Lollapalooza 2017: The Wet, The Wild and The Wonderous

By: Seth Johnson | Photos: Berto Campos

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The Drums

Lollapalooza never ceases to be a rollercoaster, with twists and turns coming with each and every trek across Grant Park. This year was certainly no different, as the festival provided its fair share of fanfare. Below, follow Seth Johnson’s four-day journey at the fest, with photos from Roberto Campos.

Walking past folks in business attire on the way to a four-day party felt a bit odd, but so it goes with a Chicago festival that starts on a Thursday. Heading into Lollapalooza 2017, I was greeted by the pleasant psychedelic sounds of Temples, before catching a charming set from Jonny Pierce and The Drums. The New York guitar pop group played several selections from their 2017 album, Abysmal Thoughts, while also intermingling in classics from their earlier releases. From here, my wild, wild festival ride kicked it up several notches as I headed to a set from the Atlanta trap trio Migos, who played an abbreviated set due to a late arrival. Following this madness, I briefly popped by Cage the Elephant before making my way to see Kaytranada. A longtime favorite of My Old Kentucky Blog, the 2016 Polaris Prize winner did not disappoint, playing a fantastically groovy DJ set that wound up being my favorite moment of the day. Following Kaytranada, I headed to see Lorde, who would unfortunately have her set cut short after just a few songs due to a torrential downpour.

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Friday was perhaps my favorite day of the festival, with artists both new and old pulling out all the stops. I kicked off my day with Cloud Nothings, who wowed on one of the fest’s biggest stages. After heading onward, I caught a phenomenal set from The Lemon Twigs. With harmonies that brought Neil Young to mind, the group showed a great deal of versatility throughout their performance, even playing some songs from an upcoming EP titled Brothers of Destruction. After catching high-energy sets from Phantogram and Run the Jewels, I hiked my weary legs over to see Whitney. Another longtime favorite of My Old Kentucky Blog, the group played a quick-fire set that featured a new song as well as a guest appearance from Joey Purp. After having a nostalgia-filled finale to my festival with time split between Blink-182 (no shame), Crystal Castles and The Killers, my photographer and I headed to an intimate Mac Demarco after show, where the always entertaining Viceroy Cowboy gave the audience all that they wanted and then some (he took off his pants near set’s end).

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Cloud Nothings

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The Lemon Twigs

Saturday at Lollapalooza was certainly the most underwhelming day of the fest, despite a few bright spots. My day started off with an appropriately sunny set from Alvvays, who unveiled some new tracks from their upcoming album, Antisocialites. Next, I caught a little bit of Glass Animals, before enjoying an intimate smaller-stage performance from Warpaint. After a day of chilled-out pop, I was given an unabashed trap slap from 21 Savage, whose hit song “Bank Account” is all the rage right now. Following this performance, I made my way to catch an endearing set from Chance the Rapper. As expected, Chance gave Chicago all that they could’ve asked for and then some, even welcoming Vic Mensa up on stage to perform his verse on the Acid Rap classic “Cocoa Butter Kisses”. Backed by a band that featured none other than Nico Segal (a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet), Lil Chano from 79th delivered songs from 2016’s Coloring Book with the perfect amount of heart and soul, even treating hardcore fans to a deep cut from 2015’s Surf. After weaving through the late-night masses, I made my way to another after party, headlined this time by Sylvan Esso. Despite it being day three of the festival, I quickly forgot about my tiredness upon walking into the fourth floor venue and hearing the indie-pop duo do their thing. Consisting of singer Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) and producer Nick Sanborn (Megafaun, Made of Oak), Sylvan Esso performed several selections from their impressive sophomore album, What Now, before letting a dance floor full of fans disperse into the night.

