Category Archives: Festivals

2019 Louder Than Life Festival 9/27-29/19, Louisville

Dates: September 27-29, 2019

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Our resident decibel-meter man returns once again to the (metal) scene of the crime – check out some of his previous coverage which left our photo editor’s ears ringing just looking at the pics.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

When the temperature reaches nearly 100 degrees for the third day straight and you are aware of the dusty, humid conditions, what do you wear? Why, black of course! The dark color is a must-have for the metal and rock hybrid that takes the crown for the largest rock festival in the United States. This year’s attendance reached more than 128,000 people over the three-day schedule.

It’s no wonder that this festival topped all other festivals this year with the killer lineup that Danny Wimmer Presents put together. (Scroll to the bottom for details on the production company.) It started with Guns N’ Roses and carried on with the reunion of Staind and big names like Slipknot (who had just dropped a great new album), Disturbed, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Philip H Anselmo & the Illegals (whose set was heavy with Pantera classics and even had a guest appearance from the members of GWAR). Wimmer brought over 30 acts of rock and metal and through in a little spice with rap legends Ice Cube and Jelly Roll.


The heat was unbearable, but with constant ear blasting music and enough gourmet food and drinks to hold you over until the late night second trip meal, no one was sitting this one out. With a normal temperature of around 75-80 during the day and in the 60s at night, this year’s unseasonable weather was close to one hundred degrees all three days.

The weather tried its best to dampen the festival-goers, but we got an immaculate festival and a great location that Wimmer and the team had to transform into a suitable site for a three separate weekend festival, starting with Home Town Rising, followed by Bourbon & Beyond, and ending with Louder Than Life. This year’s festivals were relocated due to the old site being prone to flooding and ruining the Bourbon & Beyond festival last year and leading to the cancellation of the 2018 Louder festival as well.


The new site has a great layout but does and will probably receive some planted trees for shade, more shaded tents and or tables for people to sit and rest while grabbing a great meal. Elsewhere at the Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center, fans were able to take in several art displays and live painting, including a large homage to late actor Sid Haig, best known to rock fans for playing Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s films. Other onsite attractions included the Kroger Big Bourbon Bar presented by Louisville Courier Journal, which featured more than two dozen hand-selected bourbons from top distilleries; Fred Minnick’s Mini Bar presented by Bourbon Women Association, hosted by the Bourbon & Beyond bourbon curator, author/expert, and Amazon Prime host (Bourbon Up); Jack Daniel’s No. 7 Sports Bar; The Music Experience; Angel’s Envy Speakeasy; and The Silver Dollar Hunter’s Club, where attendees could find vintage bourbons dating as far back as the 1930s, as well as contemporary collectibles.

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Anti Flag

Breaking Benjamin

Deadland Ritual

DED

Demon Hunter

Dirty Honey

Disturbed

Dropkick Murphys

GNR

Godsmack

GWAR

Halestorm

Ice Cube

Jelly Roll

Marilyn Manson

Motionless In White

New Years Day

Phil Anselmo

Rob Zombie

Sick Puppies

Staind

Suicidal Tendencies

Sum 41

The Crystal Method

The Pink Slips

(Duff watching his daughter’s The Pink Slips)

Three Days Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Louder Than Life is produced by Los Angeles-based Danny Wimmer Presents, one of the largest independent producers of destination music festivals in America. DWP events include Aftershock, Bourbon & Beyond, Chicago Open Air, Epicenter, Hometown Rising, Louder Than Life, Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival, and Welcome To Rockville. For more information on Louder Than Life (#louderthanlife) please visit:

www.LouderThanLifeFestival.com
www.facebook.com/louderthanlifefestival
www.twitter.com/ltlfest
www.instagram.com/louderthanlifefest

2019 Bonnaroo Music Festival 6/13-16/19, Manchester TN

Dates: June 13-19, 2019

Location: Manchester, TN

One mo’ ‘Roo 4 U, gentle BLURT readers! Go HERE for our coverage of last year’s event.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

Bonnaroo 2019 was truly an experience to remember. In contrast to Bonnaroo’s trademark Tennessee heat, this year’s participants were welcomed to a much milder climate, of which only reaching low 80’s. As usual, Bonnaroo included up and coming acts, varying genres including rap, rock, indie, alternative, EDM, jam band, and Tennessee country.  Despite the big names of Post Malone, Cardi B, Phish, and 2019 newcomer Juice WRLD, some of my favorite acts came from lesser known artists. Here are some of my favorite promising artists.

