Last week we promised you more on Beale Street Music Festival and more you shall get. Unfortunately, due to an unexpected and terrible change in plans, Sav had to sit this one out which means our coverage of the performances was severely limited. So note that the following answers are given based on the performances that I personally saw. There were 66 performers throughout the 3 days and I saw maybe 10-15 total (it doesn’t sound like a lot but if you’ve been to a music festival, you know how the schedules work and if you haven’t, it’s like this: schedules ruin your life by making you choose between your favorite bands playing at the same time, so don’t judge me). Here we go!
Q: What kind of vibe did the festival have this year?
Dirty hippy. It rained every night after the festival was over so the park was completely destroyed the whole weekend. There was mud everywhere and on everyone. I came home Saturday night with mud up to my knees. But it definitely gave the festival a cool, new dimension. It was like a music fest/mud run mashup. Because of the weather and the mess, there was an even higher degree of carefreeness than you’d expect at a music festival. We all just embraced the suck, really.
Q: If you could go back and rewatch any performance, which one would you choose and why?
Cold War Kids. First (no pun intended) because they were fan-freaking-tastic. So, so good. They created such a picture-perfect-moment kind of atmosphere. Second because there was a group of punk-ass high schoolers in front of me that didn’t even pay attention to the performance and were ridiculously obnoxious (stay tuned for a post about how NOT to be a sucky concert-goer) and therefore semi-ruined it for me.
Q: Did you meet any cool people? Do tell.
*laughs* Outside the festival Sunday night, my boyfriend Gabriel and I bought a cd that a random up-and-comer in Memphis was handing out. He was asking for donations from the people who actually took it. I mean, after concluding a 3 day music festival experience, we were feeling particularly supportive, so we took the cd, gave him $10 and worried about whether it was blank or not later. Not only did it have music on it but it didn’t totally suck so we ended up jamming to an unknown rap album driving through downtown Memphis at 12am.
Q: Which act’s audience was the best to be a part of?
Moon Taxi’s crowd was really fun. It seemed like everyone there (at least around me) were genuine fans of the band, so we were all screaming the lyrics with big goofy wow-this-is-happening smiles on our faces. Plus, Moon Taxi is just a high energy band anyway and the crowd totally felt that. The band created a crowd that reflected their attitude and music, which was really cool to see. Gabriel didn’t really like the band that much coming into the festival but he got really into their performance and said afterwards that they were good and he’d have to check into their music again. I think that really speaks to the band’s influence over the crowd.
Q: What band did you enjoy the most purely for the music?
So I couldn’t fully enjoy Cold War Kids performance as an experience due to the previously mentioned punk-ass high schoolers BUT I fully enjoyed their performance musically. Like, cloud-9 enjoyed. It was so, so amazing. To me, they seemed to be the performers most devoted to their music. They didn’t talk to the crowd too much but I didn’t mind that from them. Being in the crowd, you could tell that they thought of their music and performance as art, and were highly focused on producing their best for the consumers, us, the crowd. They got lost in their music and took us with them.
Q: What were the eats and drinks like? Any that made you think “wow that looks incredible, I must have?”
Lemonade. When you’re hardcore jamming and standing in the heat for hours, and with no water stations provided, you become extremely desperate for liquids. I think we ended up spending $10 on lemonade within 20 minutes. And let me tell you, it was some of the best lemonade I’ve had in my life and not just because I was dying of thirst. It wasn’t super tangy like most lemonades. It had a near perfect amount of water in it that quenched your thirst instead of induced it. We also bought a giant pretzel. Mmm mmm, salt.
Q: Which band interacted with the crowd the most?
I remember thinking that Bastille, Meghan Trainor and Barenaked Ladies were very talkative and engaging with their audience. They treated the crowd like their friends, chatting casually and being silly, which was both really humbling and inspiring. It reminded me that they were just people who worked hard to make their dream come true.
Q: What was the most interesting thing that happened to you?
A lot of the bands had instrumentalists performing with them that weren’t actually in their band. When I was walking from one stage to another, I literally walked into one of the guys that was on stage performing with Houndmouth. It would have been much cooler to bump shoulders with and step on the foot of a guy who had performed with Houndmouth if I hadn’t looked at him awkwardly and just said “uh, um, so sorry” and ran away. But it’s all good because I bumped shoulders and stepped on the foot of a guy who jammed with Houndmouth. I practically met the band.
Q: Which band would you go see at their own show based purely on their performance at Beale Street?
Houndmouth. I enjoyed their performance 1000%. They had a lot of energy and did what they could with an earlier crowd that hadn’t yet had enough to drink to be convinced to dance like a fool. Me? I needed no convincing, I dance like a fool anyway and loved them already.
Q: Which performance was a guilty pleasure for you?
Barenaked Ladies. That one was for you, Mom. Also, Meghan Trainor. That one was for Gabriel, actually, but I ended up loving her! She was my pop indulgence *laughs.*
Q: Which performance did you miss that you wish you got to see?
The Struts. We ended up getting into Memphis too late to be able to see them (or any of Friday’s performers, so sad) and they were the ones we were most anticipating that day. I also missed out on Courtney Barnett, who I heard was absolutely killer. She and Cold War Kids were performing at the same time… I made a tough decision and went with the latter.
Q: What band surprised you? In what way?
The Arcs. I had listened to them before the festival because they’re one of Sav’s favorites but, despite absolutely loving Dan Auerbach’s first band, The Black Keys, I wasn’t too crazy about The Arcs. Like Moon Taxi with Gabriel, their live performance won me over and that surprised me. I don’t yet have a theory on how this phenomenon happens but it definitely does and I’m cool with it.
Q: Would you do anything differently?
Punch those punk-ass high schoolers in the face. Nothing at all.
Comment below with your own questions!