Joshua Tree Music Festival is an Oasis for All

By: Moriel O'Connor

I was in Youssoupha Sidibe's vintage aluminum artist trailer, listening to the Kora and drinking coffee with Senegalese spice. I had lost my voice from singing higher than ever before. Raspy and sandy, I sat in reflection and recognized the greatness of Joshua Tree, California and their amazing bi-annual festival.

Life at Joshua Tree Music Festival.

Life at Joshua Tree Music Festival.

The night before, the rainbow sherbet skies turned to black as the full moon rose. She shined golden over the vista. The air was cold and crisp, yet still my heart was warm. Everywhere I looked, there was an art installation or mural. I realized nobody was fighting and everyone was friends. There was no room for hate. We stepped, swayed, and sang together to gather all the precious moments we could.  

LRM_EXPORT_16480585319061_20190601_122919036.jpeg

The festival was all encompassing and unconventional. For 17 years, it has been run without corporate interests or greed. The music fit this mood, with rebellious acts such as Vintage Trouble, Earth Arrow, Cole Williams Band and Trouble in the Streets. The collection of local bands included Gene Evaro Jr, The Adobe Collective, Megan Hutch and more. Dynohunter brought some Colorado funk, and Oliver Koletzki and My Baby flew in from overseas. Much more than a dance party, there were yoga classes, workshops, children's activities, a  healing village and songwriter sessions.

LRM_EXPORT_16496514586429_20190601_122934965.jpeg

The Mojave Desert Land Trust was there as well, educating us on the land and park. The town and national park are named after the Joshua Tree (Yucca Brevifolia). This is the largest species of Yucca, and it only grows in the Mojave Desert. The Joshua Tree and Pronuba Moth are in an everlasting relationship. They cannot survive alone. Sometimes called the Yucca Moth, it is the only insect that can pollinate the Joshua Tree. Female moths collect pollen while laying eggs inside the ovaries. Larvae hatched from the eggs, then use the seed of Joshua tree as a food source. From this kinship, I learned life itself is incomplete without one another. This was a vibe felt strongly among Joshua Tree festival-goers throughout the weekend.

LRM_EXPORT_16466708605595_20190601_122905159.jpeg

If you missed the spring fest, the 14th annual fall Joshua Tree Music Festival will take place this October. North Mississippi All Stars and The California Honeydrops are headlining.

To see more from Joshua Tree Music Festival, view this photo album.

-Moriel

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Denver's Underground Music Showcase Announced Their Entire Lineup Today

Denver’s favorite music event of the summer is back for 2019! Get all of the details:

Who: The Underground Music Showcase (UMS), Denver’s largest and most iconic music festival, just announced the full 2019 lineup and will once again bring an array of acclaimed national and local artists, creatively curated stages, and host endless surprises across the three-day showcase.

From Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28, the 19th annual Underground Music Showcase will return to the historic and hip Broadway corridor just south of downtown Denver.

What:  The just announced 2019 UMS lineup, with performances by more than 200 artists, includes national headliners Honne, Chicano Batman, Black Mountain, Tuxedo, Earthgang, and Still Woozy.

Supporting artists include Empress Of, Yves Tumor, DRAMA, Sophie Meiers, LEIKELI47, Y La Bamba, Gardens & Villa, William Elliott Whitmore, Miya Folick, Tessa Violet, Haviah Mighty, Liza Anne, Spooky Mansion, Greyhounds, Dressy Bessy, DBUK, SWSH, Kainalu, Jackie Mendoza, Clavvs, Rapperchicks, Rich Jones, Divino Niño, Parallelephants, Deezie Brown, Garrett T Capps and more and more than 200 acts from across Colorado. View the full lineup here.

When: Friday, July 26 – Sunday, July 28

59921433_10156486721767753_8491214257600331776_o.png

“UMS is a strong representation of all types of music. This year’s lineup of national and local bands was strategically designed to showcase the volume of musically talented individuals Denver has grown while also inviting some national acts to crash the party. Denver’s music scene is growing and shaping into something special, something worth putting Denver on the map as a nationally recognized ‘music city.’ We have put our heart and soul into ensuring UMS helps grow that positive image for all Denver artists while keeping the soul of this underground music community alive.”

— TOBIAS KRAUSE, EVENT DIRECTOR OF UNDERGROUND MUSIC SHOWCASE

Photo Credit:   Nikki Rae Photography

Photo Credit: Nikki Rae Photography

Where: The Underground Music Showcase takes place in a multitude of venues along Broadway, in Denver, Colorado. More details on specific stages and locations will be announced closer to the festival.

Three-day weekend tickets are now available for $50. The three-day weekend tickets include general admission access to all musical performances and all stages, all weekend long. To purchase tickets, please visit: https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/tickets.

Why: Denver is on its way to becoming a globally recognized music city with locally organized festivals like UMS leading the shift towards more immersive, live music events. UMS is the perfect representation of the vastness of incredibly talented artists from in and around the Denver metro area, showcasing the city’s growing music scene.

Two Parts purchased UMS from The Denver Post Community Foundation in January 2018. Since taking over the festival, Two Parts has worked to expand the number of outdoor stages and experiences and to continue building on the success of the past 18 years.

Grab your presales here!

Complete Your Next Festival Look with an Easy Ink Semi-Permanent Tattoo

Just in time for festival season, Easy Ink has created a revolutionary series of semi-permanent tattoos. Made of 100% natural ingredients, Easy Ink’s collection features large and small temporary tattoo options, along with a freehand ink kit, so festival attendees can create their own designs on the go.

Easy Ink’s “Solitude” design.

Easy Ink’s “Solitude” design.

At BolderBeat, our team tried four designs, ranging in size from small to large. Each application was pretty easy. Every Easy Ink piece comes with an instruction booklet and the proper application “tools” including an alcohol pad, a patch remover liquid, an adhesive remover, and a soap towelette. The whole process is 12-steps but is far less complicated than the number makes it sound. Our Easy Ink tattoo sets also came with directions to store the designs in the freezer prior to application to ensure they remained intact before use. Easy Ink’s designs can last up to a few weeks depending on how well you take care of your design during and after application. Our team’s full tattoo time varied between 1-2 weeks.

Easy Ink’s Rosales.

Easy Ink’s Rosales.

Easy Ink’s designs are a fun way to accessorize your next festival or concert getup, or to test out a design or tattoo placement prior to inking yourself permanently. The brand features everything from tiny, delicate designs like the Rosales to larger statement pieces like the Maori.

Take your festival look to the next level this summer without the permanence, cost, or hassle of real ink. A single tattoo from Easy Ink ranges in price from $14 to $23, so snag your next tat here today!

