LouFest year 4 for us!


We’re excited about this year’s LouFest! The lineup was released this morning and none of our guesses for headliners were correct (we thought The Lumineers or Mumford and Sons might make an appearance in the STL fest). But we’re still happy with the lineup. I’m super excited to see Lauryn Hill and @docmurda is a St. Lucia lova, so he’s pumped about them. There is jazz, hip hop, R&B, and blues. I am down!

This is going to be our 4th year and I promise I will take better photos and post them in a timely fashion, unlike my slacking of previous years.

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The Case for LouFest

These days it seems like there is a music festival in every city during the summer. Each week it seems like there is a new one popping up. To the non-music professional, this seems like a tough environment to be in if you are either a small music festival, or a festival in a smaller non-coastal market. Now I don’t know what goes into a planning a festival. I don’t know about booking acts, and I don’t know the process for picking the best acts for any given festival. I do love music. All kinds of music. And I also love LouFest. LouFest was my first major music festival. For that reason it will have a special place in my heart. But I also love LouFest for the friendly environment it creates, and I love it because St. Louis is such a great place to visit. Since my first LouFest, Begt and I make it a point to go back every year. We don’t live near each other, and sometimes don’t get to see each other very often. But we have Sandy Beats and LouFest.

This year, I was very excited for LouFest. I bought the super early bird ticket, and anxiously awaited the lineup. Begt and I made predictions, and assumptions. When the lineup hit, I was thrilled. But I felt like I was alone. Reading St. Louis newspaper articles, the comments on LouFest’s instagram and comments in the LouFest subreddit illustrated to me that people were not happy.  The comments varied from the disgruntled, to the downright angry. I didn’t (and don’t) understand the anger. I mean, I wish that LouFest featured the reunion of Oasis (unlikely that reunion will happen) or included a performance from Tupac’s hologram…but I realized that LouFest isn’t going to cater to just my taste. They are going to cater to a wide variety of tastes that will result in ticket sales and happy guests. I am fortunate that I live in a city that gets more than our fair share of shows. I am fortunate that I get to see more shows that most people can dream about, but I understand that there is a lot of competition out there for music festivals and different markets. St. Louis cannot complete in terms of sales to places like LA, Chicago, DC or Seattle. But, they can still host a heck of a festival that beats some of those other cities when it comes to the friendliness of attendees, the cleanliness of the park, or the green-ness of festival facilities. I choose to go to LouFest for the things I cannot get in Las Vegas or other nearby cities. The quality of the festival is the draw. I am spoiled because there is also incredible music.

This year’s lineup rivals the two previous years I attended. There are some great well-known acts, some under the radar wonders and up & comers. I personally am beyond excited to see The Avett Brothers again. I caught them in two back to back shows last year and they proved to be one of the best live bands I’ve seen. Readers of this blog know how much I love Brandon Flowers. Heck, I am paying less to see The Avett Brothers, Brandon Flowers and two full days of music than I did just to see The Avett Brothers once. I am super excited to see a band I’ve been following for a while that doesn’t seem to make it out west very often, Delta Rae. And I am looking forward to experiencing bands I didn’t even know about before the LouFest lineup like Pokey LaFarge, Knox Hamilton and The Suffers. LouFest is the place where I discovered some of my favorite bands like The Mowgli’s, Wild Cub and Vintage Trouble.

I know that this year will be different…as every year has been and will be. But I can tell you I am ready to hop on that plane and head to St. Louis for LouFest 2015. I will enjoy every minute, and in the end I won’t be upset that Liam and Noel didn’t get back together in front of my eyes under the lush trees of Forest Park.

Here is the first of many previews of LouFest 2015.

Here is “Live and Die” from The Avett Brothers.

Here is “Can’t Deny My Love” from Brandon Flowers

Delta Rae with “Morning Comes”

Here is Pokey LaFarge with “Something in the Water”

Knox Hamilton (featuring the Clinton Presidential Library and Mr. Ray Zerback) with “Work It Out”

And finally, The Suffers with “Gwan”

LouFest is going to kick some major ass.

