The music festival circuit is well past event horizon (note to self: launch music festival called Event Horizon) and poised to enter its black hole stage, in which all who enter shall never be seen again. To a degree, this would be beneficial for reunion sets to truly being the curtain call, never to be seen again. But its widely reported our planet cannot handle another music festival in the system, they’ll merge, homogenize, and destroy us all—from the inside of our wallets, out.
At the core of this resistance is the indie festival. The big thinkers on small budgets forced to brainstorm differently than the big leaguers with deep pockets and sponsors at their beck and call. This list goes out to the off-brand festivals of DIY bastions who are thinking of their community first, whether its putting on for their city or their sect within the city limits.
Last weekend Andy Animal’s Meltasia took his Melt-series to the next level of brain-frying insanity, mixed with light camping. This weekend Basilica, the indie-retreat of trust falls into the arms of Michael Gira, Mish Way and Meredith Graves, will combine the simple life of Upstate New York with the boho comfort zone of brunch and flea markets. From now until November, it’s the flyover states’ turn to take advantage of their loveliest season and mildest weather, throwing camp ground hoedowns for DIY eccentrics, grungy grime-fests, and full city takeovers of micro-SXSW proportions sans the industry clutter. Just good people for Sun Kil Moon to call hillbillies.
In order of arrival:
When: September 12 & 13
Where: Hudson, NY
Cost: 2-day pass $60, Friday $35, camping not included.
Notable Acts: Swans, Deafheaven, and notable punk singers with solo sets (Mish Way, Meredith Graves).
Perks: Camp until Sunday and there’s a catered brunch by Nicole LoBue of Allmentary Kitchen that bleeds into a Farm & Flea.
When: September 13 & 14
Where: Denver, CO
Cost: 2-day pass $25, per day $13
Notable Acts: clipping., Wolf Eyes, Mount Eerie, and Gorilla Toss.
Perks: Two-day passes include a free zine and companion cassette, and Goldrush is guaranteeing zero set overlap. You’ll hear and see it all.
When: September 25-28
Where: Memphis, TN
Cost: 3-day pass $70, per day $25
Notable Acts: Protomartyr, King Louie, seminal bands abound, and the original 1977 lineup of Gizmo.
Perks: From the BBQ stains on your hands and clothes, to the beer and grime mucking up your shoes, you will be baptized in filth. It will be glorious and cheap.
When: September 26-28
Where: Louisville, KY
Cost: all access $75, weekend pass $55, per day $25, camping $20
Notable Acts: Pile, Urinals, Protomartyr, and Sun Ra Arkestra.
Perks: All ages! With food trucks and an emphasis on community, it’s a park takeover that includes basketball and hopefully the dude in a Jason mask on a dirt bike returns.
When: September 25-27
Where: Cincinnati, OH
Cost: Vip $179, weekend $79, per day $40
Notable Acts: Alex G, Speedy Ortiz, Panda Bear, Real Estate, and Tycho.
Perks: A city-wide takeover with a good chance Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon calls you a hillbilly!
When: September 27
Where: Oakland, CA
Notable Acts: Dom Kennedy, SZA, Part Time, and Trackademicks & 1-O.A.K.
Perks: Oakland wants you to feel safe and positive about Oakland. If all goes well, this is your haven for a day. Plus Lagunitas beer!
When: October 1-5
Where: Pittsburgh, PA & Chicago, IL
Cost: Pittsburgh all access $100, Chicago all access $55
Notable Acts: Mykki Blanco, Cakes Da Killa, Deafheaven, and Princess Nokia.
Perks: Infiltrating the Midwest and Pennsylvania with a queer-friendly EDM? If only cloning technology were further along.
When: October 3-5
Where: Sacramento, CA
Cost: weekend pass $159, per day $69
Notable Acts: Danny Brown, Moby, Deltron 3030, Gaslamp Killer, and hella Captured Tracks bands.
Perks: Get there early for yoga, stay for the bands, and stay fed from the chef’s competition from the city’s top restaurants.
When: November 20-23
Where: Toronto, ON
Notable Acts: Perfect Pussy, Destruction Unit, Marshstepper, and Forward.
Perks: The yoga of DIY hardcore fests, it will punish you in a cleansing manner.