Excitement Builds as Lighting in a Bottle Releases Phase 2 Lineup

By: Benjamin Tillis

With less than two months to go until Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) music festival, DoLab released the second phase of their lineup. Phase 2 includes names for the transformative festival’s Grand Artique, Favella, Compass, and The Stacks stages, each of which contribute a different vibe and experience to LIB.

One of the most interesting stages is Grand Artique. In previous years, Grand Artique has curated an eclectic group of artists to perform throughout the weekend, many of which have a folk feel. Notable names playing this year are Ozomatli, Rising Appalachia, My Baby, Swingrowers, and WC Thornbush & The Great American Show. The latter is a comedy act that puts you into the world of America during The Prohibition in the 1920s. They sing fun jingles, including a satirical advertisement for cigarettes, and show off their musical talents all while making you laugh.

LIBPhase2.jpg

It’s shows like these that separate Lighting in a Bottle from other festivals. It’s an event that you can walk into knowing few of the musicians and leave with five new favorite bands and DJs. This is in addition to the yoga, workshops, speakers, and other fun events that take place throughout the weekend.

Lighting in a Bottle will take place in Buena Vista Lake in central California, two hours north of Los Angeles and will host 20,000 attendees from May 8th-13th. Headliners include Disclosure, Big Gigantic, Santigold, Lane 8, G Jones, Polish Ambassador, Toro y Moi, Khruangbin, and a much anticipated “3D” set from Flying Lotus topping the lineup.

For more information on the festival and for tickets, click here.

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Lightning in a Bottle Releases Incredible Lineup, Offers Much More Than Just Music

By: Benjamin Tillis

Now taking place in Buena Vista Lake in central California, two hours north of Los Angeles, Lightning in a Bottle will host 20,000 attendees from May 8th-13th this year, instead of its typical Memorial Day Weekend dates.

After festival creator DoLab announced a new date, location, and capacity for their “transformative festival,” LIB fans were anxious to see the Phase 1 lineup released February 15th. It is safe to say people were pleased.

52345708_2546935728656196_8803330140886007808_o.jpg

The biggest names on Lightning in a Bottle’s Phase 1 lineup for its Lightning, Woogie, and Thunder stages include Disclosure, who went silent after releasing their last full album, 2015’s Caracal, along with Big Gigantic, Santigold, Lane 8, G Jones, and Polish Ambassador.

This year the festival also seems to appeal to a more indie jazz vibe with musicians like Toro y Moi, Khruangbin, and a much anticipated “3D” set from Flying Lotus topping the lineup.

50244695_2498456860170750_5081284651511709696_o.jpg

There are still two stage lineups that have yet to be announced, Pagoda and The Grand Artique, which bring one of a kind musicians and theatrical acts you won’t see at any other festival.

DoLab does a great job year after year of bringing in unique and up and coming artists, but they also curate a festival with so much more than music. With a focus on sustainability, social cohesion, personal health, and creative expression, there is so much to experience at Lightning in a Bottle, including yoga classes, sound baths, and creative workshops. It truly creates its own culture that encourages you to express yourself however you feel.

For more information on the festival and for tickets, check out LIB’s website.

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Why Rock'n'Roll Won at This Year's KAABOO Del Mar Festival

KAABOO Del Mar. Photo per Alive Coverage.

KAABOO Del Mar. Photo per Alive Coverage.

This past weekend, KAABOO Del Mar Festival returned for its fourth year of bringing Southern California music fans together to celebrate and dance to musicians of all genres. Katy Perry brought the pop, Wiz Khalifa and Post Malone brought the hip hop, and Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power brought the funk. But even with these star-studded artists, it was evident that rock’n’roll stole the show this year to make the point that while your streaming service might disagree with us, rock’n’roll is alive and well.

Friday, the first day of the festival, Jimmy Eat World took the stage and set the precedent that although there were a handful of bands performing at the festival that haven’t seen a huge hit in the last decade or so, it does not mean they’re no longer making great music and giving one-of-a-kind live shows. Of course Jimmy Eat World stirred up plenty of energy in the crowd when they played classics like “Sweetness” and “The Middle,” but the group still received plenty of positive reception when they played their 2018 release “Love Never,” a song that seems to captivate everything people love about the band while still providing something new and never-before-heard.

Later on in the day, Calabasas, California band Incubus began their late afternoon set with zero apologies. Lead singer Brandon Boyd opened with arguably two of Incubus’ most rambunctious songs: “Anna Molly” and “Megalomaniac.” The energy stayed constant thereafter. For a group that has released only 40-minutes of new music in the past six years, it was surprising that the younger attendees of the festival were jumping and singing as if it was their favorite band growing up. It goes to show that these rock legends have created songs that remain memorable in the collective consciousness of American rock music.

Foo Fighters. Photo per Alive Coverage.

Foo Fighters. Photo per Alive Coverage.

To close out Friday night, Nirvana-alum-turned-Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl embodied rock’n’roll throughout the band’s set. It wasn’t just the classics he was playing that proved his incredible reign as a rock lord- originals like “Learn To Fly” and covers like Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust” were heard- but the sheer confidence and appearance that he was hardly trying, yet epicly succeeding in firing the crowd up really amped things up. At one point, teasing at his legendary status, Grohl yelled to the crowd, “We have 35 minutes left to play 116 songs!” At another point in the band’s set, a train loudly passed by, distracting the band and fans. Seizing the moment, the band played a one minute blues-sounding song just for kicks. It was just another example that proved these performers are professionals, and are still as lively and fun as ever.

Saturday was another rock-filled festival day, and this time with more of a focus on rock that is currently popular. Early in the day, Austin groove rock band Mamafesta brought a completely new style to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. With a hint of funk and plenty of jam band qualities in their sound, this melodic four piece group is one to definitely watch out for in the near future if you’re not already!

Imagine Dragons. Photo per Alive Coverage.

Imagine Dragons. Photo per Alive Coverage.

Closing out the second night were international stars Imagine Dragons. It seemed that the band played hit after hit for a full 90-minute set. Not only was the music good, but lead singer Dan Reynolds was simply inspiring. Speaking out about mental illness and suicide prevention, he acted as a true leader to the younger fans in the crowd. After his words of wisdom, once again the group got the crowd jumping with the epic number “Believer.

Sunday closed out with, you guessed it, even more rock, this time both new and old. Many fans stayed at the “MGM Resorts Grandview” stage from 3:00PM to festival close to see bands like The All American Rejects, Alice In Chains, and Robert Plant.

The All American Rejects did a great job of not taking themselves too seriously. Although the band played fan favorites like “Gives You Hell” and “It Ends Tonight,” they joked between songs that while they may not getting much radio play now, in the early 2000s, it was “hard to escape our music if you walked in a TJ Maxx.” Still, the group gave it their all and played new songs that they were clearly proud to perform.

