Springfest Write Up

by Joey Elisar



Don’t miss out on Springsfest this year because you will sorely regret it for the rest of your life. Springsfest has all the right ingredients that add up to make a perfect music festival. Springsfest takes place in the tiny village of Yellow Springs that functions as a hippie oasis in Southwestern Ohio. Just outside Dayton, Yellow Springs is known around Ohio as a weird, vibrant and proud community. There’s a reason that world famous comedian Dave Chappelle calls this community home. The people are fun and Springsfest melds well with the laid-back atmosphere of the village. Another bonus of this area is the abundance of nature surrounding Yellow Springs like the Glen Helen Nature Preserve and the John Bryan State Park. Festival goers can use the surrounding beauty to explore before and/or after the music festival.

Of course, the most important part of a music festival is the music. The lineup is wicked strong and draws from a diverse group of sounds. I was a little worried that last year’s lineup was going to be impossible to top. Indie rock legends Guided by Voices headlined with support from Twin Peaks and Speaking Suns. Those three bands alone were alone worth the price of admission. Then add in the always stunning performance that is Counterfeit Madison and the audience is blown away. Thankfully, Springsfest was able to deliver again and snag some remarkable bands.

Deerhunter is headlining which is special because the band captured a lot of buzz with their latest album, “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?” The album has typical Deerhunter psychedelic experimentation with a warm and soft pop tone that makes it welcoming and homely. There are overt political tones in song like “Death in Midsummer”, a sad ode to blue collar workers, which fit well with the current climate and gives the album an edge that the sound alone cannot create. The album captures your imagination and gets stronger with each listen. After all the other artists have played and Deerhunter comes on to finish Springsfest, the sun will be gone, and the moment will be magical.

That isn’t to say that the other musicians won’t be amazing. Amen Dunes, a project of artist Damon McMahon, makes spacey folk-rock that pushes his audience to an introspective trance. The sound allows McMahon’s voice to smoothly glide and broadcast his swirling emotions dive into the listener. Hearing how his soft passion will sound live will be an exciting experience.

Another exciting performance will be Post Animal, a Chicago based psychedelic indie rock group that perfectly embodies the indie scene of the past decade. Expect a high energy barrage of synth, guitar and drums that will get the audience moving. If enjoy moshing like I do and want to partake in some slam dancing at Springsfest, this is probably your best bet. Their latest album, “When I think of You in a Castle”, was a healthy collection of weird songs that somehow got stuck in my brain. I predict “Dirtpicker”, the song that closed out that album, will turn into an extended wild psychedelic that will get every soul throwing elbows into each other.

Grapetooth is another high energy band from Chicago that no one should miss. This duo of Clay Frankel and Chris Bailoni find beautiful ways to use synth while mixing in anthemic lyrics worthy of Bruce Springsteen. Their sound is infectiously fun and carries the feeling of being in your 20s in the summer. Freedom is new enough that the novelty hasn’t worn off and your responsibilities are at a minimum. The most important concern is finding enough money to split a cheap bottle of wine with your buddies. Their music is a gushy love letter to the 1980s and new wave ethos. Bring your dancing shoes when this duo comes on and don’t take them off until the set is done.

The remaining acts that fill out the music festival are worthy of your attention too. Chris Cohen makes interesting experiments in indie sound that I’m excited to see live. Sarob makes slow and powerful instrumentations that he uses to show off his lyric prowess. The emotional depth in his music is astounding. I love that Springsfest recruited his sound because a music festival is more enjoyable with a variety in sound. The Ophelias have exciting potential to blow up in the indie scene and the strength in their music is beginning to bloom. The Sidekicks music feels like the nostalgia you get from seeing your childhood home. Sweet and lovely memories with twinges of pain at seeing the years go by. The Crooked Spines are a dream rock band with alt-country influence that just released an album in May. It’s called “Coyote Laugh” and you should check it out before Springsfest. Keeps will put on a memorable show because their lush indie sound will translate great in a live setting. Dana probably has the hardest sound of any band at Springsfest and will be a certified head banger. In addition to these awesome artists, there are more that will be performing at Springsfest that might become your new favorite artist.

When July 6th finally rolls around, I can be found in Yellow Springs, Ohio at Springsfest. I fully expect to be blown away by every single artist and band while having the most fun I’ll have all summer. I hope to see you there too, because missing out on a music festival like this will definitely hurt.