My Colorful Experience at Hyperion Music and Arts Festival
A short man came walking from the liquor store, his head dwarfed by the pack looming over it. Several maps were clutched between his arm and torso, partially covering up the Grateful Dead bears dancing across his tie-dye cut off tee shirt. A patchouli-scented breeze drifted from his direction. He stared my way behind prescription glasses covered by white-rimmed, bug-eyed sunglasses.
“Where you headed, man?” he asked. “To the Hyperion Music and Arts Festival in Spencer, Indiana. How about yourself?” I responded. “South,” he replied.
His name is Brian, but his rainbow name is Colors. I chose to call him by his rainbow name. Colors has been hitchhiking for almost 14 years, three days of which were spent under a bridge at the exit I picked him up from. People often describe themselves as a rolling stone but this man was obviously in a professional league of his own.
Colors seemed like a kind fellow, and driving alone on the highway can become hypnotic. The sad truth is a pilot is only as good as his co-pilot. A man with a map is far better than one with a phone, plus I could use a little company to start off my trip. So I thought, what the hell, why not?
Our conversation immediately gravitated to music. Colors toured with the Dead from 1991 to 1996. Following the death of Jerry he decided to go tour with Phish. He was very well versed in his jam band history.
I decided to throw a few Dick’s Picks on the radio. Colors knew every word to every song. If there were a pause in conversation he would sing to himself, and occasionally just start laughing, the kind of laugh that happens after a wild experience. It was at that moment I realized Colors hadn’t listened to the Grateful Dead in quite sometime. He had no source of music. He was happy in its purest form.
That was when I decided to bring up my favorite “hippie-dippie” theories of community, vibrations, and music in relation to the person and self. It was constructive to say the least. Our incredibly un-academic consensus ended with the idea that positivity is an energy that stays perpetually in motion and our bodies are simply vessels that pass that energy on. That is how we viewed the world bringing us together for that period of time, anyway.
In between all of that jibber jabber there were jokes, personal stories, and lots of home-rolled menthol cigarettes, all of which I would take for gas money any day of the week.
How do you know when a hippy has been to your house? . . . The hippy is still there.
As we approached the agreed upon Flying J’s that was to be his destination, Colors turned to me and asked, “Hey man, when is your birthday?” “It is really funny you ask, it is actually tomorrow (Friday, September 6th),” I said. Digging something out of his pocket he turns to me and said “Here you go.” I looked down to find a Virgo lighter. “I found that outside of the gas station you picked me up from. Happy Birthday.”
I was blown away.
It couldn’t have been a better way to start my experience; I met so many wonderful and colorful people on this trip, people of which I will cross paths with in the future. I connected with artists and campers alike, those reading this you know who you are and I wish nothing but positivity and prosperity for every single one of you. I hope experiences like this inspire people to get out of their comfort zone and connect with new people. At the very least I hope it influences you to join me next year at Hyperion. My review of the festival now follows. Cheers.
Hyperion Music and Arts Festival Review
First things first, midwest people are nice. I would say we are close to Canadian nice. So what happens when roughly 4,000 midwesterners get together for three days of peace, love, and creativity? Hyperion Music and Arts Festival.
Smaller festivals are the way to go. If you are new to the scene, they’re the perfect way to find yourself a festival family (Shout out to the Louisville and Indi people I met this weekend). A factor of small festivals that is often overlooked is that it is very likely that performers (artists, musicians, hired performers) are walking around hanging out. The mystical place where all the performing artists at a big festival reside doesn’t exist at Hyperion. The people and the artists are in the experience together, completely transparent to one another, creating a very personalized experience.
One of the performing artists described it best, saying Herm (the festival promoter) got the people a $200 lineup for $100. If that can’t be taken literally right now, wait a year or two when Break Science, Cosby Sweater, and Papadosio headline a $200 festival, then it will be truly known that this was the show to see.