Following All American Rejects was Alice In Chains, a band that had a larger crowd considering the KAABOO attendees were a bit older than other festivals. Alice In Chains did not disappoint, and it is safe to say that their hit song “Rooster” had the loudest-singing crowd of the festival.

Robert Plant. Photo per Alive Coverage.

Robert Plant. Photo per Alive Coverage.

As exhibited by a large number of KAABOOers walking around sporting Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant shirts, it was clear that Plant was the most anticipated act of Sunday, even while competing with Katy Perry during the headlining time slot. It was no surprise that Plant payed homage to Led Zeppelin by opening up with the tracks “Good Times, Bad Times” and “Lemon Song.” His 13-song setlist was filled with impressive guitar solos and a little headbanging. Closing with an artist from the iconic Led Zeppelin was the nail in the coffin that rock stole the show this year at KAABOO, and a sign that this genre will hopefully continue thriving at this festival!

Dates for 2019’s KAABOO have already been announced for the weekend of September 13th-15th. Get your early bird tickets and festival passes here! 

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Same Same But Different Festival Bringing New Vibes to Lake Perris This Weekend

By: Benjamin Tillis

As this year’s music festival season comes to a close, Southern California is graced with yet another music filled weekend. Same Same But Different, taking place 90-minutes east of Los Angeles and San Diego at Lake Perris this weekend September 22nd and 23rd, boasts much more than just music. They’ve got “camping, hiking, yoga, swimming, and interactive art” planned for the weekend as well.

With headliners Lettuce, The Floozies, and Boombox, the festival is bound to attract more free spirited and dance-loving festival goers, which should make for a fun and open experience. Other musical artists include Dirtwire, a country/dance fusion group that includes members from Beats Antique, and LYFTD, the Colorado-based electro-funk group. And although the music ends at 2:00AM both Saturday and Sunday, the dancing will go all night, with a late night dance party beginning right after the fest’s final headliner sets.

The visual artists whose work will be featured throughout the festival include Hannah Rowan and Krystal Dyer. Yoga and mindfulness workshops will also be taught by leaders in the community.

CoverPhotobanner.jpg

It will be very interesting to see how having a lake in the middle of the grounds shapes the festival. It is very likely that most of the attendees will be taking it easy on the beach or in the water during the performers that they may not know as well, making this festival a great combination of a party and a relaxing vacation.

Bolder Beat can’t wait to attend this festival this weekend to get the inside scoop on what Same Same But Different Festival has to offer, and we are confident it will not disappoint. Tickets still available here.

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Grandoozy Starts Their Denver Reign With a Bang

Phoenix.

Phoenix.

Denver’s Grandoozy festival kicked off yesterday with solid musical performances, a great Denver food truck selection, and though there is no parking at the fest, getting there and entering was seamless for almost anyone we spoke to. This is not Superfly Presents’ first rodeo- the production company are the brains behind Bonnaroo and Oustide Lands- and it shows.

Get your unicorn on at Grandoozy.

Get your unicorn on at Grandoozy.

Yesterday’s sets were hip-hop and indie rock heavy. Phoenix, Miguel, The War On Drugs, Ty Dolla $ign, and Bishop Briggs played across the Rock, Paper, and Scissor stages. Local outfits Tennis, Flaural, and AMZY could also be heard across the Overland Golf field. Kendrick Lamar closed out the night with a set that included fireworks, incredible visual productions, and bangers from across his catalogue. Overall, the music for opening day was very solid.

Mac N’ Noodles is bomb.

Mac N’ Noodles is bomb.

Grandoozy’s incorporation of local food and drink curators is definitely a festival highlight. Yesterday, we tried the “Bacon Mac & Cheese” from Mac N’ Noodle, which was delicious. This food truck was a popular spot among festivalgoers, and there were also notably long lines for Super Heady Tacos, Ba Nom a Nom, Sol Tribe, and Carbon + Habit Doughnut Dispensary. The eats game at Grandoozy is strong.

We’re ready to brave the heat with you on Day Two today, and we’ll be exploring the craft brewing “Arts & Crafts” area, along with the “Flight School” craft cocktail spot, among other things. Come down and grab a drink with us- day passes and weekend tickets available here.  

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Five Experiences We Can't Wait to Try at Grandoozy

41423834_481068079060184_5671644051128975360_o.jpg

Yes the music’s gonna be rad, but if you’re anything like us, you want to know what other exciting experiences you can check out at Denver’s Grandoozy this weekend. When you’re not sweltering for your favorite set, the three day festival (which still has weekend and day passes available here) has given you plenty of options to beat the heat with food, booze, art, yoga, and more! Check out some of what we’re stoked on:

Festival Food

When a festival as big as Grandoozy plants itself in your backyard, you tend to worry if you’ll be forced to eat shitty pizza while your friends nom funnel cakes for three days, but that time in life is over my friends. Grandoozy has partnered with a ton of local and national culinary artists to provide you with a seriously (lip)smacking buffet of deliciousness. Wondering who will be there for your taste buds? The mouthwatering includes: Adobo, ash Kara, Bar Dough, Barbed Wire Reef, Biju’s Little Curry Shop, Brider Rotisserie & Kitchen, Carbon + Habit Doughnut Dispensary, Comal Heritage Food Incubator, Generous Coffee, Highland Tap Burgers, Hippie Dips, Illegal Pete’s, Mac N’ Noodles, Maine Shack, Morin, OG Burgers, Peak Pops, Rocky Mountain Slices, Señor Bear, Snooze: an AM Eatery, Sol Tribe, Steuben’s, STK Denver, Stoney’s Bar & Grill, Sugarfire Smoke House, Sunshine Bowls, Super Heady Tacos, Sweet Cow Ice Cream, Torchy’s Tacos, and Ba Nom a Nom.

Flight School

Get ready to take off at Grandoozy’s craft cocktail Flight School.” Denver’s Chad Michael George, named one of Food & Wine’s Best Mixologists in 2016, will be on hand all weekend to serve you Smoky Spirits, Rhums of the World, an Agave Tour, and a Colorado Whiskey Flight. Each flight will consist of a series of different spirit tastings and four signature cocktails will be available too. Your thirst is calling.

Backyard Chats

If you’re looking for something a little more intimate and mind-stimulating, Grandoozy’s “Backyard Chats” in the 80’s Ski Lodge area of the fest will soothe your soul. Take a break in the shade and listen to discussions on topics around passion for the outdoors and business as activism. Panelists will include Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Blieler, environmental activists Amy Roberts and Alexander Boian, and Pro Slopestyle skier Bobby Brown. There will be a number of DJs on deck to keep the sounds flowing between panels too, making this a fun spot to learn and hang.

