Watch Matt Pryor and friends cover Elliott Smith at the Free State Festival

Free State Festival is in officially in full swing, scattering authors, lectures, films and live music across the downtown area all week, with the Lawrence Arts Center serving as the hive for the locally-fueled event.

"Heaven Adores You," a film detailing the life and music of Elliott Smith, was shown Tuesday night at the Arts Center and was followed by a special performance. A sort of all-star cast of Lawrence musicians got together after the screening and treated the crowd to a few covers of Smith's songs. We'll go ahead and call this unique group "Matt Pryor and Friends," seeing as how the Get Up Kids frontman was joined by a friendly group of musicians, including Heidi Gluck and Thom Hoskins.

The group delivered a stunning and emotionally rich rendition of the songs, but the film (understandably) left the audience a little glum. They warmed up by mid-set, thanks to Pryor's gregarious nature and his promise to play "not all downers."

Here are a couple of clips from the night:

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit


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