The frozen air immediately slapped me in the face as I stepped out of the car into Old City, Knoxville on my way to Rhythm N’ Blooms. In the same vein, watching the groups of festival goers walking around the neighborhood I wondered what conditions in the world would permit so many people to leave the comforts of their home to fare this kind of tortuous weather. I’ve always been fascinated by the culture of festivals. My fondest music memories as a teen involved violently moshing to the likes of post-hardcore bands Counterparts and Dance Gavin Dance. The collective being near-death experience that I shared with the concert goers gave me an emotional outlet; more importantly, being at hardcore shows gave me a sense of belonging in a community who also found value in these types of experiences. This near-death feeling — the screaming, fist throwing, violent thrashing — became a part of my conception of “a fun concert-going experience.” So needless to say, a festival that seeks to honor the identity and spirit of East Tennessee feel a little out of my traditional conception of “a fun concert-going experience.” However, after a weekend of exploring this new conception of “fun,” I quickly discovered the quirks of this intimate festival. Here is a list of rad things I encountered during my time at Rhythm N’ Blooms:
This Halloween weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Suwannee Hulaween music and arts festival in Live Oak, Florida. A “feel-good” festival of sorts, the artists were mostly categorized as either jam bands or electronic acts/DJs, with a fair number of hip-hop artists interspersed throughout. Besides the expertly cultivated lineup/musical experience, the three main stages are situated around the ‘Spirit Lake’- a forested area full of art installations, live performances, workshops, and hammock spots with a beautiful Florida lake centerpiece. The inspiration I was able to reap from the weekend was unreal, as festival-goers were decidedly there to kick back, connect with like-minded humans, and express themselves at their fullest.
Pitchfork Fest was a remarkably relaxed and fun festival. The only difficult part was—as cheesy as it sounds—choosing which sets from the vast and diverse array of options to watch. Luckily, Pitchfork happens to be the rare festival that allows you to bounce from set to set with relative ease: the stages are close together which means you don’t have to walk far; the Chicago weather made for an almost too-good-to-be-true forecast to move between outdoor stages; despite the overlapping sets, the times were strategically planned such that you could catch at least a little bit of all your favorites. It seemed, in short, designed to facilitate your having your best time.
Pitchfork Music Festival boasts an impressive lineup that is as eclectic and genre-spanning a collection as it is all-encompassing. Just as it has in past years, Pitchfork delivered a list that truly has something for everyone without relying on superfluous bill-filling bands or kitsch or campiness. Here’s what to look forward to…