Yoga with a Beat

Three days without your regular hiking trails Coloradans? Can you make it in the name of good music? Though your trek to the grounds may be a workout in itself due to the festival’s zero parking policy, if that’s not hittin’ your fitness itch, there’s more. At “The Break Room,” yoga instructors from Sunny Trails Presents and Corepower Yoga will lead flow classes. After each practice, the space will turn into an all-day dance destination with artists from Weird Touch, Soul Clap and Eli Escobar to Jon Hopkins and Kim Ann Foxman. Sounds like this is where you need to be if you wanna keep it movin’ folks.

Art, Art Everywhere

Denver’s been crushing the art scene as of late, and Grandoozy will be showcasing more of those creative Mile High forces this weekend. Yes there will be live mural painting. Yes there will be crazy stage installations. Yes there will be artwork all over the grounds for you to peruse, some of it interactive. But best of all, the local artists involved in Grandoozy include Hollis + Lana, Dinkc, Detour, Anthony Garcia and Extra Vitamins among others. We love seeing local talent in all areas of this fest, and the art world is no exception. Keep your eyes peeled!

There’s still time to cop your last-minute tickets for Grandoozy. Click here to see your options and we’ll catch you on the course.

Why You Need Grandoozy's Official App to Maximize Your Festival Experience This Weekend

This app is so exciting, everyone is doing it.

This app is so exciting, everyone is doing it.

From the festival lineup to the food, Grandoozy just released an app with it all! If the countdown to this weekend’s first Denver Superfly fest isn’t enough to get you excited, learning the ins and outs of this app definitely will.

After your download Grandoozy’s app, customize your schedule and who you want to see under the “Lineup & Schedule” tab. You can set the alerts for your favorite artists so you don’t miss their sets when you’re off at Flight School or Arts + Crafts. You can even see how many people added a particular artist to their schedule and who the most popular artists are if you’re not sure who might be this year’s best kept secret.

Next, move to the “Map” tab and explore where the food, stages, merch and other events are located. In the “Eat, Drink & Explore” tab, you can further customize how you want to experience the festival and see all of this year’s local craft brewers, food trucks, and more!

Make sure to check out the “Go Backstage” tab once you get to the fest too. This gives you the opportunity to get an inside look at what’s happening backstage. There might be artist soundchecks, or just your favorite musicians hanging out.

Finally, make sure to set up Apple Pay! It will give you a secure alternative to bringing cash to the fest, and it makes life on the crowded fest grounds that much easier. Using it will allow you to order food ahead of time, avoid the lines, and enjoy more of the festival. You can seriously maximize every minute of your festi experience with the Grandoozy app!

Still need to grab your passes for the weekend? Do it on the official app or on the Grandoozy website! We’ll see you there.

All show photos per the author. All photos, videos and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Sin Fronteras: Folks Fest Raises Voices in Solidarity

By: Riley Ann

Music from across the globe took the stage at the 2018 Folks Fest, including acts from the Saharan Desert, Canada, and the tasty melting pot of American folk music. Despite the lyrics being sung in various languages, spanning English, French, Spanish, and Tamashek, one message rang clear: strength in togetherness.

Las Cafeteras.

Las Cafeteras.

The East L.A.-based band Las Cafeteras took the stage by storm on Friday with their Afro-Mexican dance party. Vibrant choreography and hip-shaking rhythms amplified their Spanish and English lyrics advocating for social justice. Band members shared the spotlight trading off lead vocals, and they gave shoutouts to various causes, including Black Lives Matter, indigenous people’s rights, and more. They also performed a new rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” by blending Spanish phrases, new melodies, and a mariachi groove into the familiar tune as a modern commentary. You can see their live performance on KEXP and read the lyrics on their website.

Representatives of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County joined Las Cafeteras onstage to recognize their contributions as artists to social justice issues. The chamber invited Las Cafeteras to Colorado on the band’s previous tour and thanked the band for the work they do through music as well as educational programs throughout the country.

Later that night, Los Lobos, another East L.A. band lit up the stage with their unique blend of traditional Latin American styles with rock, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, R&B, blues, and soul. The group made waves in music history by bringing Latin American folk music back to top charts in the late 80s, revitalizing Ritchie Valens’ take on the traditional tune “La Bamba,” along with several other hit songs. While Valens was an early trailblazer in the Chicano Rock movement, Los Lobos carried the torch and kept the movement steady via mainstream radio airplay decades later. With their popularity, multiple Grammy Awards, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they’ve made their mark not just within the Chicano Rock movement, but also with deep ties in the ever-colorful tapestry of American folk music.

Heather Mae.

Heather Mae.

Saturday morning opened with Heather Mae, the artist who won last year’s Folks Fest songwriter competition. She moved the crowd with musical confessions about mental illness, overcoming oppression, and body image evidenced in her song “I Am Enough.” As an advocate for body positivity, LGBTQIA rights, people of color, and more, she thanked the festival organizers for curating such a diverse lineup throughout the weekend, saying, “They are trying to elevate marginalized voices, and that includes women. Thank you.” She concluded her set by inviting a chorus of performers to join her on stage for her power anthem “Stand Up.”

When Darrell Scott took the stage Saturday afternoon, he performed a song that he said was written by his friend Marcus Hummon. The narrative showed the life of a Honduran girl named Rosanna who escaped the physical and sexual abuse of the underground sex trafficking industry, bore a daughter, was profiled and arrested by police, was deported by I.C.E. back to Honduras, and nearly died in the desert trying to reunite with her daughter. Her true story is documented here, and you can hear Hummon’s album version here. The song left the crowd frozen and teary-eyed for Rosanna, the representation of people targeted by strict immigration policies and facing not just unfair, but impossible playing fields.

Saturday evening closed with the Indigo Girls. Despite heavy rains concluding their set early, they shared many of their signature songs, including “It’s Alright,” which is one of many that uses music as a vehicle for social change. The Indigo Girls served as one of the first bands to not only be public advocates for the LGBTQIA community, but also to be publicly out. Beloved by the crowd, the duo was joined by the sea of smiling faces singing along in the rain.

Bonnie Paine.

Bonnie Paine.

Bonnie Paine opened Sunday with the help of the “Cottonwood Choir” and instrumentalists featuring many familiar faces from the Front Range, including other members of Elephant Revival. The ensemble inspired the crowd to sing along with spirituals originating from slaves’ field songs about overcoming oppression.

That evening, Tinariwen quickly became a crowd favorite. The band’s fascinating blend of African stylings with American blues idioms created a strikingly unique sound. Furthermore, the band’s formation in refugee camps and resilience despite the backdrop of warfare, strife, and revolution speaks through the music even if listeners don’t know Tamashek. Over several decades, band members have survived against the odds and continue writing songs fighting for human rights and equality. They’ve even been called “Music’s True Rebels” by NPR. You can read more about the band’s background here.

Tinariwen.

Tinariwen.

