Festival attendees were less than pleased on Sunday, April 27 when shows stopped abruptly and they were ordered back to their cars until further notice due to heavy rain. Nearly three hours later, the rain had subsided and the festival resumed. Despite the suspension and schedule delay, the crowd seemed as enthused as ever, chanting as they marched through puddles and mud to see their favorite acts.
For three days the festival provided an array of artists and activities for attendees to enjoy leading up to headliners Outkast’s highly anticipated performance. The Rome, Georgia festival was in many ways a home show for the rap duo who got their start a little over an hour away in Atlanta. By the time they took the stage, the grounds were filled with people, many in Outkast apparel, and the sky was littered with Atlanta-themed flags.
The music wasn’t the only great part about the festival, however. The companies that sponsored the festival, along with clothing vendors, provided great opportunities for attendees to take a break from the crowds and mingle.
Here are my favorite music sets and non-music activities and vendors from Saturday and Sunday.
“Fuck that box.” Those are the words the crowd chanted as they watched the stage crew attempt to assemble a giant box for the show and waited impatiently for Outkast to take the stage. The infamous box in which Big Boi & Andre 3000 initially spent a good chunk of their set was first seen at Coachella and was generally disliked by critics and fans who felt it was an unnecessary barrier between the rappers and the crowd. Continuing to improve on their first performance, the Georgia natives spent the majority of the set front and center, interacting with the crowd and each other. From the opening number “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)”to “Skew It on the Bar-B” and their solo music from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, fans screamed along to every word and the duo ate it all up. Sleepy Brown made several appearances during the set, Janelle Monae joined Andre 3000 on stage to dance to “Hey Ya” and Killer Mike helped the duo close out the show with “The Whole World.”
During the set Andre 3000 donned a grey wig and black jumpsuit with a “For Sale” tag attached to the side, making the crowd’s earlier chant seem pretty ironic.
The Counterpoint show was only stop number three on the duo’s 40-date festival run in celebration of their debut album’s 20th anniversary. Things should only get better from here.
By the time Major Lazer took the stage the crowd had spread across the field. The Diplo-created electronic group provided the perfect mix of sounds, blending electronic dance music, hip-hop and dancehall music. As people danced along in the field, confetti, streamers and fake money showered them from the top of the stage. At one point the “Bubble Butt” producers fittingly invited a group of girls on stage for an impromptu twerk party.
Phantogram was one of the first acts to go on following the festival’s brief suspension due to heavy rain. Perhaps it was the fact that fans had been abruptly sent to their cars where they would remain for hours, but the audience really seemed to enjoy the duo’s set. As their bodies were illuminated by the filtered lighting from above them, Sarah Barthel could be seen slinging her hair from side to side and feverishly banging on her keyboard. The sound of Barthel singing the “oh-yay-yay-yeah” refrain in “Black Out Days” echoed throughout the festival grounds near the stage, setting the atmosphere and providing a great backdrop even for those that weren’t front and center at the band’s stage.
Foster the People
From the moment Mark Foster opened his mouth and delivered the first note in his signature voice, the crowd was mesmerized. The synth and riff-heavy music provided the perfect excuse for festivalgoers to let loose and dance and the bright melodies, an acceptable excuse to sing along as loudly as possible. This especially proved to be true during carefree hooks like the one in “Are You What You Want To Be,” but also during popular singles like “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Coming Of Age.” Still, these singles’ placements in the setlist proved they weren’t the main focus. This show’s arrangement was for true Foster fans, but you didn’t have to know every word to dance along and have a good time to the music.
When Foster wasn’t manically banging on the keys or churning out crunchy guitar riffs, he was bouncing his shoulders or concentrating intently on the loop machine. The band wrapped up 15 minutes before their midnight end time, allowing the thudding blasts of fireworks from a field behind the stage to close out their set.
Before joining Outkast’s Andre 3000 onstage for an impromptu dance party on Sunday, Janelle Monae put on an amazing show of her own on the same stage on Saturday. Sticking with her Androidian theme, the singer ran through singles like “Q.U.E.E.N.” and “Tightrope” and performed The Electric Lady cuts like “Givin Em What They Love” and “Electric Lady.” The show boasted a tighter setlist than her tour dates, with Monae eliminating some of the time-filling antics and album cuts. The small singer kept a high energy during her entire set, entertaining festivalgoers by moonwalking and crowd surfing through sound issues and multiple microphone changes.
Non-Music Activities and vendors:
Bed Head Beauty Bar
The Bed Head Beauty Bar came in handy for campers staying onsite. The company hired stylists to provide free, quick hairstyles to festivalgoers throughout the weekend. In return, they asked that people follow their social media accounts. Additionally, campers that took a picture for social media and hashtagged “#BedHead” received full-sized samples that they could use while at the festival and once they returned home.
“We want the people who are camping to come in here and get their hair done and feel fresh and clean,” Tami Winstead, direct sales specialist for TIGI Haircare, Bed Head’s parent company, said.
Chad Brannon, specialist for TIGI Haircare, said festivals like Counterpoint are great places for Bed Head to promote their products and get in touch with their target consumers.
It was hard not to notice the giant green pyramid-shaped Heineken House on the festival grounds. The bar provided drinks and a place for attendees over the age of 21 to relax, but the most fascinating part of the Heineken House was the artwork that was constantly being created. The company hired artists to come and paint on giant canvases during the festival as entertainment.
“I think they just wanted a really cool place to have where people come [watch artists] paint [and] chill,” Phil Robertson, bar manager for the Heineken House, said.
Angelina Christina was one of the artists the company hired. She said she enjoyed attending the festival because of its laid back vibes and huge grounds.
“It’s really chill. I was at Coachella last weekend and it was a little much for me.” She said.
Flower halos are a staple at music festivals, but there aren’t as many vendors selling them onsite as you may think.
Paige Martin founded Festy Besty last October after attending a Mumford & Sons concert in St. Augustine, Florida where she wore a halo she’d made in support of The Children’s Museum.
She said she had recently quit her corporate job so when women started asking her where she got her halo she decided to start selling them.
Martin said word about the business spread quickly.
“The buzz started really getting going on Instagram,” she said. “One day we had 100 followers, [and] like the next day we had 12,000 followers.”
Martin said she hopes to attend more festivals this summer, including Hangout Fest, and release a clothing line in the near future.