BY RYAN CARCIA
The two-day music festival was held at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. This year’s festival was headlined by artists such as The Lumineers, Vampire Weekend, All Time Low, Michael Franti & Spearhead, 24KGoldn, and Tai Verdes. With the midsummer heat and merch tents galore, it was giving me crazy Warped Tour vibes. I was super grateful for plenty of shade and seating, easy access to water, and many different varieties of food trucks. Bands performed on 3 different stages, so it was super easy to always be surrounded with new music and artists. From indie to rap to pop-punk, there was something for everyone attending the festival.
On day 1, I caught sets from Detention, Mills, Trella, Neil Frances, Smallpools, Tai Verdes, 24kGoldn, All Time Low, and The Lumineers.
As I walked into the festival, hometown favorites Detention were starting off the day on the main, Music Elevates stage with a mix of punky, youthful angst with a good bit of headbanging. Hailing from Akron, OH, just minutes from where the festival was held, the band brought the energy to the crowd early and got everyone hyped and ready for the rest of the day. You can catch Detention playing at Wonderbus Festival at the end of August.
Next up was Mills on the White Claw stage and many came to show their support. He always puts on an up-beat performance, really giving his all into his sets and transferring his energy to the crowd. From his style to his movement, the crowd really appreciated the effort and energy that he gave. Make sure to check out his latest release with Public Library Commute, “Mile High”
Nashville based pop singer/songwriter Trella was up next and played some newly released singles such as “Deep Cut” and “Float.” This would be another energy packed set early on in the day, and she set the bar high for following acts.
Alternative pop duo Neil Frances was not an act to be missed. The duo has seen tremendous growth in the last few years and the momentum doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. While I absolutely loved being in the photo pit for this set, the soul and energy from the stage made me want to set my camera down and just dance. They closed out their set with the fan favorite song, “Music Sounds Better With You.” The duo is currently on a festival tour throughout the United States, so if you get a chance, I definitely recommend going to see them.
One of my favorite bands, Smallpools, were up next and I was super lucky to get to spend some time before the set talking with them and then taking some stage shots during their set. This set was absolutely electric and you can look for more on them coming soon! In the meantime, you can pre-save their newest song, “Cameras & Coastlines.”
I don’t quite remember how I came across Tai Verdes, but I can just remember absolutely loving his music once I heard it. Performing on the White Claw stage, he put on an amazing show, getting up close and personal with the crowd, and even sitting on the edge of the stage for one of his songs. His HDTV Tour through the United States starts September 12th, so make sure to check and see if he’s coming to a city near you!
After a super long day of above 90 degrees and the hot sun beating down all day long, the sun finally began to set and it was time to check out 24kGoldn on the Music Elevates stage. It seemed like he was just up there having the time of his life and his mood definitely transferred to the crowd as everyone was smiling and jumping up and down to the catchy pop rap. During his hit song, “Coco,” he had the crowd participate in the chorus, to which they responded super well and super loud. 24kGoldn is currently on the Vinyl Verse tour with other huge names such as Wiz Khalifa, Logic, and DJ Drama.
Up next was everyone’s favorite band from the Myspace days, All Time Low. The amount of energy these guys still have at every show even after performing for so many years absolutely baffles me. It still seems like they’re teenagers running and jumping around on stage, and just overall having a great time. The crowd for this set was the loudest and most active of the day and of course went insane when they played “Dear Maria, Count Me In.” One of my favorite bands to see at festivals, if you get the chance to see them, I HIGHLY recommend it.
Closing out Day 1 was The Lumineers. Unfortunately, they closed off the photo pit and weren’t allowing any media personnel to take any pictures, but I still had a great time sitting down, relaxing, and listening to the folk rock that I’ve turned on during many late night editing sessions. They just added some new dates to their Brightside World Tour, which lasts until December, so if you think you missed your chance to see them, make sure to check and see if they’re coming to a city near you!
Refreshed after a good night’s sleep, and after somehow not getting sunburnt on day 1, my energy and spirits were high for day 2. Day 2 artists included .Wavrunner, Spirit of the Bear, The Orphan The Poet, Michigander, Phangs, Valley, Dean Lewis, The Empty Pockets, Weathers, Saint Motel, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and last but not least, Vampire Weekend.