Once again, Planet Bluegrass curated a powerful festival, giving festivarians an opportunity to see household names, like Regina Spektor, the Indigo Girls, and Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) alongside the acts you didn’t know you wanted to see. Stay tuned at the Planet Bluegrass website for their lineup of next year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rockygrass, and Folks Fest.

View the full photo gallery from this event here.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos provided to BolderBeat by the artist. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

From the Eats to the Tunes, Here's Why We Can't Wait for Grandoozy

35629231_407206493113010_6883065269460140032_o.jpg

Colorado will finally be home to a new music festival this September. The concert promoter, Superfly will debut their first festival, Grandoozy at the Overland Park golf course September 14th-16th. Being the co-creators of other major festivals such as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Superfly is not new to creating a memorable experience for concertgoers.

During the fest, we can look forward to over fifty acts, all of which will cater to different tastes in music. Big-name headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + the Machine, and Stevie Wonder. While at the fest, you can spend your Sunday rocking out with St. Vincent, and if you were unable to snag tickets to see The Chainsmokers’ sold out show at Red Rocks in 2016, Grandoozy is your chance to see them in an outdoor setting with a great view of the Rocky Mountains. This is the first time Kendrick Lamar will be back in Denver since last July, and the first time since he won his historic Pulitzer Prize for his record DAMN. His performance is going to be a definite Denver must-see.

The weekend will also be the ultimate Denver music festival experience, from the music to the food. Between performances, make sure to grab a bite or a few before the next act! The entire festival will pay homage to all things local, from the beer you drink to the food you order. The vendors list will spotlight local favorites like Snooze: an AM Eatery (Adam Schlegel), Justin Cucci (Linger, Root Down, Vital Root, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and El Five), Carrie Baird (executive chef at Bar Dough and participant on Season 15 of Top Chef Denver), Jen Jasinski (executive chef/owner of Larimer Square’s Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia), and Tommy Lee (chef and owner of Uncle and Hop Alley). You just might find your new favorite dish or meet the chef from your current favorite restaurant!
    
After you have finished your food from our local vendors and feel like dancing between acts,  head over to the Break-Room. It will be Grandoozy’s taste of a disco club right in the middle of the Mile High City. The Break-Room will be a dance lounge to satisfy all music tastes, from ambient to electronic. The lineup features various local DJs who are both up-and-coming, as well as popular within the industry. Some of the local acts will include Sunsquabi, Head for the Hills, The Drunken Hearts, AMZY, and Black Pumas.

Ultimately, this will be a showcase of our beautiful city, spotlight our local food vendors, celebrate our local talent, and it will put Denver on the map for big-name music festivals in the future. This is not the festival to miss, so grab your friends and buy your tickets before they sell out!

Grandoozy pricing starts at $99 for general admission single-day tickets, $224.50 for general admission three-day tickets, $249.50 for VIP single-day tickets, and $674.50 for VIP three-day tickets. They can be purchased online here.To get you pumped for our first major festival, make sure you follow Grandoozy on Spotify, and add their playlists! We’ll see you at the Park!

-Taylor

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

#SheShreds: Rockygrass Celebrates Breaking Through the "Grass Ceiling"

By: Riley Ann

In light of of the #MeToo movement and “The Future is Female” shirts, this year’s Rockygrass certainly took some cues from the times. In addition to the staples of the Planet Bluegrass stages (including Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Peter Rowan, and more), a spotlight shone brightly on the women who have become pillars of the “who’s who of bluegrass.”

The First Ladies of Bluegrass. 

The First Ladies of Bluegrass. 

 

One of the crowd favorites of the weekend was the Friday set featuring Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines, and Molly Tuttle, each the first woman to earn International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards on their instruments. They’ve been dubbed “The First Ladies of Bluegrass” for this achievement.

In the set, Sierra Hull acknowledged Alison Brown, who was the first woman to ever earn an IBMA nearly three decades ago in 1991, which happened to be the same year Hull was born. Brown also earned the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2015, which IBMA states is the “highest honor IBMA bestows outside of induction into the Hall of Fame, recognizing forerunners and ambassadors for bluegrass music.” Hull, who is 26, shared that when she was a little girl, she loved Brown’s album Fair Weather and still does, saying, “It’s such an honor to share the stage with Alison- and all of these incredible trailblazing ladies!” The set oscillated from sweet harmonies to rip-roaring bluegrass breakdowns, and between tunes the musicians gave frequent props to each other for what they’ve contributed to the modern history of bluegrass, like in regards to Missy Raines, who has earned an IBMA for Instrumental Performer of the Year on bass seven times. “We like to say that in bluegrass, Missy reigns!” they said.

The weekend featured a variety of women outstanding in their field, including Della Mae, an all-female band that earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Bluegrass Album” for their record I Built This Heart in 2015. During their set on Saturday, Celia Woodsmith, current frontwoman for the band, also gave a shout-out to the “First Women of Bluegrass,” noting the two consecutive days of all-female bands in the lineup. She hollered, “Rockygrass, you’re doin’ somethin’ right!” and the crowd roared.

Sunday’s spotlight included the Lyons Bluegrass Collective, featuring local powerhouses KC Groves (of Uncle Earl), Bonnie Sims (of Bonnie & the Clydes), Natalie Padilla (of Masontown), and Sarah Cole (of Follow the Fox), among others, male and female.

These women were not celebrated because they are women; they are celebrated because they’re good, and despite the odds. While bluegrass music grew from the roots of Black music (even the banjo is actually an African instrument that’s been morphed through industrialization), it has been culturally appropriated by white men who have kept a patriarchal stronghold on it for generations, causing a great deal of sexism, racism, and classism within the genre. I discussed some of this in last year’s coverage of Rockygrass, “The Changing Face of Bluegrass,” and more in-depth information about the history of the banjo and bluegrass music is available via two great documentaries: The Librarian and the Banjo and Bela Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart.

Although you’ll have to wait until next summer for the next Rockygrass, Folks Fest at Planet Bluegrass is still to come and includes Regina Spektor, Indigo Girls, Los Lobos, Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco), and more. You can learn more about Folks Fest at the Planet Bluegrass website here.

See our full gallery from the fest here

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos provided to BolderBeat by the artist. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Our Favorite Four Performances From Pitchfork Music Festival 2018

Pitchfork Music Festival 2018 has come to a close and we are already having withdrawals. The lineup this year was a truly incredible mashup of great indie, rock, hip hop, and alternative music. They did a splendid job at snagging some top level performers, both established and up and coming. Despite some nasty weather throughout the weekend, the rain pretty much held off or remained light, allowing for the festival to remain relatively cool rather than the typical mid-July heat that typically swamps Chicago. If you have your ear to the ground in terms of music, then this was a weekend you surely did not want to miss.

Ravyn Lenae.

Ravyn Lenae.