While their names seem unfamiliar, many of these performers will likely become household names in the months to come. Donna Missal is pop artist hailing from the garden state of New Jersey. Her soft calming voice complements very well with the smooth drum beats common in her music. In addition to her musical ability, she gave an immaculate performance in front of hundreds of intrigued listeners. She goes down as my favorite breakout artist from the festival. Friday Pilot’s Club is quickly making mainstream rock popular again. Their classic 90’s pop-rock sound combined with modern beats and hard-hitting guitar strums easily make them one of the best acts from Bonnaroo.  Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers provided a down to earth feel at the event. The band is in their own genre with an emotional old school spoken word rap sound and the teenager nervousness expressed in his vocals. His music has been given a major popularity boost after being featured on the lyric explanation Youtube channel Genius.

Bonnaroo also hosted many non-musical events as well. Attendees are greeted to an Alice in Wonderlandesque clock to take pictures with or purely admire. There were also many 80’s arcade games including the classic Pinball machine. The wooden pathway connecting these events also led to an interactive painting wall as well as a car to paint. As you leave these events you can hear the vibrant music through the tree line to ultimately invite you to the dance party stage. These are just a few of the pop up events that added to Bonnaroo’s campground feel.

Any good music festival has its fair share of headliners. And Bonnaroo sure showed it this year by selling out for the first year since 2013. This accomplishment was aided by the melodic voice of Post Malone, the fierce Hip-Hop style of Cardi B, and the breakup tunes of Juice WRLD. The Event also included the comedy rap sensation, as well as frequent Chris Brown collaborator, Lil Dicky, jam band Phish, as well as their genre relatives The Nationals. Rap Legends Gucci Mane and Childish Gambino were some other well-known acts. Bonnaroo brought out many thrilling EDM acts providing the experience to dance to sun up with many surprising DJ performances. as well as throwing in a couple of metal bands, Gojira and DeafHeaven, which confused many of the event’s seasoned veterans while still drawing large crowds.

No different than the years before, Bonnaroo provided an amazing and diverse selection of musical excellence. This is a guaranteed way to keep your fanbase coming back year after year. I can’t wait to see what this iconic festival has in store for next year. Enjoy these pictures until next year!

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AJR 2

Bishop Briggs

Brandi Carlile

Cardi B

Caroline Rose

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Deafheaven

Donna Missal

Friday Pilots Club

Gucci Mane

Hippo Campus

Hobo Johnson

Jim James

John Prince

Juice World

K Flay

King Princess

Lumineers

Magic City Hippies

Nahko and Medicine for the People

Peach Pit

Phish

Riders in the Sky

Rival Sons

Squarch

The Lonely Island

The National

The Nude Party

Two Feet

Walk the Moon

 

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night Three Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. Go HERE to view his report and gallery from the Austin blast’s first night, November 7, and HERE for November 8. (Pictured above: Levitation hosts the Black Angels.)

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Having no expectations about what to expect of John Cale it was hard to be anything but happily blown away by this 77-year old man’s performance.

This living legend came to rock, and with a great band that is what they did. And to sing his songs which are still about something.

The Black Angels set Cale up perfectly with a fantastic and dynamic set, as they continue looking for that dark cloud in every silver lining it. They found it tonight, keeping Austin Weird, and Dark. This band is responsible for Levitation even being a thing, let’s give ‘em a hand.

Earlier, White Fence from San Francisco also put in a brilliant set around the corner at The Empire Control Room and Garage, because that is what they do. Throughout their set I kept thinking if Syd Barrett and Ray Davies ever had a baby, it would be this band’s founder and creative force Tim Presley.

The LA-based Allah-Las came charging out of the gate as well, working a new LP and playing favorites from the previous three. They have a much ballsier sound live now, without changing what they do, and you know that can’t be bad.

More Black Angels on the Stubbs stage:

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night Two Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. Go HERE to view his report and gallery from the Austin blast’s first night, November 7, and stay tuned ‘cos there’s more to come! (Pictured above: the crowd at Stubbs either trippin’ out or in the line for the bathrooms….)

