Posts Tagged ‘ festivals ’

Secret Stages 2012

One week from today, Secret Stages kicks off its second year in downtown Birmingham, AL, just a couple of hours away from Atlanta via I-20.  Just like last year, the lineup pulls together carefully curated bands from all over the Southeast, with a few wild cards thrown into the mix, too.  This year’s big name is cultishly adored Merge institution Lambchop, an appropriate headliner for a festival that tends to feature a lot of skewed americana.  Other names of note are Savannah metal trio Black Tusk, Florida electro-poppers Sunbears!, Memphis rapper Cities Aviv, and warped noise rockers Dope Body from Baltimore.

The rest of the lineup is all over the place, ranging from indie rock to punk to jazz to folk.  Hip hop and the avant garde are making particularly strong showings this year, too.  Atlanta will be represented by Lucy Dreams, Brainworlds, Social Studies, Arablak, Baby Baby, Bare Essentials, and Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, a surprisingly eclectic group that should give you some idea of the breadth of the lineup.

This festival is one of my favorite regional events.  Most of these bands have yet to break out of their respective local scenes, but the lineup is largely dud free.  It’s a great chance to wander around and discover a bunch of new music.  And it’s cheap.  Weekend passes will only set you back $25, and for $60 you can go VIP, which includes free food and drinks.  Definitely worth the trip to Birmingham.

Check out the full lineup after the jump.

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Hopscotch Festival has an insane lineup

Raleigh, NC’s Hopscotch Music Festival just announced its lineup, and this is definitely worth a road trip.  The festival takes place September 8-10, and the lineup is great mix of long-running experimental acts, rising indie bands, and old school indie rock royalty.  It’s a walking festival with a bunch of participating venues, but there are two “headlining” shows that take place outdoors on Friday and Saturday.  Friday’s big show is headlined by Guided By Voices (who are apparently done with the reunion thing after this fall), with Drive-By Truckers and The Dodos opening.  Saturday features The Flaming Lips, along with Superchunk and The Light Pines.  Tickets to both those shows can be bought separately, too.

Highlights for me are Rhys Chatham, Earth, JEFF the Brotherhood, Mouthus, Future Islands, Prurient, Swans, and Oneohtrix Point Never, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.  The lineup is loaded with great acts, many of which don’t tour all that heavily.

Don’t sleep on this one – VIP tickets sold out in a few hours, so I doubt regular passes last until September.

Full lineup after the jump.

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Secret Stages is a regional music festival worth your $25

One of my favorite things about music festivals is the thrill of discovery.  It’s somewhere between unlikely and impossible that the average festival-goer is familiar with every single act on any given lineup, so encountering new music is almost inevitable.  Even if you plan your schedule around tried and true favorites, you’ll probably end up hearing something unfamiliar along the way.

Discovery seems to be one of the driving forces behind Birmingham, AL’s Secret Stages, a new walking festival that will feature emerging bands from all across the Southeast.  There are a handful of acts with considerable national recognition (Dawes, The Love Language, and G-Side, among others), but most of the lineup is made up of bands looking to make the move from local to regional to national.  The festival was booked with the intention of showcasing some of the most promising under-the-radar bands in the region.  “We literally went through every state in the Southeast and handpicked our favorites,” says festival organizer Travis Morgan.

The Atlanta bands making the trip this year definitely back up those claims.  We will be represented by Noot d’ Noot, Howlies, Oryx and Crake, The Booze, and The Biters, all of whom have received a strong reception in their respective local scenes and seem poised for more recognition outside of Atlanta.  The same can be said for Athens’ Futurebirds, Venice is Sinking, and Madeline.  For me, Secret Stages’ biggest draw is the chance to discover these bands’ counterparts from Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, and beyond.  It’s a chance to hear some of the best stuff from other regional music scenes.  And it’s cheap – weekend passes are only $25.  VIP passes guaranteeing priority entry to venues are $55, and that also gets you access to a VIP area with complimentary food and booze.  That should pay for itself.

The two day festival will take place across six different venues and one outdoor stage in downtown Birmingham.  Morgan says the schedule is being put together “strategically,” with bands assigned to appropriately sized venues and not necessarily grouped by hometown or genre, a scenario that seems ideal for audience cross-polination.  Show up to support some hometown heroes, then stick around to see something new.

When asked about future plans for Secret Stages, Morgan stresses that the festival wants to maintain its regional focus.  The festival isn’t just trying to replicate the success of SXSW or CMJ: “I’ve definitely been to both events and they certainly have made an impact on me.  I know they both started out very small like Secret Stages, but our ambitions are not to necessarily grow to the size of those festivals.”  The focus will remain on putting together a quality festival with the best acts the region has to offer.  Those are modest ambitions, but that’s for the best.  If the festival got too big, it would be at the expense of what makes it unique.

Some of the other lineup highlights are Crooked Fingers, Thomas Function, Wooden Wand, Glossary, Jack Oblivian, William Tyler, Jacuzzi Boys, Pujol, and The Deloreans.  The full current lineup can be found after the jump (there are still more acts to be announced).  There will be comedians performing, too.  More information can be found on Secret Stages’ website, and tickets can be purchased here.

