I wasn’t excited about yesterday– not going to lie. The line-up did nothing for me (okay, if freaking sucked other than one or two highlights), it was hotter than hell and, well, I have yet to finish binge watching the new season of Queer Eye (priorities people, priorities). When the reality hit that the storms had stopped and Rock The Garden was still going to happen, I snagged a ride from a friend pretending that maybe she would get lost (although it was literally just a mile down the road) and I wouldn’t have to go.
She didn’t get lost. The second I got out of the car I regretted my decision. The walk across the street and to the gates had me already drenched in sweat and watching security dump out my reusable water bottle was heartbreaking. I got into the grounds and immediately started looking for a water refill station. Thankfully, it wasn’t hard to find one. One of the best elements of this little day festival was the fact that, not only was it zero waste, it was easy to find water provided by the city (Minneapolis city water is the best– fight me on it). That accessibility to free, clean water and the zero waste aspect of this festivals pretty much says more about this festival than I would ever do with words. I’ve preached and preached time after time about how amazing Minneapolis and the Twin Cities are but being at a festival like this just drives the point home. There was an undeniable sense of community the second and I walked in and honestly that made any disappointment in the line-up fade away.
My day was full of wandering from stage to stage catching as much music as I could see. One nice thing about Rock the Garden is that they make it easy for you to catch every single band performing. There’s no overlap between stages other than a couple of minutes here and there. As nice as this was, with a line-up that left me bored there were many times throughout the day where I found myself laying down in the shade just trying to stay cool. There were plenty of times where I got to the point where I thought about heading out early to enjoy the AC but something kept me there. Maybe it was the unique line-up, maybe it was the fun atmosphere but, regardless, I stuck through even the boring parts of laying under trees and trying to avoid the sunlight.
As mentioned, the line-up left a bit to desire. I was super stoked to see POS on the smaller side stage later on in the day. Having seen POS more times than I can count at this point, I knew he was going to kill it and kill it he did. His set was short and no that well attended due to his set being sandwiched between the two main acts of the day but that didn’t stop the still fairly good sized crowd from having the time of their lives during the 30 minutes he was on stage. With a surprise appearance from local favorite Dwynell Roland, POS gave the crowd everything he had and he got back everything the crowd had in return. Although later in the day, the audience was jumping and screaming along to his midwestern brand of rap with a sense of enthusiasm that just can’t be put into words. POS’ set was definitely one of the few sets I actually enjoyed and, if you ask me, he clearly stole this festival.
One of the other highlights for me was watching Kamasi Washington play his tenor sax on the mainstage. I’ve been wanting to see Kamasi for awhile now but his last First Avenue show sold out too fast and I had to cover a different show in town that night. His jazz sound definitely stood out from the pretty generic indie-rock line-up of the day but that just helped shine the light on his talent and the talent of his backing band. Sore thumb or not, Kamasi’s set was cute, fun, loud, and energetic and definitely gave POS’ set a run for it’s money as far as the best set of the day (according to me).
Low Cut Connie, who kicked off the day, caught me by surprise. I had never heard of this Philadelphia band prior to yesterday but I’m already looking forward to their November return to First Avenue. Their set was far too energetic to be the opening set. With the band members running around and the singer literally jumping into the crowd at the end of the forty five minute set (no, not just against the barrier… he went balls deep into the audience where security lost him until he was spotted jumping back over the barrier and back onto the stage). Their set was perfection but I really wish they would have been further down the line-up. Their energy would have been perfect for the afternoon lull that I became victim of until I chugged three Vietnamese coffees rapid fire.
As mentioned, the rest of the day was full of generic indie rock music. I was bored. I mean, Feist was there. I honestly didn’t know she was still a thing and only knew her “1234” song that had been on the iPod commercials back in 2007. Apparently she’s still out there, putting music out, and, although the music was cute, it left me bored and wanting more. Headlining the night was Father John Misty. How do I put this politely…. I hate Father John Misty. I don’t get it, he annoys me, he plays here in Minneapolis too much and I’m over it (was that polite enough?). I will say that having him headline made it easy for me to go home and go to bed because I was practically asleep within the first song of this set already.
Yesterday wasn’t perfect but it also wasn’t a festival for me. I went because it was an outdoor event down the street from my apartment and here in Minnesota you never say no to an opportunity to spend a Saturday outside. Watching the excitement in the audience was more powerful than majority of the sets yesterday but that’s okay and honestly made yesterday not terrible. Go to that local festival down the street from your house. The line-up doesn’t matter and neither does the weather. Just go and watch the people, meet strangers, and dance with a random cutie. Be a part of your community and be a part of something incredible. That’s what I ended up doing yesterday and I regret absolutely nothing.