Combining incredibly talented musicians with luscious landscapes and tempting concessions, music festivals are beloved destinations for a majority of America’s youths. From Bonnaroo to Coachella, Austin City Limits to Catskill Chill, every festival has a uniquely-curated story to tell.
Festival – The Film will provide one of the first honest looks at festival culture. Following seven festivalgoers over the course of one magic weekend, the film will show the depth and expressionism that festivals nurture. Leading up to the film’s release, we asked Assistant Director, Executive Producer, and Experienced Festivalgoer Brent Kado to share some of his favorite festival moments.
Watch a trailer of the festival here, and read on to see Kado’s top 10!
1. Santana, Taste of Chicago ‘05
It was my first time seeing the legend and over 1 million people descended on Grant Park for his set. And even though the crowd size was unfathomable and he was in the midst of his modern rise to pop music super-stardom, he mesmerized the masses. Los Lonely Boys sat in as well.
2. Cypress Hill- Woodstock ’94
My first festival and without question unforgettable. Plenty of sets stand out from the Hall of Fame lineup but The Hill’s afternoon blazer was not only on-point, but foreshadowed quality live hip-hop at summer music festivals to come over a decade later.
3. Pelican, Intonation (Pitchfork) ‘05
The first couple Pitchforks had almost too many must-see bands on the bill. This Chicago day was hot, humid, it was 1:30 in the afternoon and Pelican didn’t give a f*ck! They unleashed an unforgiving half hour, post-metal soundtrack-esque set that is forever burnt in my brain.
4. Lotus – Rothbury ’09
10 years earlier I had seen Lotus for the first time with about three other fans in a small restaurant in Goshen, IN. I’ve remained an ardent fan (and occasional video collaborator) over the years but seeing them crush it in front of over 25K during this set was surreal.
5. Allman Brothers Band – All Good ’12
Long time listener, first time caller. Finally got to see ABB and they didn’t disappoint. Played a handful of my personal faves all in the comfy setting of All Good.
6. Nas & Damian Marley – North Coast Music Festival ‘10
There was something special in the air the final night of the inaugural North Coast. The festival proved that a typical camping-style fest lineup could make it in an urban environment. Louis Farrakhan rolled up to sit side stage to check out the set and 40,000 happy fans were heavy-swaying to the Jamrock.
7. Widespread Panic, Night Two – Bonnaroo ’02
Southern nights with plenty of south fried jams, Widespread Panic laid out a perfect two night set list for the inaugural Bonnaroo that would usher in a new generation of summer music fests. Sit-ins from Steve Winwood, Dottie Peoples and DJ Logic add extra flavor. (Listen to the set here)
8. Black Keys- Lollapalooza ’05
The great thing about large music festivals is that you literally stumble upon bands that you know little about. So was the case for me with the Black Keys in 2005. I’d heard a couple tracks off of Thickfreakness and Rubber Factory, but their live set at Lolla got my attention for all the right reasons.
Here they are playing the same festival in 2013…
9. Big Gigantic, Summerdance ‘11
I had some how missed Big G at a couple other festivals that summer but being able to see them for the first time with a cozy, crazed crowd at Nelson Ledges was worth the wait. I believe the proper terminology from that time period was “Straight Heat!”
10. Avett Brothers, Chicago Bluegrass and Blues, ‘08
Catching a band in concert right before they blow up in the mainstream is always a nice win. Avett Brothers played with precise passion and played it perfectly at this, at the time, young, Winter festival.
Justin Townes Earle, Metronome. ‘09. Holy Fuck, Wicker Park Fest, ‘10. Umphrey’s McGee NCMF ‘10, Band of Horses, Pitchfork ‘06, EOTO, Summerdance ‘09. Lotus, Summercamp ‘08.
For more information about Festival – The Film, head to the fest’s official Indiegogo page.