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21 Savage

By Sunday, I had come to the conclusion that my feet and back were going to hurt well into the following week (they did). Nevertheless, I went back at it for one more day, which would turn out to be the most high-energy of them all. My final Grant Park excursion started out with Chicago’s Noname, who dropped her excellent debut mixtape Telefone in 2016.. Next, I jumped over to a set from Car Seat Headrest — a band that continues to gel more and more each time I see them. At Lollapalooza, Will Toledo and company played selections from both Teens of Style and Teens of Denial, while also performing a brand new tune as well. Following this soothing start to Sunday, my turn-up meter nearly burst as I caught back-to-back-to-back sets from Lil Yachty, Big Sean and Joey Bada$$. All three with their own unique styles, Yachty, Sean and Joey gave rap fans all that they wanted and then some, while also giving the festival security a headache too. To close out my time at Lollapalooza, I decided to go out with a bang, enjoying an excellent set from legendary French electronic duo Justice. Much like Daft Punk, Justice orchestrated a DJ set that skillfully meshed songs together from their three-album catalog, helping the remaining Lollapalooza crowd forget about their problems one more time before heading back out into the real world.

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Cage the Elephant

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Tegan and Sara

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Crystal Castles

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Run the Jewels

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Big Sean

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Lil Yachty

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Tove Lo

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Charli XCX

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The xx

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Sylvan Esso

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Mac Demarco

Five Moments We’ll Never Forget from Pitchfork Music Festival 2017

By: Seth Johnson | Photos: Berto Campos

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A Tribe Called Quest

It’s a mild summer night in Chicago, and a beautifully diverse crowd of music fans stands attentively, clinging onto each and every syllable from A Tribe Called Quest. After sprinting through an award tour of hits, both old and new, the legendary hip-hop group is nearing the end of their time at Pitchfork Music Festival 2017. But you better believe Q-Tip is not going to let the curtain drop without one more unified chant for equality.

“Say, ‘We the people, we are equal,’” Q-Tip urges, emphatically. “Say, ‘Resist, resist.’”

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A Tribe Called Quest

The crowd complies, continuing to follow the emcee’s lead as the chant repeats several times before finally ceasing. This moment of solidarity is what ends Tribe’s performance, leaving a mark on each and every person who stuck around until the end of their headlining set.

A Tribe Called Quest’s call for equality is just one of the many memorable moments from Pitchfork Music Festival 2017. Below are some more that stood out to us, along with photos from the festival taken by Roberto Campos.

Danny Brown and Vince Staples Thump and Bump

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Vince Staples

Pitchfork’s Friday schedule offered up a dynamic pairing of hip-hop performances, with Vince Staples kicking off the thump and bump. Performing several songs from his phenomenal new album, Big Fish Theory, the Sprite King brought the heat on hard-hitting songs like “745,” “Big Fish” and “Yeah Right”. Following Staples on the same stage, a newly afro-less Danny Brown continued the strong display of icky thick beats, performing several selections from his Warp Records debut, Atrocity Exhibition.

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Angel Olsen

Ladies Reign Supreme on Saturday

Female artists wowed throughout the weekend at Pitchfork Music Festival 2017, but no day was more packed with badass ladies than Saturday. The festivities started off with Cherry Glazerr, as Clementine Creevy and company tore through songs from their 2017 Secretly Canadian release, Apocalipstick. Mitski followed with a stellar set of her own, which was perfectly capped by the Puberty 2 song “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars”. Next up, Angel Olsen took the audience on a genuinely emotional ride, complete with roaring highs and flooring lows, then giving way to the esteemed PJ Harvey, who did not disappoint.

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Cherry Glazerr

Nicolas Jaar Rattles Brains on Sunday

Although his set happened while the sun was still out, Nicolas Jaar gave off all kinds of Day for Night vibes on Sunday at Pitchfork, with a set that was equal parts dance-inducing and thought-provoking. One half of the duo Darkside, the Chilean-American artist proved why he is one of modern electronic music’s most compelling artists.

LCD Soundsystem Brings New Songs to Life

Just a few years ago, LCD Soundsystem lie dormant, as James Murphy pursued a myriad of other projects. Since reuniting last year, however, the influential New York band has returned to full force, electrifying crowds with classics like “All My Friends,” “Dance Yrself Clean,” “Tribulations” and more. In addition to these selections, LCD showed off their two newest songs (“Call the Police” and “American Dream”) at Pitchfork. And much to the delight of fans, both fit right in with the rest of the band’s epic set of hits.