Wakarusa 2014, Saturday (and Sunday)

Saturday was a great day for Love Hope Strength! We broke the goal of 300 people signed up. By the time we put things up, we were at 317, with a day to add to that. From what I hear, this has been the best year at Wakarusa.

We had a lot of on-and-off rain most of the day. The last of it hit toward the of Walk Off The Earth‘s set. They were on my list of sets I wanted to catch, but I didn’t know if it would be possible.  We had a lot of people come by around that time at the LHS table, so I was only able to get close to the stage when they were already half into their set. They are totally my cup of tea. Thanks for the recommendation, @DocMurda! I knew they did a cover of “Somebody I Used To Know,” but what I didn’t know, is that they do so with just one guitar… for all 5 of them. This is basically what happened at Waka:

The only other two sets I wanted to catch that day were The Mowgli’s and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. And they happened to have back-to-back sets on different stages. The Mowgli’s set was such a party. The guys and gal sand a couple of new songs, which made me super excited to think of their second album coming together soon! There were great favorites, starting with “Emily.” After the first couple of songs, the band commented on how lame it was the fact that there were just about five folks in the huge VIP area at the Revival Tent. Usually, comments like that make it OK for people to start jumping the fence from the general to VIP areas, but Wakarusa security has been getting more agresive in the last 3 years, so people were discouraged to do so this time. But then it happened, security opened up a part of the fence and everyone went to the VIP area, closer to the stage, and the party started! Some of the other favorites were  “Say It, Just Say It,” “Slowly, Slowly,” “Waiting for the Dawn,” “The Great Divide,” “Love is Easy,” “Clean Light,” “Time” (which totally made me miss Mike in the band), and most likely, they ended their set with “San Francisco.” I couldn’t tell you for sure, because I took off about 10 minutes before the end of their set, so that I could get to the Edward Sharpe set and get a good spot.

I should’ve stayed at The Mowgli’s longer. After all, I didn’t get super close at Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.. at least not as close as others that got to hang out with Alex Ebert, as he came down to sing among the crowd for several of the songs. These guys from Fayettechill totally got a great shot of it HERE.

When ESMO’s set started, there was an awkward mood, the first minute or so of the song, Alex was a bit off the music. As we would say in my homeland, no le hayaba la tonada. But the band caught up with him quickly and the mood got easy. Jade, who had been voted out of the band just days before that show, was definitely missed, but the show went on and it was awesome even in her absence. When it came time to sing “Home” (because they had to, we were in Arkansas, so you have to sing it, you know!), Alex invited the crowd to sing Jade’s part, and that was the only mention of her during the show.

I was alone at the ESM0s show. Like the first time I saw them, at the same Waka stage two years ago. And the same thing happened. My soul got lost in the songs, specially with Om Nashi Me, which was the very last one of the set. For me, the was smiling, dancing, singing along, and a few tears. I cannot explain it, but that’s what ESM0s shows do to me. I left that Main Stage a happier woman than when I made it there, which was hard to do because I was coming from dancing with The Mowgli’s.

I stayed at the LHS table the rest of the evening and into the night. I watched my first String Cheese Incident show from there, next to a new friend who told me all about their history and how she followed them around some in the 90’s. I enjoyed the show a lot more than I could have ever imagined. I thought I would like The Flaming Lips over String Cheese and, to my surprise, it was the opposite.

The String Cheese show was made up of two sets of two hours each. I had thought it’d be one song for a whole three hours… because, jambands. But I was so wrong. Their second included a lot of their early material, so a lot of bluegrass. The light show was amazing. I really enjoyed watching this show from far, next to a super fan.

Sunday was a wash. I woke up early to get my tent packed, grab breakfast, and move my car out of the vendor area. This was the best thing I could have done, because as soon as I got my car close to the gate, the rain started falling hard. By the time I made it to the LHS tent, there was mud everywhere, my car wouldn’t have made it out of that mess.

