Counterpoint: An Amazing Festival, In A Unique Place
The line of cars waiting to enter this year’s Counterpoint Music & Arts Festival was backed up .8 miles, according to good Ol’ Google Maps.
I had heard so many great remarks about last year’s infamous camping festival, where Atlanta super stars, Outkast, were one of the most anticipated groups to perform during the 3 Day Music Festival. Hidden behind a long trail, about a mile long, that causes you to pass by about 6 residential homes was the camp grounds and site for this years festival.
2014 was such a successful year for Counterpoint, how do you top it off? Well, by putting artists like The Roots, Excision, Zedd, Rebelution, and many other musical legends on the bill. I definitely had to bring this amazing festival to the attention of our University radio station at UNC Charlotte, Radio Free Charlotte.
Warning: Long Review, So Break Down To Pieces If You Have To! Thanks For Reading!!!
But like many other excited first time Counterpoint goers, I didn’t know how the whole car situation worked. Well I did, but I figured playing stupid and trying to get in at the front would actually work. Rest assured that cops were there to redirect jerks like myself to the other line.
I wasn’t the only person overly thrilled to be in Kingston Downs, located in Rome, Georgia that May 22nd afternoon. I think the tall dude in a Hawaiian shirt who was walking down the long line of cars, handing out “Free Starbust” was already having a good time.
Cars were decorated with all sorts of crazy writing while random objects hung out windows; it all screamed “IM HEADED TO COUNTERPOINT.” It was awesome seeing people from all over the country gather up in the giant hidden fields that became home for out 3 Day journey. Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, New York; I met people from all over the country. We also met some Colombians who really, really liked to party.
Contrary to popular belief, Counterpoint showcases more genres than just electronic dance music. I mean, how can you succeed off just DJs and producers, right? Okay well there’s a few EDM-only festivals that I can think of, but nevertheless, Counterpoint is about bringing all sorts of distinct cultures together; jam bands, house, electro jazz, dubstep producers, live electronic bands, reggae groups, and a little bit of hip-hop, covers the general aspect of the type of artists featured at this festival, they had it all. While the music was great, the people at the top didn’t hesitate to include some really unique artistic aspects throughout the weekend that really defines the “& Art” part of the festival’s name.
Not only was this my first “Camping Music Festival” experience, it was my first time camping, period. I thought my 10 year old Cubscout skills would have been enough, but leaving half of the tent parts at home was our first mistake. Luckily, the general store was able to hook us up with a full sized, functioning tent, for the fair price of $60? At that point the last thing I cared about was the cost of the tent, I just wanted to put the damn thing up and head to the Steeple Stage to catch the first act of the day, Santa Cruz trap and gritty bass producer, G Jones.
FUN FILLED FRIDAY
If you click play on any of G Jones’ songs on Soundcloud, you’ll find yourself nodding your head at some point in the track, leaving you in awe as to why you didn’t discover him sooner. G Jones kicked off the evening with a dark but hyped and thoroughly engaging set. I’ve never seen a crowd party harder at 5:00 o’clock with the sun beating down on their face. I was waiting for him to crush his performance with his new catchy single, Secret Krabby Patty Formula. Trippy, energetic, and like the first song off any good rap album, his show was amazing. The set was definitely one for the books.
We stuck around for a while to catch South Carolina electro, hip-hop, soul producer(yes this is the best way I can describe his sound), Archnemesis, take the stage. Considering myself a basshead, I’m not too familiar with Archnemesis’ style of electronic music, the closest person I can compare him to is Pretty Lights, but a little more fast passed pace and with a lot more trumpets and bass. There wasn’t much headbanging during this melodic and smooth set, but everyone was smiling from cheek to cheek as they vibed out and showed their best dance moves for Archnemesis, it felt like being in a new age jazz club, and every second of it was great. The coolest part is that he hails from the beautiful land of the Carolinas.
As the sun began to set, we headed over to the Underground Stage to catch a little bit of live rock and funk from NYC band, TAUK. While I came to this festival with a few main artists in mind, I didn’t mind checking out some new music. Especially an instrumental band that covers pretty much all genres of music, whether its rock, funk or jazz, this band covered it all.
QUICK NOTE: WEAR SUNSCREEN OR YOU WILL TURN INTO A BURNT TOMATO LIKE I DID
So far we had seen G Jones, Archnemesis, and TAUK, what a great way to start off our Counterpoint weekend. We made it just in time to catch the last fifteen minutes of an electrifying and sensational Zomboy set. We thought we had missed his performance but due to a mishap with Australian producer and singer Chet Faker not showing up for his set, we were able to catch a glimpse of the madness. Zomboy is known for his funky and eccentric visuals, with zombies walking around eating people’s brains and what not. And while I didn’t get many pictures of his set, because I was too busy bouncing around to his hit Nuclear, the time spent was well worth it.
It’s hard to think that one could top off Zomboy’s bass packed set, but if anyone were to do it, it would be one of the infamous pioneers of dubstep, Excision. What is the secret to the city of Kelowna in British Columbia, that has birthed so many talented dubstep producers and DJs? (Downlink, Excision, Datsik, What??). The past few years Excision has been touring around with his giant video and lighting machine, the Executioner, which in the mind of many of many ravers and bassheads alike, is one of the most stunning live musical experiences one could live through.
Seeing him perform for the first time without the Executioner was a weird, new experience. While X played many of his well known hits like X Up, Robo Kitty (Feat. Downlink), and Execute, he strayed away from his predominantly dubstep filled set, playing a lot of varied electronic music genres that met pretty much everyone’s needs. I can’t say I’m as big of a fan of an Excision festival set if it means less headbanging, bass blastin’, mothaf*ckin’ X, dubstep that I’m used to seeing. But for a festival setting, it made sense, the visuals and lights were still cool, and like always, hundreds of Xs flew up in the air as dubstep, trap, and house fans alike crossed their arms in tribute to the dubstep genius himself. I can’t complain, it was much better than the time a friend and I drove 4 hours to Richmond, Virginia, just to find out that the set was going to end in 20 minutes, at 12:30. I guess no one parties like Atlanta, as many people were beginning to prepare for the silent disco that was set up to stay open until 5:00 in the morning.
Even though I was ready to pass out after that Excision set, I stayed for the first few minutes of Knife Party so that I could be to part of the action packed, trauma inducing, wobble poppin set that I had once experienced at another music festival in Chicago a few years back. I don’t quite remember if they had played their song Boss Mode off their new album, Abandon Ship, by the time I left. Because after 15 minutes I was ready to K.O. I guess I couldn’t handle the insanity that is Knife Party. But remember, I was there to work, not party.. At least not too hard.
As much as I wanted to stay out till 4 in the morning with all the other ravers who didn’t quite plan their medication schedule properly, the immense amounts of bass, Georgia sun, and gorgeous local and international raver girls alike, had me beat.