Looking back on Lynchstock

by Alex Olek


One Red Bull and six hours and a half hours after leaving Columbus, I arrive in Lynchburg, Virginia, an artistic haven for creativity in all of its various forms. Lynchstock 2018 took place on October 20 and was my first music festival. Needless to say, it did not disappoint. Featuring bands such as COIN, Dr. Dog, Vacation Manor, Oceanic, and Wesley Montgomery Music, it was an energetic indie showcase shaken up by acts such as Tony Camm and The Funk All-Stars. It was a perfect representation of the rich culture and unification of the area. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview several of the bands before or after their performances.

My first festival performance was that of Wesley Montgomery Music. Wesley is an Ohio native turned Virginian whose favorite color is orange and favorite animals are dinosaurs. As his set progressed, the crowd expanded exponentially. You are not an Ohio college kid if you haven’t listened to his song “Ohio” and it doesn’t hit home hard. I didn’t know I needed it in my life until I moved to Florida. The amount of passion that Wesley puts into songs such as “Virginia”, “Worth It”, and “Won’t You Let Me Go” can be felt when one listens to them, but the energy that he puts into them in a performance is astounding. He is working on releasing his first full studio album this January saying, “(He is)….so, so, so, so stoked for the album. It features a cohesive story, better songs, better production, and an all-around better album.” No word on a release date yet, but I will be bugging his cousin, Lilly Sublett until we get one set in stone. Not only is he a phenomenal artist, but also a good person. He met friends and fans after his performance, genuinely spending time with them throughout the remainder of the festival.

The bassist for Vacation Manor, Dave Spearman is the creative director for the festival on a small board created by several close college friends in 2013. What is now two side-stages and a main, was once a stack of palettes in someone’s backyard. Lynchstock was created with the purpose of showcasing local talent and bringing people together with a passion for music. What it actually brings home is an artist’s dream exhibition. Now it spans the majority of Riverfront Park and has partnered with The Academy Center of the Arts for the largest local music and art festival in Virginia. Vacation Manor has an almost ethereal rock sound that I haven’t found anywhere since. They will be playing the Rumba Café in Columbus on November 6, 2019.

Rarely do I see as much energy in a crowd like that which you find at a COIN concert. The crowds are absolutely electric from the minute Joe Memmel (guitar), Ryan Winnen (drums) and Matt Martin ( bass) step onto the stage, but this is nothing compared to the explosion that the appearance of front-man, Chase Lawrence, generates. This indie/alt-pop outfit from Nashville is a must-see. They bring a great performance and a cult-following with them. Some members of the audience have seen them over 30 times since they have made their debut. I, myself have seen them no less than 10 times in four different states. They have earned and deserve every minute of their time in the spotlight. They are set to release their third studio album later this year.

Dr. Dog was in the midst of promoting 2018’s newest album release, “Critical Equation.” The album has some of my favorite works that they have done to date. They closed out Lynchstock 2018 to the uproarious applause of hundreds of guests freshly treated to a phenomenal day of food and music. The dates for Lychstock 2019 have not yet been released, but I will continue to check every day until I have answers. This is one return trip I do not want to miss.