Photos by: Derek Rickert (Spectral Productions)
Story by: Stephen Walter
Wow. Now that was a party to remember. I just had the pleasure of visiting Black River Falls, Wisconsin for Infrasound Music Festival. Having lived the festival life for a couple years now, including trips to Electric Forest, Summer Set, Hangout, and EDC Chicago, I can honestly say this one topped them all. The music was perfect for the vibe of the festival.
Being an intimate festival with more accessible grounds and attendance fewer than five thousand you could get from any campground to main stage within 5 minutes. They had vendors with great food, clothing, and wares, and upon speaking with them found out some amazing stories of their purpose for doing what they do. Security and staff were very professional and seemed to understand the culture very well. They were not overbearing, but they made sure people were partying responsibly. I think it’s even worth noting that they allowed open fires, which added to the camping experience (every other festival I have attended shuns the practice).
Don’t expect to find the the cast of the Top 100 DJ List—a positive that keeps the festival’s profile just to those in the know. The main stage continuously brought the thunder with bass heavy artists through the night and some incredible downtempo beats for the early AM.
Tipper headlined the festival and played two very different sets. His first was very heavy and intense. The second summoned incredible beats for grooving and grinning. Minnesota was originally scheduled to play 8 p.m. Saturday on the main stage, but a last-minute change put him on the beach at 10:30. It was an ingenious move to put the Santa Cruz native right at home. It was the best 2 hours of partying the whole weekend; bare feet in the sand, hoopers and glovers everywhere.
Did I happen to mention they played music on the main stage until 6 a.m. Saturday morning, and 8 a.m. Sunday morning? I have never experienced music after 4 a.m. before, and for me this was a huge positive. Thriftworks had about a 2-hour sunrise set on Sunday and it was magical. The final morning of the festival you usually you get hit with the “festival is over blues,” but at Infrasound the mood was too good. The proximity of the main stage to the campground allowed you to enjoy all the music from wherever you were.
The best set I witnessed over the weekend came from Lucent Dossier Experience. In my opinion it could have its own show on the Strip in Las Vegas. They had live music accompanying a story told through dance, choreography, and mind-blowing stunts. It was a late add to the line-up, but more importantly a great add for the festival. If you have not heard (or more importantly, seen) of them, then I highly recommend checking out some videos, because audio alone would not do it justice. They have been described as “high-concept steampunk-meets-neotribal performance ensemble.”
A big thing I like to look at and consider about a festival and how I would rate it, are what do they look to promote and teach. You can discover this through their programs, the vendors, and the people working the event. My favorite story is one I learned talking with a lady who owned one of the food-trucks and she was from Ghana. Her truck was completely non-profit; she always sends all the money she makes back to Ghana to help take care of children who struggle to survive with the conditions they live in. Another vendor they had was a company who prides themselves on only selling glass from local/regional glassblowers instead of having them imported much like we see with many of the shops around the Twin Cities. Finally, the clean-up of the festival was done very well, not only by staff, but the festival goers as well.
Many of the Infrasound patrons spoke to me about their love for the festival. One said it is like “his baby,” he is happy to watch it grow and bring so many individuals the joy it does; but at the same time, he hopes for it to remain small because that’s what makes it so special. I even write this in hopes to spread the wonderful word of Infrasound, but also hope to not anger those patrons who wish it to remain what Infrasound truly is. The late summer incarnation, Infrasound Equinox, has already been announced. Yes, that’s right, they throw two parties every year.
So I definitely recommend checking out the festival if you ever have a chance. Just remember to come with the understanding of what it is all about. It’s about individuality, acceptance, respect, happiness and having an awesome time. Do this, and you will undoubtedly have one of the more enriching and enlightening weekends of your life. You will also leave feeling like you have a whole new family, and many new friends. See you in September.
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