Counterpoint 2015: A Recap of the Madness
Counterpoint Music and Arts Festival is something else. Always has been and always will be. Yet another year has come and gone, and the post-festy blues have settled in and dissipated, leaving our skin bronzed and our bodies sore from running up and down the green hills, racing to the wildly-illuminated stages. Beautiful souls from coast to coast as well as locals flocked to the rolling hills to rejoice, purely for the love of music and good company.
The third year began chaotically, with bumper-to-bumper security lines and frantic, worried feelings arising that some of the first music would be missed due to the extensive wait times of the lines. We brought out our massive speaker box and decided to pump some jams to ease the anxious pre-festival jitters for everybody and get the dance party going. After roughly 3-4 hours in line, we finally made our way into the grounds and rapidly assembled our camps in a rush to make it to our first set, Zomboy at the Steeple stage. Goosebumps immediately sent chills through my body when I saw the streaming lasers of vivid colors filling up the night sky, and my blood rushed even more when I heard Josh Mellody, aka Zomboy, throwing down some filthy bass and bringing in the first night with a bang.
Excision followed, performing numerous heavy bangers from his recently released album Codename X, along with some old favorites (and a LOT of confetti – see below). Unfortunately, Chet Faker was cancelled from the lineup, but Atlanta-based MK Ultra stepped in to replace the time slot and held her own amongst the big dogs of dubstep.
The closing sets consisted of our festy-crew running around back and forth from Knife Party to Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. Needless to say, alternating between these diverse musical environments was interesting to say at the least, but after all the intensity of the evening it was refreshing and relaxing to lay a tapestry out on a hill and groove to some J.R.A.D as a night cap. A night cap of the live music, that is, until we caught up with VibeStreet and Archnemesis at the silent disco later that evening. The essence of VibeStreet’s bluegrass inspired electro-soul sound created an experience that made the pondering thought of switching channels practically nonexistent.
Day two of a festival always begins with a critical moment; you’re wondering how your first day flew by in what seemed like the blink of an eye, you’re in a sleepy daze after that first rough night in the tent, but you’re ready to catch up to the people who are already a couple bottles of bubbly deep. We awoke and hydrated after dancing in the Georgia heat all day, and, of course, decked ourselves out in vibrant, crazily-patterned festival attire per usual. Jauz took the stage early in the day with some bouncy future bass and house music, which set the mood nicely for GRiZ and his “future-funk” flare to perform shortly after. Soulful and sexy sax accompanied funky fresh tunes on the stage as GRiZ performed crowd-pleasing favorites and even a remixed version of the disco classic “Kung-Fu Fighting” that exposed the child-like side of everybody dancing in the crowd. Shortly after on the same stage, Australian heart-breaker and tropical-house beat maker Thomas Jack took the stage at sunset, the perfect way to transition day into night with some melodic vibes that made you feel like you were standing on an island in the tropics, swayin’ with the palm trees and digging your toes into the sand, conditions that are slightly more appealing than dancing in a sweaty mob at a festival, depending on what you’re into.
After some sweet serenading from Thomas Jack, What So Not and RL Grime switched things up with some trap and heavier bass music before Dillon Francis took the stage, ending Saturday night with some house music and of course, more confetti. After listening to a bit of Dillon, we headed to get down to some Papadosio while sitting underneath the trees and listening to to their colorful concoction of psychedelic jam and electronic goodness. Also, Widespread Panic played their highly anticipated set and caused a ruckus with some old school rock that fans had traveled far and wide to stomp the ground to.
Sunday had come far quicker than we had desired, as always, and after some much needed stretching we were looking forward to the Sunday Summer Vibes stage. My personal highlight of the weekend, including back-to-back sets starting with Manic Focus and followed by Minnesota, Michal Menert, then OTT and Tipper to conclude with some ambient tunes that put the crowd in a daze. Manic Focus and Menert were accompanied by a live drummer that livened up their sets even more, and hoopers, poi-spinners and other flow artists took turns sharing the stage to add even more flare to the live performances. Earlier in the day, Eoto brought their unique freestyle livetronica sound to the stage, and Michael Travis of Eoto threw in some live instrumentals as an extra treat, and oh yeah, there was even an inflatable whale float soaring across the crowd getting down with festival patrons, bouncing from arm to arm. The evening began with a sensual set from the one and only Kygo, and the summer vibes were at an ultimate high during this set. We were dancing with giant pineapples above our heads that had once held delicious pina coladas, and things heated up when he performed one of his most popular hits “Firestone,” and of course he had to drop his remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” to make things even sexier.
Before we knew it, we were among the last live sets of the weekend, and the ultimate decision we were faced with was if we wanted to see more of Zeds Dead or more of Umphrey’s McGee. Which was a tough choice. After getting the funk down to some Umph, we could hear the Toronto-based brothers of Zeds Dead summoning us from the Steeple Stage, and when we arrived we were glad we didn’t waste any more time to see them. DC and Hooks released some brand new tracks, and they destroyed the crowd without mercy, playing one of the best and not to mention grimiest sets to this day. That set brought me back to the very one of my first times seeing Zeds Dead, at Counterpoint 2012. They really did bring something special that year, and hopes are high that they will always have something ingenious in mind for each year they return to Counterpoint.
Our dancing shoes were worn to the ground (literally) by the time silent disco came around on Sunday night, but there wasn’t any way that I was going to miss the dear homies from Colorado’s set, the one-and-only livetronica duo Unlimited Aspect. Unlimited Gravity and Project Aspect took the stage with a very special guest appearance from Manic Focus that blew minds, and although the set was “silent”, the ground was shaking from the insanity that ensued on the dance floor, courtesy of UA’s upbeat, glitchy, and unpredictable style fused with Manic Focus‘s soulful and heavy hitting sound. You could say things got a little rowdy. Hearts were heavy when the music concluded Sunday evening, and the lot parties definitely got a little out of control, but eventually everyone staggered back to their temporary homes to catch at least a couple hours of shut-eye.
The post-festival struggle was far too real packing up for departure on Monday, but we cleaned up our litter, kissed the grounds one last time, hugged friends old and new, and said our final goodbyes. The memories that were made at Counterpoint Music and Arts Festival 2015 are innumerable and irreplaceable. Everybody has a place that they call home, and this little slice of heaven that they call Counterpoint just so happens to be mine; the music, the community, the environment, everything about it is downright infectious. If you haven’t made it out to Georgia for this event yet, you might want to give it a go the next time around – Counterpoint could be your cure to the mainstream festival trends.