St. Louis Jewish Light: Ohr Chadash - LouFest’s Battle of the Bands gives local teen musicians chance to shine

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LouFest’s Battle of the Bands gives local teen musicians chance to shine

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Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2012 12:00 am

The friendly, fun, and loud atmosphere of the third annual LouFest Music Festival, Aug. 25-26 in Forest Park’s Central Field, attracted music fans from around the St. Louis area as well as talented national and local acts.

Among this year’s performers were the Pernikoff Brothers, a band created by Jewish brothers Tom and Rick Pernikoff. Drummer and vocalist Dan Germain enjoyed LouFest’s laid back atmosphere.

“LouFest is very similar to Austin City Limits which we performed at,” Germain said. “It’s very hospitable. The atmosphere is great. People are just hanging out.”

Both Pernikoff brothers are St. Louis natives and John Burroughs High School alumni. Germain, though originally from Boston, considers St. Louis his home.

“We love it in St. Louis,” Germain said. “It’s great to be home with friends and family and it’s great to represent St. Louis.”

The Pernikoff Brothers impressed LouFest audience members as they opened day two of the festival, performing some of their own songs as well as classics such as the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

 “I hope LouFest can continue to grow,” Germain said. “It’s such a beautiful park to have this in and LouFest is just something St. Louis really needs. We’re proud to be here.”

On the other end of Central Field, Area K offered a fun space for kids alongside an exciting stage for the winners of the Loufest High School Battle of the Bands. Battle of the Bands winners, sisters Bella Kalei and Lily Ibur, were eager to be part of LouFest. 

“We’ve been practicing and waiting all summer to do this,” Bella said. “It was awesome and so much fun.”

Bella, a senior at Webster Groves High School, and Lily, a freshman at Clayton High School, felt honored and overwhelmed to perform at the same event as nationally acclaimed bands like the Flaming Lips.

“It’s crazy and insane,” Bella said. “Definite bragging rights!”

LouFest founder Brian Cohen welcomed the opportunity for aspiring teenage musicians to perform with national bands when he created the High School Battle of the Bands.

“Giving young musicians a chance to play the same festival as major touring bands is important to them in terms of exposure,” Cohen said. “But we’re also doing it for our audience. We want our teenage fans to be able to discover music being made by people their own age.”

Despite the extreme heat and patches of rain, the bands played on and LouFest lovers were once again treated to a weekend of great music in the heart of St. Louis.



After winning LouFest’s High School Battle of the Bands, winners Bella Kalei and Lily Ibur perform for the crowd. Sisters Bella and Lily were thrilled to win the contest, which offers talented teen musicians the chance to play at the same festival as nationally acclaimed bands such as the Flaming Lips. (photo by Adam Bautz)

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