|Insomniac Folklore! Wallace (the sheep), Adrienne, Tyler, me, Joshua, and Amanda. (Photo by Emily)|
This year, after three years of wanting to go, Zach and I finally managed to make it up to Champaign-Urbana for the Audiofeed Festival! It’s basically the phoenix that rose from the ashes when Cornerstone Music Festival disbanded, and I was super-excited to see some people and bands that I hadn’t seen in four years.
|Hanging out with friends! (Emily is second from the left.)|
Being not in tourist mode, I completely forgot to take any photos. Fortunately, my friend Emily had a camera and was willing to share some snapshots of the good times! All the photos in this post are hers. (Check out her blog here— it’s awesome.)
Zach and I were only able to go for two days, so we drove up on Saturday morning through spatters of rain. When we arrived, the weather was cool and cloudy— perfect, really— and our friends from Insomniac Folklore welcomed us. The “St. Louis Edition” of the band, as I like to call it (comprised of three people who live in Nashville and two to three who live in St. Louis), is basically one big family. Explaining our relationships can be confusing: “I went to school with Adrienne and Amanda. Adrienne married some weird guy from Portland named Tyler. Tyler had a friend named Zach, and I ended up marrying him. Adrienne and Amanda’s brother-in-law plays the accordion. Oh, and that’s Wallace, our sheep. He’s from Iowa.”
We set up our tent near our friends, securing our rainfly tightly. We didn’t even have time to walk around the grounds before we ran off to see our friend Kevin Schlereth play. Insomniac Folklore immediately followed him, playing a “daytime” set of happy songs. I don’t play much violin anymore, so it’s always awesome to be able to perform with these guys.
After the show, Zach and I wandered the grounds, noting the different tents: the discussion tent, the hard music tent, the softer music tent, the big music venue, the impromptu stage, the Goth stage, the children’s tent, the hardcore tent (separated from everything else). We ate some sandwiches from a food truck, listened to some other bands, manned the merch table, and discovered “artist hospitality,” which provided the artists with free snacks and drinks all day. They also felt us a huge meal of burritos at dinnertime. I felt like a rockstar flashing my gold wristband to gain entrance to the pavilion!
|Emily managed to get a good picture of us!|
Unfortunately, Zach and I were both exhausted that day, so we went to bed at 10:15. Yes, we are fuddy-duddies. But we were fuddy-duddies who got enough sleep.
The next day we awoke to the sound of pouring rain, and I realized that I probably should’ve packed something with long sleeves. Adrienne lent me a hoodie so I wouldn’t freeze, and Zach and I took a midday detour to Walmart to find him a long-sleeved shirt, which was well worth the three dollars we paid.
Since it was so rainy and cold, the whole festival was a bit subdued, but it was fun to hang out. I chatted with random people as we put on makeup side by side at the mirrors. Zach and I worshiped and took communion from an Orthodox priest at the Goth tent (called the Asylum). We were invited to someone’s tent for free chili, and one of the people at Artist Hospitality set aside slow-cooked pulled pork and a bunch of sides just for us.
Insomniac Folklore also played a children’s show on Sunday, which included songs about climbing mountains, sewing clothes, and singing around a campfire. We also sang our hit single, “Listen to Your Parents and Don’t Trust the Government."
|We love children's shows!|
I sat at the merch table for a couple hours, watching people of all ages and fashions walk by: little kids in bright colors; teenagers dressed as ninjas; punks with tattered patched clothing and tight pants; goths with theatrical black outfits; hipsters with whip-top haircuts and big glasses; hippies with long dreadlocks and bare feet; young people wearing plain jeans and t-shirts; parents with strollers and babies with huge sound-canceling headphones; old people, some conservatively dressed and some outlandishly. Some people speed-walked past, others strolled. Some rode skateboards, bicycles, or even a unicycle. The air thrummed with the sound of the bands competing for earspace.
On Sunday night we played a “nighttime” set of darker songs at The Asylum, amid clouds of fog-machine smoke. Then I tromped up to the main stage and watched the Flatfoot56 show, standing at the edge of the circle pit with three inches of mud squelching up around my army boots. My back was hurting a lot by this point, preventing me from throwing myself into the mosh pit. I still got covered in mud, though, so I felt like part of the experience. After the last notes faded, I slogged out of the mud, changed my clothes, found my way back to our tent, and collapsed in a heap.
On July 4th, we got home in the afternoon, and I slept for four hours, watched fireworks, and slept another eight hours. It was an intense two days, and I still feel like I’m recovering from it, but it was a great introduction to this new festival that I hope will become a tradition with us.
And in the meantime, I already have a running list in my head of things to bring next year: Zach’s unicycle, juggling balls, sidewalk chalk, a heavy winter coat...