Some of our favorite performances we caught were The War on Drugs, Ravyn Lenae, Saba, and Circuit Des Yeux. The War on Drugs’ sonically large sound carried off throughout the festival grounds really well. For such a large band, their execution was tight and refined.

Ravyn Lenae performed on the same stage the next day, and for a 19-year-old just beginning to pop off, she had the most captivating stage presence. The audience really loved her, which was  made most evident when a stagehand brought out a microphone stand wrapped in a pink feather boa and people roared in applause at how great she was before she was even on stage. Lenae played a mix of songs from her various EPs, commanding the audience’s attention and really dominating her set.

Saba, another young Chicago artist on the come up, bounced across the stage for his first Chicago show since the release of his latest album, CARE FOR ME. He had his whole Chicago crew behind him, and brought out a whole bunch of other Chicago artists for the last song of his set, “Westside Bound 3.” Of all the Chicago artists who played Pitchfork this year, Saba definitely encapsulated the love and community that is happening in the city right now.

Saba.

Saba.

Circuit Des Yeux also impressed us very much. Haley Fohr, the voice behind Circuit des Yeux, stood rather unassumingly still on stage. With some gentle lights and smoke behind her, her simple stage presence was surprisingly captivating. Her voice is deep, and her concentration on her music was so evident that it made the audience really care about listening to it.

In addition to all the great performances, Pitchfork also hosted a variety of local food, clothing, jewelry, poster art, and vinyl store vendors. It would have been easy to spend the entire day eating and shopping, as every vendor is excited to share their story of creation with you. This is a fest that provides ample opportunities to take breaks between sets, and offers up nice places to cool off and relax.

Overall, we couldn’t have enjoyed our time at Pitchfork in Chicago this year any more than we did. We can’t wait to keep up with all the artists who performed, and are already looking forward to next year!

MoonSpoon's Day Party at the UMS This Saturday Will Feature a Surrealist Show & Tell, 'Blind Date' Performances, & More

At last year’s UMS, we threw our Brunch with a Beat Day Party and brought you bands like Church Fire, déCollage, Erin Stereo, Mirror Fears, Retrofette, and Whiskey Autumn. This year, we’ve partnered with Moon Magnet Studios to bring you yet another danceable day party at the three-day fest called MoonSpoon this Saturday, July 28th from 12PM-4PM at the Irish Rover. Though the party will feature plenty of musical performances, Moon Magnet is spicing up the style of this event and bringing a ton of fun activities to the mix. We sat down with Moon Magnet’s Reed Fox to chat about what you can expect Saturday:

Reed! What is MoonSpoon?

Long Spoon is a collective label that Denver artist Laura Goldhamer cohered with glorious pals from Denver bands like Paper Bird and Eye & the Arrow. The collective came together while Goldhamer ran a Denver DIY arts and community space called “Brooks Center Arts: Underground Tea House.” Goldhamer created the DIY space in the basement of a historical church in Cap Hill in 2007, and coordinated numerous concerts, art shows, spirituality classes, and other progressive cultural events until its close in 2009. In 2008, Long Spoon released a compilation of Colorado artists, which features such Denver greats like Nathaniel Rateliff and Ian Cooke. Long Spoon ultimately influenced me to form Moon Magnet. Laura Goldhamer and I are now uniting to explore MoonSpoon, an overlap of old and new ethos!

15875383_10212123411504810_210206923774503296_o.jpg

Cool. The noon slot on the day party is a “show and tell.” What is that? Is it what most of us remember doing back in elementary school?

Imagine if you had five minutes to show off anything you wanted. This is your chance to show us your closet dance moves, let the crowd name your new goldfish, cast a shadow puppet or show off your third grade painting or poem. You could perform an impression, read a diary entry, rap, shows us your oddities/collections, draw live with crayons, DJ from your phone, say a joke, or do some karate! Message us and we'll give you a five minute slot to peek through the space time continuum and share anything you want with the world. You can also be anonymous and present from behind our silver curtain. There will probably be a makeshift shower with a lot of reverb if that makes you more comfortable. Actually there probably won’t be. Every 30 minutes we'll take a field trip to the bar in our imaginary airplanes. This is surrealist show & tell, a harp strung with barbed wire, a morphological echo: your lobster telephone.

Following “show and tell” is a Blind Date meets Whose Line Is It Anyway gameshow at 1pm. What are the rules?

Blind Date was one of the most memorable and enjoyable shows Moon Magnet’s thrown over the past five years. Last time it featured members of Other Black, Ancient Elk, Ghost Tapes, Rubedo, Twin Flame Medicine, and Retrofette. This year, I’m sure it will include some of the same people and more. Come get your heart broken! A curated group of musicians will be randomly paired to play a song together. Each song has a time limit to keep their date from getting too steamy- get a room already will yah! Dice will decide how many artists play together on any given song. Everyone in the audience will write on a piece of paper what they want the next song to sound like and a few submissions will be pulled from a hat for each song. No dater will know who they are forced to "play" with until their names are pulled out of a goblet, hence the term blind date. Just wait for the speed dating round!

Sweet Sally! Tell us about Laura Goldhamer's Folktron-a-thon Y2K slot at 2PM.

Folktron-a-thon started between 2009 and 2010 as a somewhat organic open mic which flowed from one person playing a few tunes and friends/acquaintances tastefully chiming in with spontaneous sonic support. Even though it was gently facilitated by Goldhamer, rather than a sign up list, it smoothly transitioned from one song leader to the next. The first Folktron-a-thon was in 2009 but was instead called “Folktron-a-thon 2005,” and thus this year we chose to nonsensically and non-chronologically call it “Folktron-a-thon Y2K!” We will encourage friends to come prepared to perform a song or two, and sit in with others on whatever instrument is available to subtly lend help to the song.

What’s going to follow Y2K?

My solo project Poppet will be playing a special set, ‘surprises are foolish things.'  It will be a step away from my usual routine, and so an experiment. Anything can happen (but should not be expected). The only certainties are organized sound, perfect intervals, and a performative element.”

Meep Records will also be involved with this day party. What are they bringing to the show?

Meep Records is run by Adam Baumeister. He makes lathe cut vinyl records for musicians and vinyl enthusiasts. They make perfect gifts for holiday presents, your band’s album release party, and custom mixtapes for your significant other. He’s made hundreds, thousands of records and is bringing a gaggle of them to the day party. He also cut 20 limited edition déCollage records with our new single on stained glass 7” records. Plus, they’re square! This will be the fifth record I’ve printed through him and they always sell out quickly so come check them out!

How can people who want to join in the fun get more involved?

Message me or comment on the Facebook event if you have a talent or object you’d like to show off at the “Surrealist Show and Tell” or if you want to perform in our “Blind Date!”

Stay tuned for more announcements about MoonSpoon from us and join our Facebook event for the day here.