My original plan was to stay until the end of John Butler Trio’s set (which was scheduled to end at 12:30am Monday) and drive home. But the rain got me out of there around 2pm. I had a full list of reggae-rock bands I wanted to catch on Sunday, but alas, it didn’t happen. My heart was so hurt and full of regret for not braving the rain and staying for John Butler Trio. They are one of my favorite bands, I love their new album, and there is nowhere else in the States where I can catch them before they finish their tour. But I’ve moved on. And I can only hope I can see them live again in the coming years (Someone needs to make this happen!)

My real photos will come tomorrow. I took my sweat time editing them, but I’m done. Also, who wants to buy me a Canon 5D III? Just kidding. No one has to do that. I’m already saving my monies for it. I hope to have it by Red Rocks. That is the goal!

Wakarusa 2014, Friday

Friday started out with some storms that went on until around 2pm. The first full set I caught was J Roddy Walston & The Business, who rocked at a very wet and not so full Revival Tent. They are pure rock and roll. Almost everyone was dancing super hard. And once they played my fave song, “Take It As It Comes,” it was all over! I loved their set and their energy.

I was able to catch Dr. Dog from the Love Hope Strength booth, they were good. But I was focused on signing people up. So I didn’t really pay attention. It was really good background music, though.

I walked over to a Rub N Butt’s BBQ place while STS9 was playing and ate the best BBQ nachos I’ve ever had, they gave me life! STS9 did awesome. I can really only enjoy them live, because I enjoy the light show and watching their fans go crazy. But after a while, the music starts sounding the same to me.

I waited around for The Flaming Lips with high expectations. I had heard it was a good show, but I guess it requires you to be high or drunk, and I wasn’t neither. There were a bunch of inflatable characters with shiny coats, there were ton of lights, there was a light platform, there were lights, and there was “Realize.” But you know what didn’t show up? The big, transparent ball containing Wayne. That shit was nowhere near Wakarusa. And it was the only reason why I stayed until the end of that show. At least now I can say I’ve seen them live, even if they didn’t impress me.

Happy Waka!

Wakarusa Pt. 3 (finally!)

I’ve made it clear that I am not a fan of lineup announcements break-downs. So, it is with great joy, that I present to you the final Wakarusa (Ozark, AR, June 5-8) lineup announcement. The other two headliners we were waiting for turned out to be The String Cheese Incident and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros (my inner hippie is already dancing, you know I love these guys). We also have some nice names down the list, like The Weeks and Black Joe Lewis. Here’s the 3rd installment for you:
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Here are the first and second announcements.

Hello, 2014!

The last month came and went too fast. So fast, that I feel like I blinked and it was 2014 before I even had a calendar ready. But this year is off to an awesome start. There is tons of new music to look forward to, but my favorite part of the new year is always the festival lineup announcements.

Coachella (April 11-13 and 18-20, Indio, CA) is bringing OutKast back. YES. That is correct. Their first performance in, what, over a decade? This makes me feel like a psychic, because I was thinking about OutKast just yesterday morning. Did anyone (else) see this coming? But psychic abilities aside, this is HUGE news. The other headliners are Muse and Arcade Fire. I might brave the hipsters this year! This festival is going to be so amazing… Apart from the headliners, Broken Bells, Ellie Goulding, Grouplove, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, Foster The People, MGMT, Kid Cudi, The Head and The Heart, Empire of The Sun, Cage The Elephant, and Fishbone are also calling me to Indio, CA! Here’s the full lineup:

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In other local news, Wakarusa (June 5-8, Ozark, AR) has already shared the first part of their lineup (and a pretty new website), but apart from Michael Franti & Spearhead, there is nothing very surprising on the first release. I’m going to need these guys to just drop the full lineup at once, because I haven’t had any psychic revelations about Waka.

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The Hangout (May 16-18, Gulf Shores, AL) will announce this year’s lineup next week on the 15th. And Loufest (September 6-7, St. Louis, MO) is going to make us wait until the beginning of April (what a torture!)