Friday, October 23, 2015

American Roots Festival

October 18, 2015

Upon hearing the phrase "American roots" I think of old black and white photos of farmers in cornfields, country music, and Appalachia. When I heard that Raleigh was getting an American roots-themed festival with rock, country, bluegrass, and Americana musical acts, I was disappointed, wishing that the city could have instead attracted another festival akin to Hopscotch. Cheap student tickets and group of friends interested in going persuaded me in going anyway, and it resulted in a day full of dancing, secondhand weed vapour, and freezing temperatures.

Though our original group included eight people, some only wanted to see the headliner so people came and went throughout the day except for myself and two friends. We wanted to get our full ticket's worth out of the day, so we arrived shortly after Trombone Shorty, the first act, and stayed until nearly the end of the Eric Church's set, the weekend headliner. The crowd was a little older than the average music festival crowd which allowed for some hilarious drunk dancing sightings. Event staff tightly policed the lawn for weed but as soon as Willie Nelson came onstage a smoke cloud floated above the audience and didn't stop until his set was through. 

I primarily went to see Grace Potter - who was absolutely incredible and I would love to see again - but there were a number of other incredible acts I was happy to see as well - like Sheryl Crow and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - that I would probably never see on their own. The lineup was structured in such a way that each act got a standard set length - approximately an hour and fifteen minutes - rather than the usual short festival lineups which often leave much to be seen of the smaller bands.

By the end of the day the temperature had dropped to 40 degrees and with the slower paced music and lack of proper outerwear we were cold and huddled together for warmth. Despite the cold and the harassment from a very drunk guy, the day was a success, and I wouldn't oppose attending the festival again next year.

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