music festivals

Photo by Breanne Bowland

I used to go to a lot of shows. I spent most of my twenties in Chicago, which, oh man, the music scene. Ten bucks could get you a Huber Bock and what felt like constant access to [The] Gossip. Gingerman, Elbo Room, Delilah’s, the Metro, Empty Bottle, the Vic, and countless little dank bars.

I’m older and more tired now, but that isn’t why I almost never go to shows. On about a 1:1 ratio, for every show I attended in Chicago, there was one I called off at the last minute, one I spent huddled in a corner, one I missed most of because I “stepped out for air” and never went back in. A couple years ago, I stopped fighting the fact that I rarely, if ever, feel safe at shows. I had to start saying it in words when I started dating my husband, who goes to an average of two shows a week, and who can predict with almost 100% accuracy which bands I will like. I’d watch him bop easily around a room hugging friends, and realize we’d never have a relationship if I kept trying to go to shows and standing stiffly in the least crowded part of the space with my arms locked around my chest until enough time had passed that I felt justified shouting “I’M READY TO GO NOW” in his ear. [read the whole post]

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San Francisco is one of the more prominent hubs for music festivals in the country, if not the world. Starting with Noise Pop in February and reaching peak saturation in the Summer, and early Fall, with Outside Lands, Phono del Sol, and Treasure Island Music Festival, just to name a few, seeing an influential or up-and-coming artist perform live is an easily attainable feat (and a mere Lyft ride away for most people). We’ve even coined the term “Fauxchella” in honor of the fact that most of Coachella’s top headliners flock our way, year after year, in between weekends performing in the Indio desert.

Despite this embarrassment of riches, in a few weeks, I’ll be hopping on a plane and joining a group of Bay Area natives heading to a city in Texas that isn’t Austin, known as the live music capital of the world, for an event not related to SXSW in any way.

Day for Night, set to take place Friday, December 16th, through Monday, the 19th, is offering an experience that transcends the boundaries of the traditional festival circuit. One of many examples: they’ve managed amazing feats by booking Aphex Twin, who hasn’t performed live in the US for over 8 years, and Björk, who doesn’t perform often, either, and left many an Iceland Airwaves attendee, including myself, crestfallen with her sudden cancellation last year. Add in DJ Windows 98 (Arcade Fire’s Win Butler), who’ll be spinning Ticketfly’s annual Holiday bash, the night before he’s set to appear in Houston (let’s hope he doesn’t crash, ha), and the it’s clear that Free Press Houston and New York-based creative agency Work-Order know how to curate a festival fitting for a city that is rapidly approaching the distinction of becoming the third largest in the US.

Add the likes of Squarepusher, Run the Jewels, ODESZA, Kaskade, Ariel Pink, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Liars, Washed Out, SOPHIE, and SURVIVE – the creators of the hypnotic Stranger Things theme music – and you have a stellar, unconventional, and sought after group of artists that are extremely selective about which bills they attach their name. There’s a reason for this and it transcends the musical aspect of this event. Read on to find out why you should purchase tickets and book your flight immediately.

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Robert Plant headlined Saturday night and played some of Led Zeppelin's greatest hits alongside some from his collaborations with Jimmy Page.

Robert Plant headlined Saturday night and played some of Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits alongside some from his collaborations with Jimmy Page.

The third annual BottleRock Napa festival was a blast and went smoothly…well, for the most part. The same elements that made the festival so appealing to attend, to begin with, including a generally laid-back, down-to-earth crowd, top-notch food from local high-end establishments, and reasonable lines, made the three-day event well worth the trip (as if there aren’t enough excuses to head to Napa already).

The biggest crowd pleasers were, unsurprisingly, Robert Plant, Snoop Dogg, and No Doubt who had massive crowds singing along to every word of familiar hits from their expansive catalogues. The unexpected highlight came in the form of Silent Disco, a service that provides wireless headphones that stream a band or DJs music. The silence enhances the energy within the crowd and it created a unique, transcendent experience for the participants. Each night people could be found dancing blissfully to sounds only they could hear.

Enough about my experience, here are the photos you want to see.

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