July 09, 2012

River's Edge Music Fest

I admit, I haven't been doing a very good job on keeping up with the blog this summer.  You might think "Well, she's not working, so she should just be posting all day!"  Oh how I wish, but the reality is, I've been unpacking from moving, applying for many many jobs, and have been out of town repeatedly.  So, that's why I'm a bit behind.

Here's something from a few weeks ago.  I went to River's Edge music fest in St. Paul.  It was on Harriet and Raspberry Islands, which is just a gorgeous, convenient setting for a festival. 

The first day Mark, my brother, and I went.

The first band I was excited about seeing was Motion City Soundtrack.  I love them, enough said.  However, by this point I'm not very up-to-date on their newer music, so it might end up being one of the last times I really try to see them play.

This is as close as I got to a picture with Justin.  Oh well.  I've got a few to remember him by.

We hung out on the beach a bit.  Those rocks were loose and I nearly fell into the river.

Next we watched the Scissor Sisters.  Holy cow.  They were incredible.  A few years ago I had tickets to see them, but wasn't able to go to the show and was totally bummed.  I thought I'd never get the chance to see them again... but I did!  I danced so much and left satisfied.

It wasn't quite Jason's scene, but he was great about it and stuck around for the whole show.
Here's what I heard from my family after he told them about the show:

Mom: So, who was that band you saw that Jason said sounded like the Beegees?
Me: The Scissor Sisters.
Mom: How many sisters are there?
Me: They aren't sisters...
Dad: Well, how many women are there?
Me: There's only one woman, the rest are men.
Dad: So, they're not sisters, why the scissors then?
Me: Um...
Uncle Al: Maybe they're barbers!

Tool closed out the night and high school Karen was happy.  We were pretty far from the stage, so I barely saw Maynard, but the intense videos sufficed.   Afterwards we caught the free shuttle back to the bar down the street from my apartment.

The next day Mark and I headed back to the island mid-afternoon for another day of music.  It was pretty steamy out, and shade was limited, so we did our best to find any spots out of the sun.

Fabric wristbands seem to be the new paper-less ticket option for concerts, and I love it!  It's a lasting souvenir that can be saved and maybe sewn into something when I accumulate enough.  What do you think of them?

We headed to the silent DJ stage for a while.  It was a pretty cool concept: two djs on stage, no speakers, headphones for a $10 deposit, and a button to switch between the two djs.  When you're done listening and dancing, return the headphones and get your $10 back!  I will admit though, if you walk by without headphones, the people dancing in silence do look pretty hilarious.

Then it was time for the Flaming Lips.  Typical show from them- confetti, dancing Dorthys, Wayne Coyne in a bubble.  It was great but I think I would've enjoyed it more had I not seen them just last summer at a very similar show.

And then, rounding up the night, Dave Matthews Band.  Decent show, but we didn't stay for all of it, as we wanted to catch our free shuttle again and Mark had jury duty the next morning. 

This event is contracted to happen for three more years, so I think it could be something with a lot of potential for the area.  Here's what I think will help make it successful and what they did right this year:

  1. The music:  Sure DMB, the Lips, and Tool are big bands, but let's face it: none are exactly at their peak of popularity.  Each day drew around 25,000 people while the island has the potential to hold 45,000.  A bigger band at the height of their popularity (Mumford & Sons or Skrillex anyone?) would pull that crowd.  Also, more local stuff!  I'm pretty sure Polica and MCS were the only local bands in an area fiercely proud of their scene.  
  2. Bathrooms:  Seriously, toilets make or break a festival (more on that in my next festival post).  River's Edge did it right!!  There were lines at the port-a-potties by the stage, but if you walked two minutes farther- rows of clean empty bathrooms.  Awesome.
  3. Beer: Yeah, beer was expensive.  I expected that.  Unfortunately, the only local beer on tap was Summit at $9 a pint.  24 ounce cans of standard domestic were $10.  Surly would have been perfect- local, pint sized, and in cans.  Harriet Brewing, Fulton, and Rush River would have also been great to have on top.
  4. Stages: The two main stages on Harriet Island had staggered performances and the one on Raspberry Island had continual music with no sound interference.  Very good.
  5. VIP: VIP areas were way over-planned.  You'd walk past a fenced-in, shaded area with bean bag games, liquor service, and tables with no one there, while hoards of sweaty non-VIP-ers struggled to find shade.  Unnecessary use of space.

So there ya go!  Maybe I'll see some of you there next year!

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