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Cherry Glazerr

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Thurston Moore

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Houston’s Day for Night Expands Horizons of the Modern Day Music Festival

By: Seth Johnson
Photos: Berto Campos

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Man, oh man, was 2016 a big year for fantastic releases. And with those releases came a slew of acts hitting the road too — many of whom I was lucky enough to catch in concert. Despite a year packed full of show going, however (see Seth’s roundups of Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza), nothing compared to my time at Day for Night 2016.

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Aphex Twin

Only in its second year, the festival boasted an impressive lineup of acts, including the likes of Aphex Twin (first U.S. show in eight years), Bjork, Run the Jewels, Blood Orange, Travis Scott and more. And while this is certainly what caught my eye, I eventually became more intrigued upon learning that the fest would also feature several immersive art installations curated by artists from all over the world.

Held in and around a different abandoned warehouse in Houston each year, Day for Night 2016 was held at a huge abandoned post office building, with three outdoor stages, one indoor stage, and art installations scattered throughout the vicinity. With so much art in one place, there was never a dull moment, as the stimulating instillations allowed festivalgoers to explore visual art when they weren’t catching their favorite musical acts. Ultimately, this aspect of the festival was incredibly refreshing and gave Day for Night its own one-of-a-kind charm.

Before I jump into the music portion of my roundup, I think it’s only appropriate that I give the booking team behind Day for Night proper praise. Unlike many major festivals in the modern age, Day for Night seemed absent of outside influences such as massive media companies. Nevertheless, they managed to bring together a very unique lineup of acts that featured a little bit of something for everyone, while still showing love to Houston with several featured local artists too. In a nutshell, the whole thing just felt genuine.

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DJ Windows 98 (aka Win Butler)

After attending the Day for Night pre-party on Friday with excellent DJ sets from Bjork and DJ Windows 98 (a.k.a. Win Butler of Arcade Fire), I wandered back over to Day for Night’s opening day on Saturday, where I was “welcomed to Houston” by a collective of notable Houston rappers (Z-Ro, Bun B, Mike Jones, Paul Wall and more) all performing on stage as one beautiful H-Town family. After catching a bit of this set, I quickly began darting around from stage to stage, catching bits of magic from Tobacco, Thundercat, Clams Casino, Oneohtrix Point Never and The Jesus and Mary Chain. As one might expect, though, the festival truly transformed into another world after the sun went down and the lights made their emergence.

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Oneohtrix Point Never

Night one of Day for Night was certainly one for the ages, with stellar performances from Blood Orange, Run the Jewels and Aphex Twin. I was so happy to catch the large majority of all three sets, especially considering the releases of Aphex’s mysterious 12” that day and Run the Jewels’ RTJ3 the following week. As any music lover might expect, this triple play of sets was filled with nonstop greatness, leaving my cheeks sore from all the smiling I had done.

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Day two, I was back at it once again, running frantically around the abandoned warehouse to catch as much music as possible. On Sunday, my path took me from SURVIVE to Ariel Pink to Lightning Bolt, and then from Mykki Blanco to Kamasi Washington to RZA. In the later hours, I was sucked into the festival’s playground of lights once again, revisiting some of my favorite installations before heading back to the tunes. After this short hiatus, I entered the home stretch, catching high-powered sets from Squarepusher, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Butthole Surfers and Travis Scott, before capping my weekend off with an appropriately scintillating set from Arca.

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Blood Orange

I look forward to seeing you next year, Day for Night. You truly did change my perception of what a music festival can and should be.

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Travis Scott

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Butthole Surfers

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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Ariel Pink

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Blood Orange

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Blood Orange

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Jesus and Mary Chain

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Clams Casino

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Highlights from Lollapalooza 2016

By: Seth Johnson

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Photo by Maclay Heriot

We sent writer Seth Johnson to cover Lollapalooza 2016. Here’s a roundup of what he liked most.

Big Grams

Saturday at this year’s Lollapalooza was packed with standout female artists, including Big Grams, Chairlift (also included in this list) and Grimes. Although a rather unusual combination in theory, Big Boi (also of Outkast) and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram made for a very entertaining duo, often combining both of their strengths to create some pretty special moments. During the course of their set, the two even did a few live mashups, including one that was one part “Ms. Jackson” and one part “Mouthful of Diamonds”.

