Put faces to the podcasts: Festival to bring the audio experience to an Elgin stage
Lovers of paranormal podcasts can take the earbuds out and listen live this weekend at Side Street Studio Arts as five area podcasts take part in the first Dark Matters: Winter Tales podcast festival.
Side Street Studio Arts and Ghostly Podcast are teaming up to present the festival Friday and Saturday. The event features dark-themed podcasts performed live with topics ranging from the paranormal to horror to true crime.
"I think this will appeal to a combination of people," said Nick Mataragas, one of the event's organizers and assistant director of Side Street Studio Arts. "There will be people who are into the paranormal and horror even if they don't listen to podcasts, but also hard-core podcast fans that want to come out and meet people that they listen to on a regular basis."
The festival will showcase live podcast recordings by Ghostly Podcast, Radio Luzifer, Bob After Dark, Rob Southgate: Graphic Tales, and The Bad Taste Crime Podcast.
"The audience will get to put some faces to the voices they hear," Mataragas said. "I think that's one of the coolest things about seeing a podcast live. These are people you listen to on a regular basis, and while you can visualize them in your head, you don't get to see them or how they interact with each other or that connection.
"I think there's something really genuine about seeing something like that in person."
The podcast recordings will have varying degrees of audience involvement. But festivalgoers will get to interact with the podcasters during an "ask me anything" session and a workshop on how to do a paranormal investigation.
The event will feature tarot reading and palmistry on Saturday by The Mayfields. There also will be a paranormal investigation of Side Street Studio Arts conducted by Graveside Paranormal.
Festival passes are $10 and can be purchased online and at the door at 15½ Ziegler Court in Elgin. Attendees will be required to wear face masks in all spaces and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test.
The full schedule is available at sidestreetstudioarts.org/darkmatters.
Mataragas said he first started listening to podcasts "back when you had to plug your iPod into your computer and download them." He produced his own for the first time about seven years ago, recording a fancast about "Game of Thrones."
He's had the bug ever since.
"To do podcasting, you really have to have that passion for it, both to do it and to hold on to it," he said. "Podcasting can be frustrating because when you first start out, your sort of screaming into the void because it's hard to build listeners in such a big, deep pool."