Chicago Came Out For Their Own at Final Day of Pitchfork Music Festival.

DAY THREE

Day Three of Pitchfork Festival started off weary with a sheet of gray clouds in the sky and forecasts for thunderstorms. Attendees prevailed and the weather obeyed, remaining relatively cool and dry for the entire day! The sun blinked out at moments, most notably during D.R.A.M’s set when he thanked the audience just as the sun came out, and the day grew brighter as he and the crowd celebrated the rays. One of the few artists slated not from Chicago, despite being a frequent collaborator with Chicagoan artists, was D.R.A.M. He played new music that people were already singing along to (such as “Best Hugs”).

Ravyn Lenae.

Ravyn Lenae.

Sunday’s lineup was stacked with some of Chicago’s top artists, making a day for the books as they all ran between each others sets to support and rally the crowd. Evanston’s Kweku Collins delivered a fiery set, spitting rhymes energetically to the masses. He somehow managed to keep his breath for his long tangents of lyrics while flitting and dancing around all four corners of the stage. Ravyn Lenae then delivered my personal favorite set of the entire weekend. Crowds swooned as a stagehand brought out her pink feather boa microphone stand. She came out skipping in a silvery tassel outfit, performing a mix of songs from her latest EP Crush as well as her first EP, Moon Shoes, and Midnight Moonlight with The Internet’s Steve Lacy. At only 19-years-old, Lenae has an incredible stage presence and strong ability to command an audience.

Smino was up afterwards, hopping onstage carrying squeaky clean white sneakers while donning a bright orange safety vest with hair ties to match. He and his band grooved out energetically on stage; at one point his manager even broke out into some serious dance moves as the crowd egged him on. Noname was next up. She seemed a tad shy in the beginning, but once the crowd started rapping her lyrics with her, she couldn’t stop smiling to her music. Her background singers boosted her overall sound as it carried across the festival grounds, making the music that much more impactful.

The legend Chaka Khan then graced Pitchfork’s presence as someone on the mic introduced the ten time Grammy award winning artist. Her band and backup singers had the best energy onstage; each and every one of them could not wipe the smiles off their faces as they played some of her greatest hits.

Closing out Pitchfork 2018’s successful weekend was Lauryn Hill, performing her one and only album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, on her 20th anniversary tour. Slated to go on at 8:30PM, audience members grew nervous as the time ticked over since rumor has it she occasionally blows off performances. 9:40PM came around, and there she was. The energy was insane; the park was packed out to all of the edges with eager fans trying to catch a glimpse of her on stage and hear her historic vocals. She delivered her notable songs with a strong energy, and commanded her band onstage, making an effort to have her art come out exactly to her expected standard. I overheard in the crowd she had a two hour soundcheck.

Overall, Pitchfork powered through some unwelcome weather to host a truly incredible lineup of acts, from some powerhouse legends to ones that will be headlining festivals in only a few years to come. Pitchfork Music Festival provides a really great space for music enthusiasts of all kinds to mingle, relax, and celebrate in the uniting art form.

Whether You Love Rock or Hip-Hop, Pitchfork Fest's Day Two Had Something For You

DAY TWO

Pitchfork attendees braved light rain heading into the second day of the fest this weekend. We started our day with Circuit Des Yeux’s deep vocals. She stood solidly and relatively calm on stage as she completely owned the microphone and the crowd. Moses Sumney followed with another round of incredible vocals, having us hoping that maybe a collaboration can be born between these two backstage. Dawned in black robes just as the sun peaked out before his set, Sumney sang with a space-age like microphone stand, urging the crowd to vibe to his cinematic songs.

Later, Raphael Saadiq brought in a large crowd, playing a jazzy mash-up of his original content and notable songs from other artists, such as Solange and Erykah Badu. Saadiqu had a live painter on stage next to him, who illustrated black swirls over a large white canvas.

Blood Orange. 

Blood Orange. 

Dev Hynes, AKA Blood Orange, gave an awesome set per usual. One of his first songs of the set was “St. Augustine,” a hit track off his latest album Freetown Sound. As if this song didn’t already give you all the chills, hearing him belt out these lyrics along with a huge crowd was downright incredible.

This Is Not Heat provided a complete turnaround for the day. The British experimental rock band had two drummers on stage, in addition to multiple guitarists, a bassist and a pianist. Their sound was loud between the tree lined Blue Stage, and their love for rock spread into uncontained smiles on the drummers’ faces the entire time.

The War on Drugs  also gave a phenomenal performance in the rock vein. Their classic indie sound carried out extremely well over the field, and you could really feel the energy from the crowd watching them. Finishing off the night for Saturday was headliner Fleet Foxes, who closed Day Two strong.

Pitchfork Fest's First Day Opened Strong with Saba, Syd, Tame Impala & More

DAY ONE

A little rain here and there never hurt anyone - and it surely didn’t hurt Pitchfork Music Festiva’s opening day this weekend. The majority of the storms skipped over the festival grounds, and attendees remained enthusiastic for the artists on the lineup.

Chicago’s westside rapper Saba gave a powerful performance. Hot off the release of his latest album, CARE FOR ME, this was his first show in Chicago this year and he brought out all the stops. His Pivot crew backed him up as he played a nice mix of songs from his latest album and his debut album, bouncing between his melodic beat-driven songs, such as “Stoney,” to his ferocious lyricism in “LIFE” and “Westside Bound 3.” LA’s musical group The Internet released their second album, Hive Mind, yesterday and came out to support their frontwoman vocalist, Syd. Dressed in a plain white t0shirt and jeans, Syd crooned through her songs such as “Over” and “All About Me.” Though small in stature, Syd commands a crowd with her presence and the love emanating from her audience was palpable.

Syd.

Syd.

Courtney Barnett rolled out with her girl crew and transformed the festival back to the ‘70s in her oldschool rock stylings. Shredding on the guitar, she led a revitalized performance. Mount Kimbie played at the Blue Stage, the infamous one between the trees known for hosting some of the hottest up and coming acts. This electronic duo’s trippy music cast a spell on the crowd as they bounced between instrumentals.

Tame Impala closed out the first day of Pitchfork on an awesome note. The band came out rather sheepishly as they were greeted by intense hollers from the crowd. Halfway into their first song, two blasts of confetti went off just as rain began pouring down, but even with wind whipping directly onto the band, they powered through. The large LED screen behind them had beautiful light imagery dancing along to the songs and the Australian band had a tight sound. They performer as if they’re already indie/psychedelic rock legends.

Day Two is starting off a bit rainy, so here’s hoping this crowd can continue to power through the weather for some killer acts!

RIDE Festival Is One of Colorado's Most Beautiful & Friendly Fests

By: Cy Fontenot

There are few things more pleasing than the sounds of music complemented by the mountains of Telluride. There is a beautifully synchronistic vibe that resonates within this breathtaking box canyon in the Uncompahgre Mountains which seems to pull together the best situations, and last weekend, RIDE Festival once again brought all of this together.