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Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman


Years ago during the Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix craze, I remember seeing Chairlift open for Phoenix at a show in Chicago and thinking they were pretty rad. Since then, I would definitely say the band has grown and matured, which was evident throughout their performance at this year’s Lollapalooza. Fronted by Caroline Polachek, the Brooklyn band played a dazzling Saturday set, that featured several selections from their 2016 full-length, Moth, including “Ch-Ching,” “Moth to the Flame” and “Romeo”.

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Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman


Of all the up-and-coming acts I checked out at this year’s Lollapalooza, the biggest standout was certainly D.R.A.M. (which stands for Does Real Ass Music). Throughout his set, the 28-year-old singer/rapper captivated the audience with his charismatic energy, repeatedly cuing fans to shout “Yeah doe” if they loved their momma. Throughout his rather short set, D.R.A.M. made sure to touch on all of his hits, including the insanely catchy “Cha Cha” and the Lil Yachty-featuring “Broccoli”.

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Photo by Roger Ho

Joey Purp

After hearing Indianapolis rappers like John Stamps and Oreo Jones mention Joey Purp, I figured I would go check out his early set on Friday at Lollapalooza. This turned out to be a great decision (thanks homies) as Purp impressed with his energy, style and flow. While many may know him from the song “Girls @” featuring Chance the Rapper, the Chicago emcee has plenty more to show off to the world, which can be heard on 2016’s iiiDrops.

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Photo by Greg Noire

LCD Soundsystem

While I am an unabashed LCD Soundsystem fanatic (I even went to their “final” show at Madison Square Garden), there’s no doubt that the band’s set at Lollapalooza was truly something special. Although they supposedly have a new album on the way, LCD stuck to the hits with this appearance, playing songs from all three of their excellent full-lengths. This included an epic final four songs, where the band went from “Home” to “New York I Love You” to “Dance Yrself Clean” to “All My Friends”. Oh James Murphy, how we missed you.

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Photo by Cambria Harkey

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Photo by Cambria Harkey


In keeping with their latest two albums, M83 played a very danceable set of tunes that featured songs like “Go!,” “Midnight City” and “Steve McQueen”. As expected, Anthony Gonzalez’s compositions were even more grandiose in the heart of a big city like Chicago, as building towered all around. As an old school M83 fan myself, I personally was pleased to hear the band close with “Couleurs” from Saturday = Youth and “Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun” from Before the Dawn Heals Us.

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Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman


Radiohead made the most of the festival’s longest time slot, playing a career-spanning set that exceeded two hours. After opening up with the first two tracks from A Moon Shaped Pool, the iconic British band quickly dove into a smattering of songs both old and new, giving hardcore fans the set they always dreamed of. In addition to expected numbers like “Everything in Its Right Place,” “Karma Police” and “My Iron Lung,” Thom Yorke and company also whipped out some deeper cuts like “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” “There There” and “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” giving everyone a little something to smile about.

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Photo by Cambria Harkey

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Photo by Cambria Harkey

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Photo by Cambria Harkey

7 Unforgettable Sets from Pitchfork 2016

By: Seth Johnson
Photos: Berto Campos

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We sent writer Seth Johnson and photographer Roberto Campos to cover Pitchfork Music Festival over the weekend. Here’s a roundup of what they liked most.

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Anderson Paak

Although his set overlapped with Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds set, Anderson Paak brought it on Saturday night, treating fans to several selections from his excellent 2016 album, Malibu. From one song to the next, Paak had an irresistible energy reminiscent of fellow California rapper Kendrick Lamar (who’s apparently a fan of Paak). Unlike Lamar, however, Paak is also a skilled singer and drummer, which makes his live show an absolute treat.

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Beach House

Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally closed out an unusually chilly July day in Union Park with a perfect set of tunes from the entirety of their career. From “Sparks” to “Walk In The Park,” the Baltimore duo captivated a field full of fans, even bringing some to tears. In particular, Legrand made a valiant point of speaking to the modern state of our world, saying, “Love is the key word, and fear is the bad word.”

