SOUND ON SOUND FEST
Words / Reilly Cardillo
Pictures / John Griffin
Sound On Sound is not your run-of-the-mill music festival. Held at the Sherwood Forest Faire grounds, the event was multi-faceted and replete with entertainment opportunities. In its inaugural year, Sound on Sound successfully pulled off a sincerely unique festival experience, complete with an eclectic musical lineup and quirky side shows (see; wrestling match and jousting arena), while also featuring a plethora of local artisans and food trucks. The question was not what to do, but what to do first.
One of the more interesting aspects of Sound on Sound was the very different social niches it appealed to. The festival grounds hosted neon-clad ravers, mature Austinites toting their young children, college students, Renaissance Faire regulars, and pastel-haired hipsters of every age. This diversity led to some truly exceptional style. Denim reigned supreme, whether it be in the form of jeans, oversized jackets, overalls, or jumpers. However, the Coachella-patented crop-top-and-denim-shorts uniform was comfortably sparse, giving way to a prevalence of long silhouettes, utilitarian vibes, unconventional layering, and rain-proof footwear. Festival goers traded in flower crowns for fest-sponsored temporary tattoos or dad-style baseball caps, and trendy bodycon tops for vintage rock’n’roll t-shirts. By Sunday, comfort was top-priority, due to the rain and the cold, which presented a growing popularity of statement leggings, waterproof anoraks, and mud-coated shoes.
Indeed, the festival became increasingly chilly and wet as the weekend pressed on, but the rain on Sunday and Saturday’s delayed sets did nothing to deplete the mood of the performers, each band or artist bringing their all to the stage. Bands like Diet Cig, Shannon and the Clams, and Empress Of played through the gloom during Friday’s first shows. That night, Spanish band Hinds played an impressively electric show, and rappers Denzel Curry and Clipping both incited (safely executed) riotous passion during their sets. The next day, Alex G and Bleached played danceable sets from the Forest Stage, and then Deerhunter led the festival into the nighttime from the Main Stage. On Saturday night, Big Boi delighted the crowds with a dynamic mix of his old hits and his new projects. He was followed by headliners Beach House and Purity Ring, each female-led band delivering some seriously enviable stage presence as well as mind-bending visual sets and light shows. Sunday’s festivities nearly capitulated to the rain (officials briefly evacuated the grounds), but rebounded after the rain abated, allowing bands like STRFKR, Baio, and Explosions in the Sky to reveal their own sunshine to the masses.
Despite various setbacks (the rain, the delayed sets, the ill-timed shuttle schedule), Sound on Sound has made quite a positive impact on the Austin community. Its ills will be forgotten or written off as the woes of a first-time festival. Those who attended are no doubt already impatiently waiting for next year’s lineup.