10. Getting In
I know, it sad that this made the list, but the not so pleasant 6 hour wait I had coupled with the 12+ hour horror stories I heard throughout the weekend merit it its spot on the list. I understand that weather happens, but that was not the only factor that lead to the hellish waits. Cars coming from all directions into one entrance that was single file also played a huge role. They stopped letting people in Wednesday night, and then again Thursday night (technically Friday morning) at 2 am, which then lead to people having to park their cars 10 miles away to be shuttled in. There will undoubtedly need to be some changes made here for next year.
9. Tractor Rides
Along with the school busses that were shuttling the unfortunate people in that had to park so far away, there were free tractor rides throughout the festival. The tractors just went back and forth up and down the festival all weekend. They tried to have stops for them, but a simple “hey can I get a ride?” would get them to stop anywhere you were.
8. Mud Efforts
The most proactive festival I’ve ever been to about mud. Although this was another reason for long waits, in the long run, the countless amount of mulch and gravel they brought in was worth the wait. Dancing around in mulch is way better than dancing in mud!
7. Art Installations
The art at this festival was so different and eye popping. From The Sanctuary, to the performance art stage, the wheel of skeletons, the rectangular box of lights people were laying under…even sculptures you could climb! Yea, you weren’t really supposed to, but by Saturday, nobody paid attention to the “no climbing” signs.
6. Lamb of God Guy
This may seem small to you, but it got to me and I’ll explain why. Waiting for Cheese on Friday night, a gentleman in a Lamb of God sweatshirt turned around to me and my buddy and said something along the lines of “when is the Cheese coming on?! I’m freakin out here!” Now I just thought about that for a second, this band really appeals to everybody. Cheese brings all kinds of people together for no other reason than to smile, dance, and have a good time. No matter what kind of music you listen to, you can’t deny the amount of fun you have seeing them. Great to see such a diverse crowd.
5. Toubab Crew
My first time seeing them! What a unique sound coming out of this band. One member plays what I can only describe as a beach ball that has a half a harp attached to it…I know, strange, and awesome. [Editors Note: this is a West African kora] Towards the end the drummer decided to take his shirt off, put it over his head, and go for about an 8-10 minute drum solo. The man knows his drum set.
4. Tedeshi Trucks Band
Another first for me! Famed rocker couple Susan Tedeshi & Derek Trucks showcased their amazing chemistry on stage the entire set. They are surrounded by a beautiful blend of people that combine so well to give this 11-piece ensemble a sound like no other.
3. Widespread Panic Night 1
Widespread normally isn’t my cup of tea, but Saturday night they had me. Although I heard mixed reviews on Sunday, it didn’t stop me from placing it where it is on the list. I had a great time, and someone was kind enough to inform me why I was getting sprayed water on during “Chilly Water”.
2. String Cheese Incident’s Lunar Landing Conspiracy
What a great idea for the festival! String Cheese played their second set with all songs having to do with the moon and space. Kicking it off with 2001 and continuing with songs like Moon Rocks, Yellow Moon, Bad Moon Rising, Midnight Moonlight, and ending it of course with Pink Floyd. All while bringing up friends that included Sunshine Garcia, Bill Payne, Vince Herrmann, and The Mofo horns.
1. The People / The Vibe
They deserve to be at the top of this list. Whether you like to admit it or not, the vibes people talk about at festivals are real, and to me, they can make or break a festival. This crew included an all-star cast of people who were there for one reason, the music. All the people who dealt with getting in had no problem giving the festival its chance to be great, and it was. The amazing lineup brought in the type of people that you want to surround yourself with.
Other worthwhile mentions: The festival grounds are great. The mud was completely non-existent by Friday evening. Water was not made available until Friday.