Music Midtown 2015 Recap

Photos and Review by Danielle Boise

Friday, September 18 kicked off the 5th invocation of Music Midtown in Midtown Atlanta at the luscious Piedmont Park. Since Music Midtown’s rebirth in 2011, after a lengthy reprieve, it had come back stronger and better each year, with varying lineups and additional stages for the 2-day fall festival to truly bloom into something special. And this year was no different, with a brilliant crossed section of music that had a little something for everyone with a great exposure to not only established acts, like Van Halen, Sir Elton John and Lenny Kravtiz to newcomers to the music scene, like Elle King, Vinyl Theatre and Alessia Cara. From the “Renegades” to “Bad Habits” to “American Woman” and “The Bitch is Back,” you couldn’t have come up with a more clever lineup, even Foy Vance did a cover of Fleetwood Mac to perfection.

 

Festival goers enjoying bathing in the sun to the sounds of Darryl Hall & John Oats

Festival goers enjoying bathing in the sun to the sounds of Darryl Hall & John Oats

 

Music Midtown was also an interactive experience, it had the Coor Light Lounge where a DJ would spin tunes while festival goers created their own vinyl art that they could take home. At the Jack Daniel’s booth you could take your chance with a wheel, circa The Price is Right style, and win prizes, including hats, lip balm and sunglasses. Around each corner there were giveaways vying for attention.

 

Coors Light Lounge #CLreFRESH

 

As always, the weekend was about the love and expression of music, while being surrounded by friends, and of course determining a plan of action. Figuring out which artist was playing at what time and stage. Devising a blueprint to the day, one that consisted of either being in constant motion by running to catch half of this band to the next or staking out the perfect location at the front of the stage, even if it meant spending the entire day in one spot, to have the chance to be as close as possible to your favorite artist. Regardless of the scheme, running or staying, it was a truly magical time; with the absolute perfect weather in the lower 80s, the aroma of delicious food from the food truck alley to drinks pouring all day long, and of course the memories shared with new and old friends alike. Music is what stitches us together in our lives into one moment to the next; it’s at the center of who we are and I for one cannot wait for next year’s Music Midtown for more memories, music and fun.

 

Getting lost in the moment.

Getting lost in the moment.

 

Top Five Personal Moments from Music Midtown 2015

Lenny Kravitz walking out on stage, he’s performance was utterly fluid and totally sexy and it’s Lenny Kravtiz – nothing else needs to be said.

All the deliciousness of Lenny Kravitz making an appearance on the Music Midtown stage, as Kravitz's last stop of his STRUT Tour.

All the deliciousness of Lenny Kravitz making an appearance on the Music Midtown stage, as Kravitz’s last stop of his STRUT Tour.

Elle King, attitude, sass and all the ‘Love Stuff,’ ‘nough said.

Loved Elle King's sass and a mouth like a sailor. What a perfect combo.

Loved Elle King’s sass and a mouth like a sailor. What a perfect combo.

Billy Idol, no one can sneer like the king of “Flesh For Fantasy.”

Nothing is better than Billy Idol's '80s rock'n'roll in all his glory.

Nothing is better than Billy Idol’s ’80s rock’n’roll in all his glory.

Emily Haines of Metric and all her hair blowing around.

Adored Metric's, Emily Haines hair's movement as it floated about - it was pure bliss.

Adored Metric’s, Emily Haines hair’s movement as it floated about – it was pure bliss.

Finally, David Lee Roth and all those tattoos with a cowboy hat, what a wonderful surprise.

Never in a million years would I have imagined Roth moving from his long hair days of the '80s to short hair, tatted up with a cowboy hat. What a delight.

Never in a million years would I have imagined Roth moving from his long hair days of the ’80s to short hair, tatted up with a cowboy hat. What a delight.

Friday Lineup Photos

Faces of Music Midtown

Vinyl Theatre

Kodaline

Tove Lo

Elliot Moss

Hozier

Jenny Lewis

Alice In Chains

Metric

Saturday Lineup Photos

Face of Music Midtown

Colony House

X Ambassadors

New Politics

Alessia Cara

Elle King

Rozzi Crane

 Billy Idol

Icona Pop

Panic! at the Disco

Lenny Kravtiz

Van Halen

Sights and Sounds of Music Midtown 2014

Concert goers waiting to see Aer

Concert goers waiting to see Aer

 

John Mayer

John Mayer

 

Music Midtown gets bigger and better every year since its return in 2011. This year was no different, as the festival included three stages – Electric Ballroom, AT&T Live and Honda Stages, which encompassed the landscape of Piedmont Park in the heart of Midtown Atlanta on Friday, Sept. 19 through Saturday, Sept. 20. With 24 live performances in a wide arena of genres providing a broad cross-section of musical delights, as Jack White and John Mayer headlined Friday night and Eminem and Zac Brown Band closed out the festival Saturday night, MM 2014 was the place to be, basking in the Indian Summer with friends and loved ones surrounded by memorable performances from the likes of Lorde to Iggy Azalea all the while being surrounded by tens of thousands of music lovers.

Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea

 

Top Moments relived from Music Midtown 2014

 

Concert goers waiting to see Aer

Concert goers waiting to see Aer

 

Seeing the gates opened on Saturday at noon and watching people sprint across Piedmont Park in order to get to the front of the Electric Ballroom Stage and the Honda Stage. It was a sight to see, as people burst to each of the stages in full tilt and speed as adrenaline over took and swept them up into a frenzy. It looked like a cross between the running of the bulls or a zombie chase.

