This past weekend was a muddy one. Not, like, mentally muddy (though the Sweetwater beer we drank tried its best), but literally. So much mud. And we spent the whole weekend—three days’ worth—trucking through it in our rain boots. It was all in the spirit of good music, good beer and good fun. I have some new favorite bands, old favorite bands, and a shopping list of festival essentials I need to buy for the next concert weekend (new rain boots, I’m coming for you).
Check Out: Taryn’s Festival Essentials
The SweetWater 420 Fest is in it’s 11th year, having started from humble digs as a small Earth Day celebration at Atlanta’s SweetWater brewery (their most popular beer is called “420“). Now it’s grown. A lot. Bigger headliners, tons more people, and a new home in downtown’s Centennial Olympic Park. It’s insane. I remember my first time visiting 420 Fest, it was at Candler Park, and I couldn’t even tell you who the headliners were, because they were probably an unknown local jam band. And this year? Tens of thousands of people watched Snoop Dogg and 311 rock out.
It’s a great atmosphere—live music, comedy, art, food, workshops, and of course lots of great beer from SweetWater’s lineup. I helped them get rid of a few pints of my favorite SweetWater Blue, a wheat beer brewed with blueberry. I think it’s the perfect springtime drink to enjoy an outdoor festival. Even when it’s pouring rain and super muddy everywhere.
Sorry for these mostly terrible photos. When it wasn’t pouring buckets, I shot through a waterproof case, having learned my lesson two years ago when I lost a phone to drowning (in my own pocket, RIP) after a rainy festival weekend. J.R., thankfully for me, has not learned that lesson yet. So I borrowed his un-cased, much-better-at-taking-pictures iPhone 6 Plus to snap a few shots. If the photo looks crisp and clear, that was his phone. If it looks like it was shot through a potato, that’s me. Let’s just pretend it’s a cool filter, OK?
Some highlights from the weekend:
Whenever we have tickets to a music festival and after the lineup is announced, J.R. immediately goes to look up every band he’s never heard of. Inevitably, this leads to him finding his new favorite band and becoming obsessed. This year, that was Aer. They’re a groovy, rocking, rapping duo from Boston that makes exactly the kind of music you want to listen to at the beach.
LISTEN TO: Floats My Boat
I have loved Marc Broussard ever since his song, Rocksteady, was the free download of the day on iTunes way, way back in 2004. Seriously. He’s been rocking ever since with his swampy Southern bayou tunes, sounding all bluesy and soulful all the time. If you’ve never heard Marc Broussard, give his album Carencro a listen. Adam Levine even gave him a shoutout on The Voice this week, calling Marc a totally under appreciated artist. A-men!
LISTEN TO: Home
MarchFourth Marching Band
Because my artsy design high school never had a football team, I missed out on this whole era of my life where I should have been getting sick of hearing marching band music. But I never did. I loved U. Florida’s band in college, and now I love this grown-up marching band from Portland, MarchFourth. If there was a sequel to the movie Drumline set in the Castro District of San Francisco, then they made a Broadway musical from that movie, and then Cirque du Soleil turned that musical into a touring circus show, that would be MarchFourth.
LISTEN TO: Gospel, then everything else. Forever.
Delta Rae makes great music, and always puts on a good show, so I have to add them here as a highlight of the weekend. Their music is folksy and bluesy, and they cover Fleetwood Mac. What more could you want?
LISTEN TO: Bottom of the River or Dance in the Graveyards
These French Fries
FORREAL. J.R. had some Parmesean truffle situation, but I went for the Bangkok Fries and they. were. amazing. Thank you, Fry Guy food truck, for putting peanut sauce, curry mayo, chopped peanuts and scallions on fries. You da real MVP.
Going to music festivals is one of my favorite things to do in the spring.. You know what else is a common springtime activity? Rain. Since this is, like, my umpteenth concert getting rained on at an outdoor concert, my main take-away from this weekend is that I should probably upgrade my rain gear. I will get my money’s worth, no doubt. So here is a list of festival essentials I’m looking to pick up for the next show.