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Things we learned Friday night, Nov. 8, at Levitation 2019 in Austin, Texas, in no particular order:

1) What Wayne (Flaming Lips) said…

2) The Rev in Mercury Rev must be short for Revelation, because they are one.

3) Death Valley Girls can lick ‘em by smiling, and leave ‘em to hang. [I see what you did there, John. – Lyric Ed.]

4) A year of touring for Broncho has turned them into a dynamic, crowd-favorite stage act.

5) Crocodiles are the best rock band I have ever seen, or at least since The Clash (and before that band cashed out).

7) Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dihr can jam with the best of them sitting down.

Tonight (Sat., Nov. 9), will feature White Fence, Allah Las, John Cale, and The Black Angels – and many more we hope. Worth noting is that Reverberation was originally founded in 2008 by Texas sonic/archival/renegade collective the Reverb Appreciation Society featuring key members of those very same Black Angels. [Who, I feel compelled to insert at this point in your narrative, John, once blew my 5-year old son’s mind at a deafening club soundcheck well over a decade ago. I still have the ear damage to prove it, and he still has the autographed 3-D poster to prove it as well. Have at it, gang, and please don’t return our photographer home with anything less than permanent ear damage from tonight. – Archival Ed.]

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night One Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. More to come!

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Planet Stubbs (see colorful stage photo) and some class acts help lift Levitation 2019 into gear in Austin, Texas, Thursday night (Nov. 7).


A damn chilly night did not put a damper on Vagabon, Devendra Banhart, and the truly angelic Angel Olsen (pictured above). Many bands were blazing down the streets and around the corners, but once you get into a Stubbs BBQ groove, it’s hard to move on.

Tonight, the electric psych sounds of Holywave, Mercury Rev, and The Flaming Lips will light up this stage. And many many others around the corner.

Vagabon:

Banhart:

Incoming: TX Levitation Festival Nov. 7-10

Official poster, above, tells you everything ya need to know, fellow headz! Below, check out some images from our previous coverage, by John Boydston.

By John Boydston & Fred Mills

In most places across the U.S., early November does not bring music fests; the festival season typically wraps up by September. Not so in Texas, where the annual psych-O-delick gathering known at the Levitation Festival reigns supreme. (Below: the late, mighty Roky Erickson, the event’s patron saint, from the 2015 gathering.)

This year it takes place November 7-10 in Austin (in the Red River Cultural District, which will be familiar to any punters who have ever been to SXSW), and with everyone from event founders the Black Angels, krautrock legend Damo Suzuki, festival stalwarts the Flaming Lips, and power merchants High On Fire, to slightly less-unhinged (but still majorly intense) artists like Angel Olsen, Kurt Vile, Chelsea Wolfe, and David J on the bill over the course of the weekend, it’s safe to say that some major cranial expansion is in order. Plus some random opportunities for major physical expression.

We’ll be on hand, with Levitation fest veteran and longtime BLURT shutterbug John Boydston telling the tale in words and images. For the time being, check out the just-announced set times for each day, along with details on how to order tickets, right here. (First photo below: ye old Blurt editor’s favorite psych band on the planet, the Rain Parade.)

Oh, and don’t eat the brown acid, kids. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top will not approve.

 

Indie Film Festival 919 Returns to Chapel Hill Oct. 9-13

Famous names associated with the indie gems include Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Edward Norton, and Noah Baumbach. Check out key trailers, below.

BY DANIEL MATTI

The new Film Fest 919 is about to hit its 2nd year in Chapel Hill, NC. October 9th-13th. Silverspot Cinemas will have its seats filled with filmgoers to check out the hottest movies ranging from foreign films that took over the Cannes Film Festival to films that are coming out during the holiday season.

Top films include the opening night’s selection, The Marriage, directed by mumble-core king Noah Baumbach starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. There’s also JoJo Rabbit, directed by Taika Waititi, who some will know as the director of Thor:Ragnarok, and What We Do In The Shadows, both of which will have 2 screenings that you can catch. Other hot titles include Parasite (Bong Joon-ho), Waves (Trey Edward Shults), and Motherless Brooklyn (Edward Norton).