Crowds started to form early and the energy immediately started off high as local favorite .wavrunner took the stage. All members were running and jumping around the stage and interacting with the crowd exceptionally well, especially for an up and coming act. The band released their latest single, “7th Wonder” in late June, which you can check out on all streaming platforms.
Chicago band, The Empty Pockets pleased fans with a sound that was a mix of old-school classic rock, folk, and blues. The crowd seemed to particularly like the band’s newest release “Outside Spectrum,” which you can find on all streaming platforms or coming to a city near you on their latest tour with Al Stewart.
The Orphan The Poet was next and I was very excited to check them out being that I had met their photographer on the first day and he did a really good job of talking them up to me. They did not disappoint, and I was immediately attracted to their electric melodies and the guitarist’s pink sweater. I will definitely be continuing to listen to them going forward and you can check them out at Wonderbus Festival at the end of August.
Next, I was super excited for Michigander. I had spoken to him prior to the festival and was very pleased by how down to earth he was and had a great time catching up with him and taking some extra shots. Look for more from Michigander coming soon as the full interview will be posted soon! He’s just starting his first headlining tour and if you get the chance to go see him, definitely do it, you won’t be disappointed.
Phangs is another act that I was really looking forward to seeing at this festival. As a newer artist in the scene, I had listened to a few of his songs and really enjoyed them. I, along with the rest of the crowd gathered around the Radd stage, were impressed with his unique sound and infectious energy. One song that stuck out to me was “Product of the 90S” with Phoebe Ryan, which you can hear coming to a city near you, so make sure to check out his tour schedule!
I feel like Valley has been growing exponentially since I discovered their music and with every song they drop, they only seem to grow even bigger. I had a great time during this set, even singing along in the pit with other photographers to catchy hits such as, “Oh shit… are we in love?” and “Like 1999.” Though their shows for the rest of the year are limited, I’ll be checking back soon with anticipation to see when their next tour is.
Dean Lewis is for sure one of the acts that was on everyone’s must-see list for the festival. The Australian singer/songwriter came out with a huge smile on his face, which matched the smiles and screams of everyone in the crowd. Starting the set with his 2016 single “Waves,” the crowd was present and ecstatic in every moment from then on through the end, where he ended with his most popular song, which has amassed over 1.2 BILLION listens on Spotify, “Be Alright.”
It was then time for Saint Motel to take the stage and it was amazing seeing them perform and getting to shoot their performance from the stage as well as the photo pit. I got to catch up with the guys after their set to talk and take some portraits, so look for more from that coming soon!
Weathers was up next and you can tell that this is a band that genuinely enjoys performing and have perfected their craft. No matter what mood you’re in, their music will fit right in with how you’re feeling. It was also super nice to see the band members walking around the festival and interacting with fans as well as enjoying other artists’ sets. The band is going on tour with Set It Off and wow do I wish this tour was coming near to me, given the chance, I would definitely see Weathers again.
Michael Franti & Spearhead have been fan favorites for over a decade now and they continued to prove why. They played a mix of old and new, including hits such as, “The Sound of Sunshine” and “Life Is Better With You” as well as “Brighter Day,” a new release from their latest album Follow Your Heart. It’s always great seeing them and you can’t help but smile and feel relaxed and happy in the presence of their music. If you’re looking to see them in concert, you’re in luck. It seems like they’re coming just about anywhere that you could hope for this fall, so check out the tour and enjoy some happy vibes!
Last, but definitely not least, Vampire Weekend closed the night and they totally killed it. Their production quality was absolutely at the highest tier and it seemed like the crowd went on for miles. The entire festival grounds gathered to watch this breathtaking performance and the band did an amazing job of closing off the festival.
I had such a great time at this festival and I can’t wait to see the heights that this already great festival will grow to. It was so nice to see many artists walking around and mingling with not just other artists, but random fans in the crowd as well. We look forward to seeing what next year holds!