Review and Photos By Mike Gerry
CounterPoint 2015 has come and gone, and we we’re there to photograph this great weekend on a beautiful, spacious farm in North Georgia at Kingston Downs just outside of Atlanta.
The CounterPoint lineup has a diverse group of artists on multiple stages around the farm. There is a little something for everyone in this lineup. But the focus of CounterPoint has always seemed to be geared toward the EDM crowd, even still in it’s third year of existence. Easy to see when the DJ’s were typically headlining on the biggest stage and usually had the largest crowd. Even seeing a legendary band like Widespread Panic, who you’d expect to have one of the largest crowds at the festival, it seemed over at the Steeple Stage where RL Grime and then Dillon Francis had a much more packed out crowd. Not that the Panic fans weren’t out in full force for WSP’s set.
For a group of more indie rock music lovers like ourselves, this was a little different experience from the more rock ‘n’ roll focused festivals we usually attend. As with most festivals it seems these days, there are only so many people really there “for the music”, and that’s okay. But the EDM crowds are a different bunch, there for some bass, there to dress crazy, be seen, dance, and well, just flat out party.
And hey, there is nothing wrong with all of this. You gotta get your party on somewhere, and why not go to a beautiful farm of rolling hills, camp out, and have a great time with 15,000+ of new and old friends over 3 days during Memorial Day weekend. No matter your thoughts on the full lineup, it was impossible not to have a great time at this festival.
The Good and the Bad:
Let’s start with the bad. Really the biggest negative with the festival was getting into the festival. The lines to pick up your weekend wrist band were very long, and moving very slowly. Once you finally were able to snag your wristband, it was time to hop in your car and go wait in another very long line just to get in. Getting into the festival to camp with your car, it’s understandable that cars need to be checked to make sure nothing, ya know, illegal was being brought in. But for the hours it took just to get into the festival, the mood was taken down quite a bit just waiting and waiting. For a farm with 5,000 acres, and the ability to hold way more than the maybe 15,000 people (multiple people mentioned this festival as undersold by a lot), the prevailing thought kept being, what if they had actually sold this thing out? How long would it have taken then? But you’ve got to roll with the punches, and other much large camping festivals can be way worse.
Talking to multiple people around the festival throughout the weekend, including some people that do sound for a living, the recurring theme of the sound could have been better was a thought that was floated around. It was noticeable, and can’t believe we are saying this, but crank that up! Drop that bass! Camping, multiple stages, equipment, vendors, etc., there was still plenty of room on this farm to spread out the stages and turn that sound higher if they were worried about competing sound from stage to stage.
Those were really the biggest negatives we saw at the festival. Sure there was some noticeable differences for media and such from other festivals we have done, but that’s neither here nor there.
Once you got into the farm, past the lines, things ran pretty smoothly. Plenty of bathrooms, plenty of food and vending options with no lines, and generally everything you need to have a great time. Camping was easy. Pretty much anything you needed was there and available for you.
And you know how we said for better sound they should maybe spread out the stages, well looking at it from a positive standpoint, it was really easy to get around from stage to stage, and easy to run back to your campsite if needing to relax and reload. Nothing seemed to be overcrowded. And the people all seemed to be having a great time, friendly, and welcoming whether you know them or not. Everyone you meet at a festival like this quickly becomes family!
One of the best things we got on the farm this Memorial Day weekend was the weather. Instead of scorching hot 90’s, we got low 80s and upper 50s at night, perfect for camping. The farm is gorgeous and we got amazing sunsets every night. And maybe this is slightly related to the not as hot weather, but compared to some other recent festivals we have attended, we never really saw anyone too intoxicated, falling out. People there seemed to generally know how to not overdo it. They were there to have a great time and take it all in, and that’s generally what seemed to happen. All in all, we will definitely return to future versions of this festival.
Known as psychedelic country, Futurebirds always put on a great show with plenty of alt country, guitar solos, harmonies, and sing a longs. The afternoon sun was perfect and Futurebirds were at the top of their game on this set. They are always a favorite band to see live!
WSP jam out and are great, but just up the hill on the Underground Stage, Cherub was a band we had to mosey on up to see a portion of their set. Their electro, pop, dance, funk music was perfect for a festival like this. They had the crowd rocking right along, bottles were popped, and the whole place was dancing their collective ass off to “Doses and Mimosas”!