Ben Sollee, Mark Geary among first wave of acts announced for NuLu Festival

NuLu Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 30 | File photo

It may seem like a long way off, but when you’re booking quality musicians and bands, you have to plan in advance. One of the best free parties in the city just locked down some top-notch acts, thanks to a local record producer.

The NuLu Business Association, in partnership with sonaBLAST! Records, together have announced the first wave of artists booked to perform NuLu Festival in September. As sonaBLAST! marks its 15th anniversary, owner Gill Holland said in an email, this is one way his company is celebrating — by providing the entertainment lineup.

Ben Sollee played the first festival in 2009. Sollee is a Lexington-based cellist, singer-songwriter, composer and activist who has toured the world both as a solo artist and with bands like the Sparrow Quartet. He has recorded with Jim James and played Carnegie Hall. Sollee composed an original score for Naomi Iizuka’s “At the Vanishing Point,” a play about Butchertown, for Actors Theatre’s 2015 revival of the play.

The Pass played at the second NuLuFest and will also be returning. Band members will be coming off a European tour. The Pass is a pop-synth band and its newest album, “Canyons,” came out last summer. Reviewer Scott Recker said, “With bouncy synths, funky guitars and steady drums, The Pass gets right to their upbeat ’80s-inspired pop-rock that blends danceable aesthetics with emotionally driven peaks and valleys.”

The winners of last year’s Louisville Music Award for Best Americana band, Quiet Hollers, will be making its first appearance at NuLu Festival. Quiet Hollers was formed by singer-songwriter Shadwick Wild as a genre-defying alt-country, hardcore, lyrically driven band. The band recently signed to sonaBLAST! for a third album.

Mark Geary will fly in from Ireland. “He is the artist for whom sonaBLAST! was originally founded,” said Holland. Geary emigrated to New York in the mid-90s and found himself a musical home at the iconic Irish coffee shop Sin-é, playing alongside the likes of Jeff Buckley, Katell Keineg and Sinéad O’Connor. He signed with sonaBLAST! in 2002. Last week, he told WFPK that “Battle of Troy” will be the first new song from his first album since 2012.

NuLu Festival is Saturday, Sept. 30.