IMG_9286.jpg

The first day started off with Tyler Childers bringing some grassy vibes to the stage before a rock’n’roll extravaganza began. After Larkin Poe, Big Something really kicked of the jam vibes and then passed the torch to ZZ Ward, who was a fantastic opener for the wonderful Sheryl Crow. Following these female stronghouses, String Cheese Incident hit the stage and took the crowd on a psychedelic journey, kicking off one of the best Saturday nights RIDE has ever had. Following the Cheese, the late night crowd danced their behinds off to Kitchen Dwellers ‘til the wee hours of the morn, and it was all laughs and bluegrass from there! The crowd at RIDE proved sleep is for the dead.

Sheryl Crow. 

Sheryl Crow. 

Day two kicked off with New Respects, followed by the Quaker City Night Hawks, who really pumped the rock vibes for next-up Dhani Harrison. Chris Robinson Brotherhood followed, sending swells of sounds into the mountains and beyond, which set a strong, beautiful tone for the evening. Grace Potter’s set was next and took the crowd to the edge of tears, which really put us in a vulnerable state for what was then one of the most inspiring sets of the weekend, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. Drummer and band leader Joe Russo has the capability to build an incredible amount of energy and fluidity instrumentally, which really set the stage for Tom Hamilton to channel Jerry better than anyone I’ve seen (and I’ve been to more than a few Dead shows).

The Cheese!

The Cheese!

That’s when Cheese came back for round two, and I don’t know if anyone was prepared for their Sunday night set. Starting things off with dueling drum solos, the Colorado classic band played one of the most intriguing sets I’ve seen from them. They created such a space for the human experience in their sound that no one wanted the weekend to end.

Overall, RIDE Festival was one of the most beautiful, friendly, and fun weekends of the summer. There’s really nothing like the sounds they set up squished between the awesome peaks of Telluride. Keep an eye out for next year’s Ride Festival lineup; we’ll bring it to you as soon as it’s announced.

To view a full gallery from this year’s festival, click here.

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

-Cy

The Top 10 Must-See Artists at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival 2018

Beyond the headliners, there are a number of awesome acts scheduled for this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Here are our must-sees:

Pitchfork.

Pitchfork.

Kweku Collins

Kweku Collins is from a suburb just north of Chicago, but has been lumped in with the rest of the Chicago artists on the scene. Collins’ music is a unique blend of self-produced beats over his own lyrics, which float somewhere between rapping and droned-out singing. He performed a wild set at Lollapalooza last year, and is sure to bring that same energy to the Pitchfork stage.

Ravyn Lenae

Pitchfork is notable for bringing a collective of artists together at this festival, but something they’re especially good at is tailoring the talent to represent not only the diversity of the industry, but also the Chicago acts who are hustling to the top. Ravyn Lenae is one of these special acts, along with Saba, Noname, Chicago transplant Smino, and northern suburban Kweku Collins. Ravyn Lenae recently released an EP with one of The Internet’s members, Steve Lacy, and went on tour as an opener for Sza, both have which have skyrocketed Lenae’s career this year. Lenae has migrated from a local Chicago favorite to a worldwide obsession. Still, she hones in on her city’s spirit and is sure to have a truly magical set.

Smino

Smino is a St. Louis native, but moved to Chicago to pursue his career as a rapper. He slept on studio floors while working non-stop and was eventually welcomed into Chicago’s tight knit music scene. Along with Ravyn Lenae, Smino was on tour with Sza, helping boost his tunes up the charts as well. His punchy lyrics and riffs of deliverance set him apart, so his set is sure to smash.

Syd

Syd is the breakout star hailing from two of Los Angeles’ most notable artist groups, The Internet and Odd Future. She worked with The Internet’s album Ego Death, which was nominated for a Grammy and has helped shape the sounds of many of LA’s influential artists. Since her debut album, Fin, Syd has been receiving nothing but accolades for her sultry blend of current hip-hop production with a voice that harks back to 90s R&B pop. Syd is a hallmark artist of our generation and an openly gay female who started off in two all-male rap groups and hustled her way into the world’s most competitive music scene.

Listen to our must-see artists on our Pitchfork playlist:

Saba

Saba is one of Chicago’s most special artists, and is the performer you should count yourself lucky to catch this year. At only 23 years young, Saba not only writes some of the most powerful lyrics you’ll listen to, he has also started a foundation and scholarship in the name of his recent friend John Walt. He’s an artist that not only puts on for his city, but he puts on for people. He dropped his second album prior to touring this year called CARE FOR ME, which is a migration from his previous sound but retains his incredible ability for raw storytelling (listen to “LIFE” for a reference on this ability).

Blood Orange

Dev Hynes, better known by his stage name Blood Orange, brought his ethereal sound to Pitchfork a few years ago and we’re more than excited to see his name on the lineup again. His 2016 album, Freetown Sound, combined a blend of sounds in and outside of music to create a textured landscape unlike any other. He claims he sat in Washington Square Park in New York City to write most of this record. It was there where he caught and recorded a lot of the extra sounds you hear throughout this album, such as a saxophone being played in the distance. The integration of these environmental sounds creates a mysterious, diary-like experience for the listener. You won’t want to miss catching these vibes in the late afternoon sun on Saturday.

Big Thief

Brooklyn indie rock band Big Thief are bringing their synth-tinged guitars and rock-influenced siren-like vocals to Pitchfork’s fest. Their songs are a nice mix of slow, dreamy tunes and more aggressive rock beats. This sonic mix has landed them on a tour with Conor Oberst (frontman of Bright Eyes, one of indie rock’s most legendary acts), as well as an NPR tiny desk concert.

Julie Byrne

Being compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell takes a special person, and Julie Byrne is evidently one of the rare ones. Leaving home at 18, she stumbled into music to quench her own happiness and has since established a name for herself. Living a wandering lifestyle prior to her recognition has molded her music into a soft and observant sound, which will sound beautiful outdoors at Pitchfork.

Joshua Abrams

Joshua Abrams will be bringing some much needed jazz to Pitchfork, a genre too often underrepresented especially at festivals. An early member of the group The Roots, Abrams has built up his career in Chicago’s strong jazz scene. His set will be a unique vibe on Friday, and will set the weekend off perfectly for any music enthusiast.

The War on Drugs

Indie rock veterans The War on Drugs recently won a 2017 Grammy for “Best Rock Album.” They tell fantastic stories in their lyrics while also making some thought-provoking statements, simultaneously rocking into immense guitar tangents that take listeners to another dimension, and Adam Granduciel’s voice has a hauntingly beautiful tone guaranteed to give a listener chills.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.