It’s been a minute since we’ve really posted anything of significance. Sure, there’s been news here and there (hell, Todd Stoops being dropped from Kung Fu is pretty significant, and if you check out the comments section, it’s been pretty hard and divisive on many fans) but really not much in ways of spankin’ new music, new music news, or even nerdy music business/law stuff. There’s a (somewhat) good reason.
I attended Counterpoint Music Festival over Memorial Day Weekend and, to put it bluntly, I didn’t have the best time. The lineup was one of my favorites of any festival this season and I had heard wonderful things about the first two installments, so I was very excited to take the roadtrip down from Pennsylvania to check out what it had to offer. Simply put, they were not my people. I thought about writing a sort of Op-Ed about my experience down there and how I felt, as a northerner, like a bit of an outcast. I thought about writing about how it didn’t feel like a real festival, but more like an SEC tailgate. I thought about going on a long diatribe about how illicit substances do weird things to people and about how I’ve literally never known anyone to be a better person when they’re drunk. But I grow weary of rehashing the past.
I will, however, tell you the circumstances under which I left the festival, if nothing else, as a warning to those who maybe haven’t yet started their festival season.
The music at Counterpoint ended at about 11 pm on Sunday night. As one might expect, no one had work the next day (Memorial Day), so the party continued in the campgrounds (which were, for some reason, vandalized as the weekend went on, to the point where the schedules were all torn off the podiums because people are stupid). Near our campsite, fellow festival attendees set up their own make shift DJ booth and started the party. I was cool with it and even enjoyed myself with the rest of them. But as my group was going to get up at some ungodly hour to start the 12 hour drive back up north, I decided 1 am was my cut off and I went to bed, party still raging just 40 yards away.
I wake up in the middle of the night. Everything still dark, party still raging. I didn’t know what time it was or how long I’d been asleep so I reached for my phone which was by my head to check the time. Except it wasn’t there. I looked around. Maybe I hadn’t put my phone by my head afterall. I grab a flashlight and shake everything out of my tent. It’s not there. I creep out of my tent and start searching around the site on the off chance that I maybe left it out or left it in another bag. Nope. Then, as I search, I look down with my flashlight to see that a new hole had been ripped in the mesh window of my tent… just above where I had left my phone. The only logical explanation: Someone, whether with the initial intention or just attracted by the circumstance and opportunity, had shown their flashlight on my tent only to see my iPhone 6 sitting right there, just on the other side of that mesh window. I was obviously asleep and with a party going on in the background, I was not going to be woken up by someone ripping a hole in my tent. Someone jacked my cell phone from my tent while I was sleeping just inches away. I promptly woke up my crew, finished packing the car, and hit the road by 4:30 am.
I don’t need to tell you how disconcerting this was, but I will anyway. I had been violated. My sense of security was shot, my trust in others was trashed, and my firm belief that music festivals are beautiful, nearly transcendent experiences that can legitimately transform attendees with their sense of community, creativity, positive vibes, freedom and inclusiveness, was thrown out the window. Basically, my own personal festival bubble has burst. And it’s that sudden realization, more so than being out a $600 phone, that is more upsetting than anything.
I have spoken to others in attendance at Counterpoint who had opposite experiences. They felt the love and positive vibes and had nothing bad happen. I have spoken to others who had entire sets of camping gear stolen. All I can really come to terms with is the sheer fact that there are just some really shitty people in the world and eventually, you’re going to come face to face with these people. Or you won’t, because you’ll be asleep.
I’ve heard rumors that the attendees were not your typical “festie” types because in the months, weeks and days leading up to Counterpoint, it was painfully obvious to organizers that the festival was not reaching its ticket sales goals, and was sending promoters out to local schools, cities and towns with the intention of all but giving away tickets. This was an attractive festival to many in the region because it was relatively cheap, and while Memorial Day Weekend was packed with festivals, the south was just about relegated to Counterpoint.
I don’t know if any of this is true, but I do know that Counterpoint organizers did not meet ticket sales goals and the low attendance numbers were painfully, even awkwardly obvious. And that’s a damn shame. The festival location is absolutely gorgeous, and the lineup, a solid mix of jam, electronic, and hip hop headliners, and unbelievable underground talent, was a gem. It makes me wonder if the turn out was low because of previous experiences like mine.
The only hints that Counterpoint will be back for a 2016 installation is a survey sent out today to 2015 ticket-buyers that claims if the recipient completes the survey, they will get a discount on 2016 tickets. However, after I completed the survey, I received no further information. Nothing about when 2016 tickets may go on sale, no discount code, nothing. My guess… complete guess… is that Counterpoint 2016 will not happen. If it does happen, it will look nothing like previous editions and will certainly not happen over Memorial Day Weekend, where festivals like Mysteryland, Summer Camp, Movement, Del Fest, SMF, and others are fierce competition.
I have no ill will towards Counterpoint. The musical performances were amazing and I’ve already raved about the lineup. This is not to scare you away from going to any music festivals this year, either. We at Ear Nuggets still have faith in our community. Though my own personal faith may have waned a bit, I have no doubt I’ll return to a festival very shortly. How could I possibly stay away? If there’s good music, I’m there.
Some people suck. Some people are awesome. Most people are somewhere in the middle. Most people at festivals, I’m sure will still be awesome. I just happened to encounter the sucky ones at Counterpoint.
That’s all I’ll say about it.
Stay tuned because we’re about to blast you with some new music you may have missed in the past couple weeks. New albums, mixes, announcements, etc.
We love you all. Be safe. Be kind. Listen to good music.