St Louis’s own Loufest is the little festival that could. Now it’s in fourth year, I have always loved Loufest for it’s compactness (only 3 stages, almost zero schedule conflicts), affordability (paid only 50 bucks for early bird), and it’s ability to bring top-notch national bands (past headliners include Broken Social Scene, TV on the Radio, and The Flaming Lips). This year’s team-up with C3 Entertainment (the organizers of Lollapalooza among others) means an increased presence of more national bands and I couldn’t be happier with my experience this weekend.
I entered the festival grounds that hot, sticky Saturday to the bluegrass sounds of Trampled By Turtles playing in the background. It seems kinda appropriate for some reason. I quickly settled in to the smaller Forest Park stage to wait for Ra Ra Riot to see the newest iteration of their band with a new cello member and more synth sounds. After, I grooved over to the main stage for one huge dance party with Fitz and the Tantrums. After Fitz, I waited at the stage to wait for The National, who were the band I was most looking forward to seeing Saturday. And they didn’t disappoint. Similar to their Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza sets, Matt Berninger and company displayed such an amazing energy that anything else in comparison seems miniscule. I then wandered over to see Jim James doing his solo act minus My Morning Jacket. I was expecting some cool down time before Wilco but apparently no one told James as he was a manic ball of movement on stage. Wilco closed out the night with some chill jams to the delight of the city of St Louis.
Sunday, I came in just as Walk The Moon were prepping the party music. I headed over to the main stage so I can prepare myself for Local Natives, who were my Sunday pick. Kelcey, Taylor, and company have so much passion in the way they sing and play that you can’t help but be moved by their performance. Next up was more dance party with Icona Pop who lived up to their name with some true sugary power pop music. The dance moves were definitely out for that one. Brittany Howard and the Alabama Shakes then silenced the crowd with awe through the beauty and soul of her voice. I skipped Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros so I could get a good spot for The Killers. And Brandon Flowers and company literally killed it. Flowers never looked so happy performing. My 2004 self is so happy with nostalgia that I wasn’t even ashamed to shout out how much I loved The Killers to everyone within hearing range as I stumbled over to my car to end the weekend.
Loufest may not be as big as Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza but it brings the same great bands (at a smaller scale) to my city with none of the hassles. I loved it.
Check out photos and videos I took from the weekend below.