#MM2014

#MM2014

 

B.o.B. mixed it up and playing with the crowd, as he got off stage and right into the pit, singing, dancing and taking pictures with the crowd’s phones and GoPro cameras.

B.o.B

B.o.B

 

Watching Lorde’s performance Friday night was breathtaking. Initially, I wasn’t sure what her stage presence would be to go with her sound. Would Lorde hide behind her hair and be shy? I couldn’t imagine her being boisterous or loud. Once she stepped onto the stage, it was hers. Lorde was beyond impressive, as she sung into the mic and used her hair as tool, not to hide behind, rather to embolden her. Truly, it was magical watching this young woman command the crowd, all the while being humble and grateful to be on the stage.

Lorde

Lorde

 

Seeing Run DMC bring “It’s Tricky” to Piedmont Park and watching the crowd go absolutely crazy, singing along and dancing.

Run DMC

Run DMC

 

The true highlight of the weekend came as a surprise to me, as I watched Zac Brown Band perform with vigor and gusto as they alternated between the band’s musical catalogue, like “Whiskey’s Gone” to a Led Zeppelin cover of “Kashmir.” But what left me gabsmacked was the band’s rendition of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” I was utterly at a loss for words. In one word, epic.

Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band

 

It truly was a perfect weekend filled with drinks, laughter, friends and great tunes. Not to mention the outstanding weather – no rain and lots of sunshine. Like I said, Music Midtown keeps getting better and better each year. I can’t wait to see what they can come up with for next year.

Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums

 

Day One of Music Midtown 2014 Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

Gallery of Fans Frolicking at #MM2014

Full Photo Gallery of Ron Pope

Full Gallery of Mayer Hawthorne

Full Gallery of BANKS

Full Gallery of Run DMC

Full Gallery of Iggy Azalea

Full Gallery of Lorde

Full Gallery of John Mayer

Day Two of Music Midtown 2014 at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA.

 

Full Gallery of Sleeper Agent

Full Gallery of Magic Man

Full Gallery of The Strypes

Full Gallery of Aer

 

Full Gallery of Third Eye Blind

Full Gallery of twenty one pilots

Full Gallery of B.o.B.

Full Gallery of Fitz & the Tantrums

Full Gallery of Gregg Allman

Full Gallery of Bastille

Full Gallery of Zac Brown Band

Small town music festivals : you’re doing it wrong

Putting on a music festival in a small town can be rewarding, but it’s also a lot harder than it looks. Trying to emulate the big fests but on a shoestring budget, with volunteers who have day jobs and family commitments, and little or no experience to draw on might all be good reasons why your festival didn’t do as well as you’d hoped.

In truth, these are hardships that every small town festival deals with, yet some are more successful than others. So what are these others doing wrong?

Do your weather research

It’s easy to get the weather history for any area and date. It’s surprising how often these weather patterns repeat, but what if the weather decides to ignore history — will you refund ticket prices? Have a bad weather date? How will you get the word out if the festival is postponed due to weather?

Plan ahead…far, far ahead

Trying to throw something together in a month or two is a recipe for disaster. A small festival with plenty of volunteers should start planning four to six months in advance. The early months will be busy with securing location, talent and a staff or committee. Once those are secured, you will hopefully have a few months left to work on the event itself.

Learn from the success or failures of others

Find successful festivals of similar size and flavor and study them well — you’ll likely find that they have excellent PP (Planning and Promotion), but you might learn something important that you hadn’t even considered.

Advertise six to eight weeks prior to the event

Have you ever been frustrated by learning of an event you really wanted to attend, but couldn’t because of conflicting plans? Get on everyone’s radar early, before other plans are made.

Help the talent promote the event

Most entertainers will promote their own events anyway, but some just aren’t good at it so help them out. You can get a lot of good free advertising just by providing the talent with web banners (in several sizes) and PDFs of fliers and posters that they can print and distribute.

Put the talent front and center

There is no music festival without musicians and bands, yet I’ve seen sponsors take center stage in promotions while the bands were barely mentioned, if at all. One was so bad I started referring to it as the Mazda-fest because the local car dealership was featured prominently in every promotional piece I could find, but finding a list of the performers was nearly impossible.

Get a real website

You need a www.eventname.com website set up as early as possible. Information can be added or changed as needed. Facebook is good too, but should not replace the website. A Facebook presence makes it easier for people to share the information, but should not be the primary source of information. Make sure that everything you post on Facebook links back to the event’s website.

Hire your own crew

Imagine you’re at a festival, all set for some good music, then the first band starts playing and blows all the electrical circuits. You wait a while for them to fix it before giving up and going home unsatisfied. Now imagine returning to that same festival the next year. You can’t, can you? That’s why you must have an experienced sound crew and licensed electricians to ensure everything is set up correctly to begin with, and they should be on location during the event in case anything goes wrong.

One rule : C.Y.A

Insurance may be crucial — a festival-goer in Texas recently sued after tripping on an extension cord. Taking necessary precautions, such as using licensed electricians and clearly marking or barricading dangerous areas and items might help protect you from claims of negligence.

Start small

If this is your first festival, don’t try to do too much. My first festival was five bands playing on my back porch, which is probably smaller than what you’re looking to do, but it was a valuable learning experience and everyone had a great time, and that is the very definition of a successful small town festival.