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Hangout Festival 2011 Lineup

I went to the inaugural Hangout Festival last year after winning tickets, and it was pretty much the perfect festival setting.  I’m fairly sure there’s not another major festival where the two main stages are actually on the beach.  Gulf Shores hasn’t gotten oppressively hot yet in May, either, and the hotels and rental properties are still on their spring rates.  Overall, it was just a really relaxing weekend, with plenty of space on the beach between the two main stages to throw down a towel and take it all in.  The only problem was the lineup, which skewed a little too jam band (Trey Anastasio, Gov’t Mule) and mom-rock (John Legend, Zac Brown Band) for my tastes.  It was free, though, so no complaints, especially since the atmosphere was so great.

This year they’ve clearly made a push at becoming a major national festival.  The jam bands are still making a strong showing (Widespread Panic is a headliner), but this is a far more indie-friendly lineup than last year.  The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, The Flaming Lips, Girl Talk, Ween, and Drive By Truckers are all bands that have crossover appeal between the two camps, as do some of the smaller names like Minus the Bear and Portugal. The ManPaul Simon might not be the sexiest headliner ever, but he’s got some legendary material in the back catalogue (plus, he’s the type of act Bonnaroo or Coachella would conceivably go after).  Locally, you’ve got Cee Lo Green and Dead Confederate representing Georgia.

I really cannot stress enough how much fun this was last year.  With a lineup that’s more tailored to my tastes, it’s going to be even better.  Full lineup after the jump.

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Forward to the Apocalypse Fest is this weekend

Forward to the Apocalypse Fest happens this weekend at Eyedrum in Atlanta, featuring 23 heavy bands from all across the country over 3 nights.  There’s also a carnival all 3 nights courtesy of Mr. Blank’s Carnivale of Blackhearts.  I can’t say I’m familiar with that many of the bands in the lineup, but I can definitely vouch for Friday:  Thou, Sons of Tonatiuh, and Batillus are all pretty great.  If you like metal or generally heavy music, this looks like a good way to spend your weekend.  Three day passes are $25 if you buy them in advance.  Friday and Saturday will be $15 at the door, while Sunday’s only $12.

More information can be found here.  Full lineup and schedule after the jump.

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Next Big Nashville 2010 lineup

Next Big Nashville is in its fifth year, and the organizers have furthered their goal of becoming a smaller, regional version of SXSW or the CMJ Music Marathon by netting a solid group of nationally known indie acts to headline.  It’s an interesting lineup – obvious choices like Yeasayer and Wavves are joined by the likes of Moon Duo, Garotas Suecas, and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (who’s on his final tour under that moniker).  Javelin, Tennis, The Hood Internet, The Mynabirds, and These United States will be there, too.  Georgia is represented by Washed Out, Elf Power, and (*cringe*) Vonnegutt.

NBN has joined together with the Leadership Music Digital Summit this year, but that’s more relevant to the industry side of things than it is to the live music.  The music is spread out over 4 days (September 29-October 2) and will feature over 150 bands at 12 different venues.  Most of those bands appear to be from the Nashville area, with some of the more notable ones being Turb0 Fruits, Heavy Cream, Glossary, The Protomen, and Cheap Time.

Honestly, the most appealing thing about this festival is the price.  Earlybird wristbands are $40, and after those sell out the price only goes up to $50.  The wristbands get you into any venue for all 4 days.

The full lineup can be found here.

Live review: The Goat Farm festival

Hawks

Mermaids

The N.E.C.

Saturday’s festival at The Goat Farm was a great time and a nice representation of the Atlanta music scene I’ve come to know and love in the 13 months since I moved to this city.  The festival itself was also one of the most well run DIY events I’ve ever been to.  It’s hard to find anything wrong with a free event that features 15 bands, free beer, cheap food, and a generous BYOB policy.

As for the music, I’m glad I finally caught All the Saints.  They gave probably my favorite performance of the festival.  I’m also glad I stuck around for Atlas Sound.  I respect Bradford Cox and see why his music appeals to so many people, but I’d never really connected with either Deerhunter or Atlas Sound until Saturday night.  He blew me away.  It was the “eureka!” moment I’ve looked for both times I’ve seen Deerhunter live and every time either of his projects puts out a new record.  I think it’s time to give his body of work another shot.

I’ve written about most of the other bands that played before, and I’m sure I’ll write about many of them again in the future, so I don’t feel the need to go into too much detail.  Most of my favorites delivered:  Lyonnais, Mermaids, Hawks, This Piano Plays Itself.  The Coathangers might have drunkenly whiffed it, but they were down a member anyway.  If Saturday was the only time you’ve seen them, give them another chance.  Sole out-of-towners TV Torso played solid tunes that sounded like classic ’90s indie rock.  Abby Go Go has sounded better and better lately.

That’s pretty much it.  More pictures after the jump.

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