Although Roster McCabe, Young General, and the Main Squeeze are smaller artists, put on an incredible performance at Hyperion and are to be expected to be on their way up. The Main Squeeze covered Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter, and honestly that is all a band has to do for me to become a fan. Roster McCabe played an insane set at Summer Camp, so I had to see what they had in store for a smaller festival. I distinctly remember that they covered Michael Jackson’s Bad phenomenally. Young General is an instrumental hip hop group that featured Marcus Rezak and David Arredondo from Digital Tape Machine and to say that they all threw down would be an understatement. It was an awesome display of musicianship. There may have even been a Jay Z cover in there with sweeping guitar solos, who knows? Definitely find a way to see all of these guys as soon as possible.
The headliners? First of all, Papadosio‘s light show was amazing. It was like if Umphrey’s McGee’s light show had a baby with STS9’s light show and then that baby really like LED’s and geometrical patterns. As I wander through my foggy memory I remember they played two of my favorite jams off of their new album T.E.T.I.O.S., Method of Control and We are Water. If you need confirmation about the lights, watch a segment of their set here. UV Hippo simply shredded. That’s all there is to say about that. Check out a short excerpt of their set from Hyperion here. Cosby Sweater is the next level of electro-sax festival bands. It has been said that Cosby Sweater is everything Big Gigantic wishes they were. I may not go that far, but I will say this, Cosby Sweater has a leg up on Big G because they jam. One cannot argue with jamming. The improv element added so much context and depth to their original tracks. That will be better every single day compared to playing down a set like it sounds like on iTunes. Perhaps my biasness stems from the fact that they played a remix of Umphrey’s Booth Love… with saxaphone. It was auditory bliss. Break Science‘s set was slightly delayed due to small showers, but when it calmed down they played in the sprinkling rain. Some called it magical, others called it rain, either way the people got wet and boogied.
The only set I sincerely wish I hadn’t missed was Strange Arrangement. They don’t even have scheduled shows on their website. It is cool to be at a festival that brings band members together again, especially for die hard fans. What was I doing during this time? I was setting up my tent and hauling gear; the one downside I experienced going to a festival solo.
Also, the scheduling worked out to where Bluegrass was the last set of the entire festival every single night. I’m not sure whose idea that was, but it was genius. Every festival needs Bluegrass to top the night off.
The Festival in Review
This place needs more access to water. That is quite honestly my only real complaint. Granted it is a relatively small area and there is water access in the barn which is literally in the center of the entire festival. However the barn closed at around ten or eleven o’clock so after that campers were kind of on their own. The bottled water, as well as the food for that matter, was insanely cheap. There was one dollar grilled cheeses and one dollar water bottles. The perfect budgetary diet for any wook.
Security was great. The people felt safe and the team seemed to be comfortable and having fun. Nobody pried into anyone’s affairs and everyone respected one another. I couldn’t ask for more.
BuddhaBones had an excelent exhibit on display throughout the Hyperion campgrounds. He stuck with his usual jellyfish motif but made them out of unusual, but ingenious, second hand materials. It all came from the trash. There were multiple cut up two liter bottles that formed their individual jellyfish like shape and hung by a fishing wire attached to a bicycle tire. They also made for a wonderful backdrop.
The Chicago Fire Technicians, the Lacore Valmon Circus, and the Amazing Giants set the vibe. If I walk into a place through the legs of a 12 ft. tall person as someone is twirling around on silk sheets 30 ft. in the air while a flaming bullwhip illuminates all of it then I am going to assume that this was where I was going and this is where I need to be. Combine that with a small fortune worth of camera gear and you have the adult equivalent of a toddler lost in Toys R’ Us.
The pond at Hyperion is the unique facet of this festival, but it is only truely noticable at night. Jeff Lowes Liquid Lights projected multiple illusory patterns on the trees all throughout the woods. The best creative aura was all of the painters. It was great hanging out with all of them by the pond and during shows. People that nice will be your friend by the end of the weekend because many of them certainly became friends of mine.
I will be back next year. This was an experience that Lockn’ couldn’t produce. I will go broke, torn or tired, even if I have to hitch hike, because all of that just makes the experience much more colorful. Cheers!