Bumbershoot Wrap Up Report

Seattle Center; Seattle, WA
Friday, September 2nd – Sunday, September 4th, 2016
Written by Kelsey Rzepecki

Headliners included Death Cab for Cutie, Tame Impala, KYGO, and of course, Seattle’s very own, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis who put on a lengthy 2 hour set. Other mentionable artists included: Pretty Lights, ZHU, Explosions In The Sky, Bryson Tiller, G-Eazy, Third Eye Blind, Fetty Wap, Halsey, and Tyler, The Creator.

I was also pleasantly impressed by many of the lesser known local bands reigning from Seattle such as: Rabbit Wilde, The Flavr Blue, and Shaprece; all incredibly talented acts. A

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So What?! Music Festival Wrap Up Report

So What?! Music Festival
Quiktrip Park; Grand Prairie, TX
Saturday, March 19th – Sunday, 20th, 2016
Written by Caitlyn Willard

So What?! had an incredible lineup this year with headliners including Underoath, Saosin, Neck Deep, State Champs, New Found Glory and Beartooth. There was a vast variety of genres to please all festival goer’s. A

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Boston Calling Wrap-Up Report

Boston Calling Music Festival
City Hall Plaza; Boston, Massachusetts
Friday, September 25th – Sunday, September 27th, 2015
Written by Eric Riley

Pre-show Grade:
For their sixth installment, Boston Calling brought one of its broadest lineups to-date. Headliners alt-J and Alabama Shakes each are unique in their own regard, but still stood out set against most of the other acts performing. Of the five past weekends that I have attended, this lineup contained the fewest acts that excited me (though, if you read further, I’ll explain how that worked in my benefit). MisterWives and CHVRCHES were instant draws, and I was interested to see what Nate Ruess’ solo return to Boston Calling would be like. Meanwhile, the radio successes of Hozier and WALK THE MOON made them sure to bring in huge audiences. For me, the larger pieces were in place, it was just a matter of seeing who could fill out the rest of the days. C+

Post-show Grade:
Like I mentioned, when the lineup was revealed in May, I wasn’t totally sold on the majority of artists playing. Each headliner held the role because of their large fanbases, but I’ll admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of either’s music. That’s not to say they didn’t perform extraordinarily – Alabama Shakes called in a favor from the universe, closing out the weekend under a blood red moon. While I’m not a huge fan of the music, I’m still a person with working ears and [unfortunately] human emotions, and the power of the performance was undeniable. Where Alabama Shakes closed things out with crowd-shaking soul, Sunday openers Dirty Bangs delivered arguably the best performance that the yearly local acts have yet. Early Saturday, Minnesotan rap collective DOOMTREE set the standard for how bands should perform – energetic and passionate, while bringing
something new to the stage. A good live set is crucial to making new fans, and they surely made plenty; I’ve had their latest record on repeat. B

Highlight & lowlights:
As they always seem to do, each Boston band opened their respective days to decent-sized crowds. Sunday grew at a steady rate, in size, diversity, and intensity, starting with the raw sharpness of Bully and Fidlar before reaching critical mass during Hozier and Alabama Shakes. Saturday, however, saw some signs of faltering. DOOMTREE had the blooming audience rushing closer to the stage with each passing song, while back-to-back sets from Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and lone bluegrass artist Sturgill Simpson (seemingly filling the role Jason Isbell held in May) saw some attendees taking bathroom breaks and heading to the merchandise and food stands. Father John Misty’s dark, brooding indie-pop instantly picked things back up, and from then on out, the remaining artists really brought it home.

Much like I reported last time around, the festival makes brilliant usage of City Hall Plaza. The setup stayed the same, with the stages, vendors, restrooms, etc. in their usual locations, and this familiarity comforted any returning concertgoers while simultaneously being easily learnable for anyone new in attendance. Being set in the center of a major city is a bit of a double-edged sword – the Government Center T-stop is
still unfinished, which is more of an annoyance than a hassle, but I can understand how those who are unfamiliar with the city or the public transit system could get a little confused. The construction site was a bit of an eyesore, but the stop is scheduled to be
finished by Spring 2016, so this could be the last time that that’s an issue. Also, with the wear-and-tear of daily commutes being evident with, as one site had reported, “loose bricks are as common as flower crowns and tie-dye shirts.” That’s a bit picky, if you ask me. Also an easy fix if it comes down to it. A

Almost as perfect as you could ask for – mid-60’s and sunny during the day, with a bit of a chill rolling in as the sky darkened. Then again, compared to the monsoon that happened Day Two last September, any bit of sun is favorable. (Even a year later, I still couldn’t be more impressed with the staff enough for how well they handled that entire situation.) A

Sponsors have always been a major part of Boston Calling, and this year was no different. With the usual suspects, such as Wicked Wines, Polar, Sam Adams, and Blue Stage sponsor JetBlue, coming back once more, the sense of familiarity reached further than
just the grounds’ setup. The free sunscreen and water refill stations were taken full advantage of, especially on the cloudless Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Restrooms, either in the General Admission area or the VIP section, were clean and stocked, and trash bins were emptied regularly (though attendees were encouraged to recycle whatever they could). Oh, and I had my first Tasty Burger experience. That is a very
accurately-named business. A

This was my fifth time going to Boston Calling, and given the chance, I plan on attending every one until either it stops happening or I can’t physically go. However, this year’s may be the most honest, accurate review I can give. Each previous lineup contained a handful of artists that I am crazy for – Marina and the Diamonds, St. Vincent, and HALSEY back in May, Lorde, Childish Gambino, and twenty one pilots last September, and don’t even get me started on how packed May 2014 was. This time through, I’ll say I considered myself a fan of three, maybe four of the artists heading in. Also, on my last visits, I had always been on-site as a pit photographer rather than attending as press. So, here’s me, working a job that is not my forte, for a roster of bands that was (key-word: comparably) on the weaker side. Yet, here I am now, in the same spot I always am after Boston Calling comes to a close: sitting at my laptop, with a handful of bands that I can now call myself a fan of, writing about how incredible this young festival somehow manages to be each and every time. I can only imagine what they’ve got in store for us when May rolls back around. But,
you can bet I’ll be there to find out. A-

