Counterpoint Music Festival 2015

Counterpoint Music Festival 2015

From silents discos and ravers to scenic camping and an overzealous fire marshal, CounterPoint was quite an experience.

CounterPoint, a three-day music and arts festival taking place at the racetrack at Kingston Downs, Georgia, was full of surprises both good and bad—and some simply extraordinary.

The Venue

After weeks of preparation and anticipation, the trip from Charleston to Atlanta is far less than grueling, just about five hours if you don’t hit rush hour. However, to our surprise, upon entering the gates in the flood of cars for just over an hour, our car was searched and something was confiscated—our $75 camping stove, lightly used, along with our six tanks of propane. Experienced festivalgoers and campers, we had known in advance to check the list of things suggested to bring and remembered small camping stoves being on it. We were subsequently told that the fire marshal had decided just one day before the event that “actually, fake out, stoves aren’t allowed and we’re going to steal them all” (not an actual quote). Rant aside, we watched our camping equipment get thrown into a pile of hundreds of others and were bummed out from the start. Because of that, I honestly might reconsider buying a ticket to next year’s CounterPoint. Unless they get a new event staff and learn how to send e-mail blasts last minute, I’d rather go to a venue that is not as strict about camping equipment and won’t steal my stuff.

On a better note, the stages were set up very conveniently and close by one another, which made it easier for our group to meander and catch every show on our lists. Plus, the rolling hills made for some gorgeous sunsets.

The Music

Besides the obvious frontrunners in the 2015 CounterPoint lineup—such as Umphrey’s McGee, Rebelution, Papadosio, The Roots, LettuceWidespread Panic, GRiZ, Emancipator, and many more—my favorite aspect of music festivals was fulfilled in that I was introduced to completely new artists. Some mentionables include Zomboy, Goldfish, Haywyre, Tipper, Manic Focus, RL Grime, and G Jones. Papadosio and Umphrey’s McGee indubitably put on a magical show each time I see them, and they did not let me down. I find Papadosio shows to be an intensely spiritual experience in such a good way. Excision and Minnesota went hard all set long, playing heavy bass music. It was great to see one part of the former Australian duo What So Not live since Flume split off to produce solo. Also, Tauk, the soulful four-piece from New York, played a killer set at CP, but after seeing them at the Charleston Pour House five days later in that atmosphere, they took it to a whole new level. Their music is lyric-less sexy rock and definitely worth a listen.

The nightly Silent Disco up on the hill showcased names like Michal Menert and Archnemesis, and because the line was stretched far back, I entertained myself from a distance by watching the attendees dancing like maniacs to no music. For those who are unfamiliar, a silent disco is a fairly new way of experiencing live music where, typically, multiple DJs take the stage and attendees wear wireless headphones, transforming the atmosphere into a dancing frenzy where anyone can tune into any channel at any time. At the end of the night, I was so beat from the relentless sun that I was ready to go back to camp and flop down on my air mattress.

The Camping

Car camping was located in the valley of the rolling hills surrounded by the Etowah River, smack-dab in the middle of the racetrack, which has held the Atlanta Steeplechase for the past two decades. Although a clever idea, I wish it had rained a few times over the weekend because when the wind picked up, it turned into a complete dustbowl to the point where you needed a scarf or bandana to cover your face to keep from coughing up a lung. That was my only complaint (after the fact that we got our stove and propane taken, so we had to watch our food go bad over the course of the weekend). One of the best parts about the camping was getting to know people in the community and your neighbors.

The Crowd

A mixed crowd—I’d say the Atlanta music scene consists of some pretty heady individuals. Because of the diversity of the music, lots of characters came out for CounterPoint, from earthy wook types to EDM-crazed kandi kids (click links for funny Urban Dictionary definitions). Furthermore, you cannot deny the fair share of topless ladies running around like it’s still Woodstock. Hey, to each their own! When in Rome…

There was certainly no room to be bored by the many talented dancers, hoopers, and people who find other awesomely unique ways to express themselves. At night, the micro-community brightly lit up with all the LED accessories around.

Overall, through everything Counterpoint 2015 had to throw at us, we all came out grateful and on top in the end. It is a great adventure to take to drive to Atlanta for a weekend and get out of Charleston, to experience new things and grow as a person. I couldn't have asked for a better way to kick off summer. 

Images Courtesy of Big Funk Photography