Check out the full list of films here. Tickets are available now.

Marriage Story Teaser Trailer

JoJo Rabbit Teaser Trailer

Parasite Teaser Trailer

Waves Trailer

Motherless Brooklyn Trailer

Sonic Temple Festival 5/17-19/19, Columbus OH

Dates: May 17-19, 2019

Location: Columbus, OH

 

Rechristened Rock on the Range has become one of the largest – and loudest! – annual events in the US. Above: In This Moment.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

It was a great weekend of Rock at the Temple.

This was the first year for the Sonic Temple Festival in Columbus, Ohio, but as the people in and around Columbus know, this festival comes from the great team of Danny Wimmer Presents. Danny split last year from his partner and is carrying on the great festivals that he has produced for years while adding some new energy on top of those already stellar festivals. The festival scene has been evolving over the years, and Danny and his team are keeping up with the game by adding some flare, great vendors, and sponsors.

This year’s Sonic Temple festival is the new name of the storied, near-legendary Rock on the Range Festival that has been held in May in Columbus for a number of years. Danny and the team knew they had to have an awesome lineup to kick off the newly named festival — and they delivered, with bands like Foo Fighters, System of a Down, Disturbed, Ghost, Papa Roach, Halestorm, Avatar, The Cult, In This Moment, and many more acts over the three day event.

 

There was also a comedy tent with Andrew Dice Clay (below) and Pauly Shore.

 

The weather was perfect for Friday and Saturday, but Sunday gave us a small hiccup with a rain delay due to lightning for about two hours, causing a few of the afternoon bands to be pushed out; luckily, this delay didn’t interrupt the evening headliners. If you missed this year’s event, start planning for next year’s festival, as it is one of the  largest rock festivals in the U.S. I for one can’t wait to see who makes the lineup next year. In the meantime, check out the Louder than Life Festival, also produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, that will take place at the end of September in Louisville, Kentucky. (Review and photo gallery of the wild 2017 LTL fest can be viewed here.)

Avatar

 

 

Bad Wolves

 

Badflower

 

 

Beartooth

  

Black Coffee

 

 

Black Label Society

 

Disturbed

 

Fever

 

Ghost

 

 

Gojira

 

 

Halestorm

  

HO9909

 

 

In This Moment

  

Killswitch Engage

 

Lamb of God

 

Meshuggah

 

 

Palaye Royale

 

 

Parkway Drive

 

 

Black Dahlia Murder

 

 

The Cult

 

 

The Hives

 

 

The Struts

 

 

Yungblud

2019 Hopscotch Festival 9/5-7/19, Raleigh NC

Dates: September 5-7, 2019

Location: Various Venues, Raleigh NC

The annual cutting-edge music festival did not disappoint. Pictured above: Dirty Projectors

TEXT, PHOTOS, & VIDEO BY DANIEL MATTI

When the tenth annual Hopscotch landed upon Raleigh, so did Hurricane Dorian, some nice weather, and some unwanted heat. In three days, a lot can happen in North Carolina. Live music over twelve different venues was not stopped.

The first day of festival activities at City Plaza were pushed over to the Ritz because of Hurricane weather and the rest of the venues continuing at the same spots and times. Hopscotch was off to a rough start but that did not stop people from filling up the floors to see acts from all over. With one of the few metal showcases at Kings Barcade, curated by Solar Halos, featuring Mourning Cloak, White Hills and Boris to Lincoln Theatre’s Ric Wilson, Injury Reserve, and Joey Purp, and Earthgang, Hopscotch was off to the traditional start.

Day 2 was the most impressive day with astonishing performances from jazz drummer and percussionist Milford Graves, Raleigh’s Black Surfer, and Maryn Jones’s new band Yowler, previously of Saintseneca. The nice weather shined down upon Raleigh and along with it came a packed schedule of musicians that came extremely hard to choose from.(Watch a video of Milford Graves, below.)