Broken Social Scene

It’s not often that Broken Social Scene tours. But when they do, they make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. With this Friday set, Kevin Drew and company stayed true to form, flooding the festival with a massive wall of glorious sound. In addition to classics like “7/4 Shoreline,” “Cause = Time,” and “Fire Eye’d Boy,” Broken Social Scene also gave fans a taste of their forthcoming record, which has yet to receive a release date.

Kamasi Washington

Sunday was a day full of grooves at Pitchfork, with sets from Holy Ghost!, Miguel, Neon Indian, Thundercat and more. Out of all of these, I was anticipating Kamasi Washington most, simply based on the strength of his 2015 triple-album, The Epic. As expected, Kamasi did not disappoint, lighting up the stage with his phenomenal band of jazz wizards. To make things even cooler, the saxophonist even invited his dad up on stage to play a song with him too.

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Despite an early lineup slot, Porches were able to get Sunday off to an appropriately dance-y start, playing a set that consisted mostly of songs from their 2016 gem, Pool. During the set, Dev Hynes (a.k.a. Blood Orange) came up on stage and joined Aaron Maine on vocals for a song, putting the cherry on top of an overall awesome set.

Later on in the evening, Porches also impressed at a sold-out Empty Bottle after show that featured Bloomington’s Hoops and Chicago’s Varsity as opening acts.

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Sufjan Stevens

In typical Sufjan Stevens fashion, this set was an elaborate, all-encompassing experience that featured costumes, dancers, lights and more. Despite the recent release of his somber 2015 album, Carrie & Lowell, Stevens packed the set with upbeat tunes, too, including several from The Age of Adz. To cap off the night, the beloved indie icon closed out with a cover of Prince’s “Kiss,” sending crowds off into the Chicago streets wishing they could’ve had even more.

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Like many, my ears have been taken hostage by Whitney’s marvelous debut album, Light Upon the Lake. After seeing the band at Culture Shock in Bloomington, Ind., I knew they’d be great live, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, they even brought out a string quartet for the final four songs of their set, making their gleaming pop songs that much more enchanting.

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MOKB Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 Mix | Auditorium Shores, Austin, TX | November 6th – 8th

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We have had the pleasure to attend many festivals over the years, but Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX is the only one that uniquely stands out on its own. While others try to present “cool”, FFFF always comes off as non-pretentious embracing all of the kids who were always apart of an alternative clique in high school. With that very calculated idea, the fest always ends up featuring a variety of artists who are generally making their only festival appearance of the year along skateboarding, wrestling, comedians, and more. Combine that with its more intimate feel size (each stage sans the main stage feels like a club show) and you incredible experience every year.

This year’s event is an important one with it being the 10th anniversary. The lineup represents this momentous occasion featuring stacked list including the likes of Grimes, Wu-Tang Clan, Neon Indian, Odesza, Rae Sremmard, Lauryn Hill, Alvvays, Fuzz, Viet Cong, Toro y Moi, and it goes on and on. Because there are so many to choose from, we decided to throw a little Spotify mix (found below) of some of the acts we are looking forward to seeing. If you have been waffling on whether or not to go, you can still grab passes here.

MOKB Forecastle Festival 2015 Mix | Louisville, Kentucky | July 17th – 19th

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Forecastle Festival 2015 will be hitting the banks of the Ohio River this weekend in Louisville, KY. The fest has grown from more of a regional event to one of the best in the United States. Every year, it seems the lineup quality from top to bottom gets better and better and this year is no different. From the hometown heroes of My Morning Jacket, Houndmouth, and the up and coming White Reaper to ILoveMakonnen, Alvvays, Lower Dens, The War on Drugs, Broncho, Twin Peaks, First Aid Kit, and so much more. We’re not even including the late night after festival shows that are highlighted by our girl Ellie Herring opening up for arguably the most talked about artist in the world at the moment, Jamie xx.

As you can see, the quality from top to bottom is on point. Add in the manageable size of the festival grounds (what can we say, we are old) and it is really one of the better live experiences out there. So with that being said, we have put together a Spotify mix of some of the artists/bands you should go out of your way to catch this weekend. We will see you there.