uncomfortable with those ideas having a
sound or a style of clothing. If we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves, then we need
to play the music we want to play and say what we want to say. We are all somewhat
frustrated with the clique facet of “consciousness”
Q. After “We are water” debuted last summer and in autumn T.E.T.I.O.S. earned
great notoriety across the festival scene all PapaD fans are eagerly awaiting the next
album. Can we expect to hear new material this year as well?
A. The next album is a few years off I think, but we are writing new songs. I
really relate to the album form of art and I want the next album to be totally new never
before heard material. But in order to keep it fresh we are going to continue writing new
material, but not release it on an album. Maybe we will release a collection of E.P.s, but
not an album, not until we have a clear idea of what we want to do and time enough to do
Q. Taking a look ahead, who are some dream headliners you would like to
include for future Rootwires?
A. Headliners are always the hardest part I feel like, and mine are usually way
unrealistic, but I would obviously love to have Radiohead play…I mean – I can
dream right? My best idea for the future is to have a classical pianist play Chopin’s
nocturnes late night, just to give the whole place a little more space and people a
*Big thanks to Sam, media coordinators Patrick Kollmeier & Dave Weissman
of Musical Earth for the interview opportunity, Brian Hockensmith (photos) and
everyone who is part of the Rootwire team.*