Pinelands Music Festival Wrap-Up Report


Pinelands Music Festival
New Jersey Motorsports Park; Millville, NJ
August 15th, 2015

The lineup was pretty solid, featuring big names such as The Early November, The Spill Canvas, Hellogoodbye, X Ambassadors, and Jukebox the Ghost among others. A-

Each stage at Pinelands (a total of three) was so far away from each other all of the crowds seemed to be dispersed evenly though-out. The one crowd that stood out to me the most was The Spill Canvas. Being the ten year anniversary of “One Fell Swoop,” fans near and far flocked to their set to hear the album in its entirety. B

The area was really clean, even with the lack of garbage cans. Then you have the stage layout which was really nice with two main stages about 200 feet away from each other, and a third stage on the other side of the grounds. Sets were alternated allowing for no overlapping, which was a bonus. B

It was a bright sunny day down in the Pinelands. Downside, it was way too dry and humid. B

I noticed there were no charging stations at the festival, unless you had VIP, which was unfortunate for those who needed it. There were two areas filled with porta- potties on both sides and all the food at the festival was supplied by different food trucks. Covering a wide variety of foodie meals, I myself had the Pulled Pork Mac N Cheese. A

All in all, it’s really hard to judge a festival during its first year because there is still plenty of bugs they need to work out. To some people that is expected and to others it is not. Although there was a bit of delay on the main stage, it definitely wasn’t enough to stop me from coming back. B

4Knots Wrap-Up Report


4Knots Festival
Pier 84, New York NY
July 11, 2015

Written by Jon Hecht

The crowd was there for
the lovely sun by the Hudson River under a sky that redefined my understanding
of the color blue. They were also there for some music, but not as a priority.
People wandered. They went to booths (and there were a whole bunch of
booths—more on that in a bit). Those who were very important got to hang out on
a boat.

The people who actually
watched intently did so pretty intensely. They cheered, they danced, and when a
guy in the Meatbodies jumped down to join them, they even moshed. They
completely lost it for Twin Peaks, as they should have. Smiles all around, and
lines not too long. B+

I’m not really sure what
Pier 84 is used for when it’s not a festival. It’s clearly not for boats, right
next to the Intrepid there, and there’s not really enough grass for it to count
as a park, even in the loose definition that we New Yorkers use for the word.
It’s just a big piece of concrete, jutting into the Hudson River a bit and
letting you see New Jersey.

Being a big empty lot
allows it to work for 4knots well. There were a whole bunch of people but it
never got too crowded. It had the gentrified over cleanliness of New York in
advertisements, and jutting into the water made it pretty. There still wasn’t
enough grass, so the people who like to pretend a festival is also a picnic got
a little squeezed together, and being a pier made it narrow, so everyone else
did as well. For those who were really intent on staying near the stage and
focusing on the music, this was perfect, and the excellent sound setup helped.

I suppose that in order
to hold a festival with a whole pile of good bands and keep prices down to $25,
you need sponshorship. There’s a whole “stick-it-to-the-man,” leftover Gen-X
mentality that I have that says that’s disgusting. But in effect, it just meant
there were little booths everywhere giving free samples of stuff. That isn’t so
bad. I might actually really like that. I forgot sunglasses, which was real
stupid, since it was very sunny (have I mentioned that it was very sunny?). But
there were people giving them away all over. I got a pair from the Village
Voice that I wore all day, and even when I lost those I still had some from a
wine company. There are worse ways to sell your soul.

Also, there was a boat.
It had a big vodka bottle on the bow (is that the front? I won’t check). It
didn’t really add to the music much, but if you were the kind person who wants
to hang out on a boat on a summer day (and also a Very Important Person, with a
badge showing such), it worked pretty nicely. I went on it briefly. I think
there were parties on it later. I dunno. It was kind of weird. A-

In case I haven’t made
it clear by now, the weather was amazing. I got very sunburned and I don’t even
mind. A+

There were
porta-potties. That’s annoying. The brand was called Royal Flush, which I
thought was funny-ish. They were pretty good as porta-potties go. The
handwashing station ran out of water near the end of the show. Gross. There was,
as far as I could tell, only one proper water fountain, near
the entrance. There wasn’t really a line for it, surprisingly. It was also next
to some sort of water playground thing, where you could crank a pump and make
water flow through some gears or whatever. I watched a little girl with
fantastic cornrows play with it near the beginning of the festival. I thought
it was adorable how she was too small to work the pump very hard, and there was
only a little trickle going through the waterworks. Then I tried it myself and
I realized the whole thing was semi-defective so I couldn’t get more than a
trickle either. I owe more respect to the little girl with cornrows.

There was a good phone
charging station near the entrance, but you had to listen to a spiel about how
it was solar power and you should change your house to solar power. They were
nice about it though and understood that you didn’t really want to sign up
there. Not too bad. B-

The Most Hard-Core Quote
of All Time:
At one point,
one of the twin guitarist/vocalists of the Meatbodies apologized for his
voicing being a little screwy:

“We had a bunch of
cheese last night. Too much dairy. Bad for the throat! Fuckin’ Rock n’ Roll,
right? Fuckin’ cheese!” A+

The day time was full of
youthful exuberance. The evening had a bit more adult sobriety, but it didn’t
mar the fun too bad. A-