One of the most intriguing performances of the night was Pharmakon, who had just released her brand-new album “Devour”. Playing to a packed venue, Margaret was unfortunately dealing with microphone and gear problems which led to a set that no one wanted to leave since they wanted to see her overcome technical difficulties and play her set. With difficulties in hand, she ended up forcing herself to finish the set which meant a larger than life performance that led to her do a full on “charging bull” through the crowd and flipping over her instruments. A performance that stung but will continue to leave a lasting impression. (Pictured below: Pharmakon)

As Hopscotch wrapped its final day, the City Plaza and Red Hat shows were a sight to see. Kooley High, Raphael Saadiq, Little Brother absolutely showed what a main stage City Plaza set was supposed to be like and then some. Crossing over to Red Hat where everyone continued to dance the night away with acts, Phantogram and Chvrches, you could tell that Hopscotch was coming to a close as you looked on festival-goers faces and all you could see was exhaustion along with satisfaction of another great year in the books.

Congrats to Hopscotch Music Festival and it’s ten years of keeping Raleigh on its toes. Here’s to ten more!

Solar Halos

Milford Graves

Mourning Cloak

Bambara

 

 

 

 

2019 LOCKN’ Music Festival 8/22 – 25/19, Arrington, VA

Our annual rolling thunder review of the ever-brilliant fest continues year after year, and 2019 was the proverbial banner year. Past coverage: 2018 Lockn’, 2017 Lockn’, 2015 Lockn’, 2014 Lockn’.

Text by Courtney Wheeler / Photography by Willa Stein

With so many music festivals to choose from, why LOCKN’? Let’s just say there is not enough time to list all of the reasons. Here are just a few of them.

The site: Oak Ridge Farm, nestled just south of Charlottesville in beautiful Arrington, VA in a stunning backdrop for this annual homecoming. The mountains, the vantages, the revolving stage & light show and for 2019, with the exception of an initial rainstorm, the weather on Oak Ridge Farm could not have been nicer!

The set-up: The ease of driving in and camping on site is one of the biggest selling points of LOCKN’ given the size of the farm. Car camping is a luxury for a lot of folks and LOCKN’ makes it easy. Once you are on site, you have at least a dozen food vendors to choose from and any number of beverage choices just steps away from world-class, one-of-a-kind music collaborations.

The people: The staff, even as they are searching your belongings make you feel welcome, from picking up your credentials, to coming through the gate, to the merchandise vendors, lost and found and information folks, LOCKN’ staff make you feel safe and at home. And more importantly, they make you feel like family. And of course, your fellow music lovers are right alongside you feeling the love and radiating love of their own! There is a special gift you get attending music festivals, they take you away from the worries of the world and allow you to enjoy life to the fullest, LOCKN’ does this well.

 

The music: Holy smokes the music. There were rumblings about no Widespread Panic and other LOCKN’ staples, but this year’s musical collaborations were, one-of-a-kind. From the incredible Neal Casal who we lost just after LOCKN’ and far too soon sitting in with Oteil & Friends featuring Bob Weir alongside Duane Betts & Melvin Seals, to the crazy talented Marcus King sitting in with Steel Pulse, or the Tedeschi Trucks Band collaboration with Trey Anastasio, the musical collaborations were off the charts special. And how can anyone forget the many times Bob Weir showed up on stage, earning himself an award for the most sets ever played from Peter Shapiro, one of the founders of LOCKN’ and chairman of Head Count, the non-profit organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy, with a focus on registering voters at live music events. These musical memories are ones that will not soon be forgotten.

The special touches: Every festival has something special that sets it apart from the rest and LOCKN’ is no exception. Planners have paid special attention to making the festival accessible to folks of all abilities by controlling the things they can. There is an entrance for folks with disabilities along with onsite parking, making getting in and out of the festival easier, and folks can request services and accommodations on sight at the LOCKN’ Access Tent. To that end, seeing American Sign Language (ASL) at the main stage every evening was a beautiful sight.

The festival footprint is huge and Paramedics were on sight and quick to respond to calls! I saw them in action first hand, administering first aid to cuts and assisting patrons with sprains. Enough cannot be said about the magnitude of the job they face and how expertly they handle it year after year.

The misting stations were a welcome relief and water refill stations made it possible to stay hydrated all weekend without breaking the bank for bottled water, not to mention keeping plastic bottles out of our landfills.

LOCKN’ pays attention to details and it shows throughout the festival footprint and 2019 was one for the books. Please enjoy this photo gallery and reminisce on the power of music.

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