Muncie Sprinfest: April 16th- 18th, 2010
Day One: Friday April 16th, 2010:
Pulling in to the parking lot from a windy drive down I-69, all I could feel was relief. The drive from Ft. Wayne was brief, but turbulent. After getting inside The Water Bowl we continually fought the wind just getting our camp set up. Once camp was set up, everything was great! We got settled in and cracked some brews. It was still early when we showed up, so we just sat around and watched the place fill in. I had to make a few calls to J-man and James to thank them for their generosity. James informed me that Mikal Robertson was the first act on the main stage and a must see, falling in the Rodrigo Y Gabriela genre. After spending some time at camp with friends, a couple of us wandered up the hill to check out the music as well ad well as the vending. Mikal Robertson was on the stage and putting on quite a show. The band had a good energy and talented musicianship. After a few songs we headed over to the vending area where I met up with my good friend Joey at the Hidden Relic Productions tent. We chatted briefly about the festival and upcoming events HR that will be putting on in Indy. Joey is a busy man, and someone truly dedicated to keeping the scene alive and kickin'.
Going back to camp it was noticeable that the place was filling up pretty quickly. There were more wooks running around, more tents popping up and the cars were still coming in. Dr. Kevorkian & The Volunteers were playing the main stage as we walked by. We got back to camp and had some dinner and a few more frosty beverages. We were close enough to the Tent Stage that we can hear it from camp. We kept the party rollin' at camp until about 7pm. Root Hog was on the Main Stage and since we were camped beside the band, we wanted to check them out. They were a very strong group, playing some bluesy, Americana that had a great groove to it. It was nice to see the crowd on the hill grow during their set. Looking out over the camping area’ everyone had their grills and fires going getting ready for the night.
Root Hog Live at Muncie Springfest on April 16, 2010.
After refueling at camp we went over to the Tent Stage to check out Catch Curtis. It was their album release show and they brought the heat! It being my first time seeing them, I was very impressed with the catchy grooves. As well, they were throwing down song after song. Very funky sound with some great key work. The whole band displayed their talents throughout the show. The highlight of the show for me was when they invited Mikal Robertson up onstage to play with them. Mikal and CC had great chemistry and just plain threw down. They are a very enjoyable band and I look forward to catching Catch Curtis again in the future.
We left Catch Curtis a little early to ensure a good spot for Particle on the Main Stage. Having not seen Particle in a few years I was anxious to see them, not really knowing what to expect. As they set up I noticed Willie Waldman's gear on stage. That only made the excitement grow! My wife and I were still in disbelief that Particle was playing a festival in “little” Muncie, IN. They came out and lit the crowd up with energy that nobody had experienced so far that day. I was happy to see them back at doing something at which they are so good. Molitz absolutely destroyed on the keys, laying it down as only he can. Willie Waldman was an excellent addition to the Particle experience. “Elevator” sent the crowd into a pulsating hopping frenzy! However, I did feel like they were a little reserved at times during their show; not really letting loose like we've come to expect. All in all, an amazing show and a great way to start the fest. As far as I'm concerned, Particle is back!
Particle Live at Muncie Springfest on April 16, 2010.
After Particle, our group went back to camp to wind down. As we sat around camp discussing the shows we had seen that night, we were serenaded by the music of MC Sparkplug, unfortunately.
Day Two: Saturday April 17th, 2010:
I woke up the next morning to my wife and two friends getting back from Morel hunting. They came back with a pound of fungus! On their adventure they tell me about a girl that they pulled from a fire. She was asleep by the fire pit and her sleeping bag caught on fire and melted to her leg. Pulling the sleeping girl out of the fire; my wife and friends proceeded to stomp her out. Her boyfriend cracked his eyes, checked himself to make sure he wasn’t on fire, then went back to sleep. What a guy! We spent most of the morning hanging out at camp and roaming the festival grounds. The place had really filled up since Friday afternoon. The wind was still rolling strong and had successfully ravaged a few tents.
Around 2 we headed over to the Main Stage to watch the Bonesetters from the hill, and soak up some sun. It was a fun set, and pleasant music for the laid back afternoon it had been. I headed back to get my wife for the Sexfist show and my buddy and I ran into Willie Waldman at the top of the hill. He's a very nice guy who easy to talk to. He tells us a quick story of how him and some festival official just hit up the NO2 mafia for some free balloons. We get back to the Main Stage just in time to see Sexfist take the stage. Having only heard these guys in mp3 format, I was stoked to finally catch them live. They did not disappoint! They have a great sound and are a whole lot of fun to watch. Just straight up shredding bluegrass at its finest! They threw in a great “Helter Skelter” cover toward the end of the set. I let them know That I was representing Music Marauders and Jeffery Chestnut seemed very happy that J-man and MM was doing as well as it is. We then talked briefly and then had them gather for a photo.
Sexfist Live at Muncie Springfest on April 17, 2010.
After Sexfist we went back to camp and rested up for what was looking to be a great night. We ate, played cornhole, screamed at random people walking by, drank beers, and got ready for UV Hippo. Hippo came out and owned the stage from start to finish, wasting no time with getting straight into the dirty with “The Marine“. They were giving it their all and it showed! Highlights of the show for me were “Running With Giants” and “Closer“. There wasn’t a single song out of place. They had the most energy and the best jams out of any band there. Easily the best show of the festival!
Ultraviolet Hippopotamus Live at Muncie Springfest on April 17, 2010.
After UV Hippo left the stage in ruins, we tried to put ourselves back together and walked over to check out some glass at the vending area. After a little down time, it was time for the Big Damn Jam! It was headed by Willie Waldman, Tony Austin, Steve Molitz and a collaboration of other artists from bands playing the festival. The Big Damn Jam was a great show. Some people said it was the best of the weekend. Every member got to solo and show off their chops and the band was on fire.
The headlining act of the night was Papadosio. They put on a good show, but I felt a little disappointed in the performance. Not because it wasn't good, because it was. I've just been floored every other time I've seen them and didn't feel that was one of their better performances. We headed back to camp before Papadosio was over to get some warmer clothes and of course "shot time". My wife was tired and laid down for the night.
Papadosio Live at Muncie Springfest on April 17, 2010.
Pat, Dave, and I set off for the late night shows in the Tent Stage. Psychedelphia had already taken the stage. These guys were awesome! Beautiful guitar work with the bass going on walks all over the place. We noticed some guy had walked up beside us, it was Willie Waldman! He stands there and shoots the shit with us like we were old friends. He tells us that he got these guys to play here. After talking with him we realize that the whole Big Damn Jam band is standing around us. Psychedelphia plays a few more songs, then invites Willie to come on stage with them. He gets up and plays a couple songs with them, throwing some really jazzy licks down. The crowd loved it!
We invited Willie and his bass player back to camp to rage with us and all of our friends. He came back, slammed some moonshine with us, hung out a while for some laughs and then faded off into the night. A few of us went over to check out the Twin Cats for a little bit. They're a band that I've been listening to for a couple years now and are always a good time. The saxophone was right on throughout and they were getting the crowd into it.
Day Three: Sunday April 18th, 2010:
I woke up Sunday morning to everyone pretty much already packed up and ready to go. Everyone was wanting a "Jambase" photo, so I tried to pull my shit together long enough for a picture. Shortly after, there were people riding around on golf carts telling everyone we had to leave. When asked why they simply said "I don't have any answers for you, I was just told everyone has to leave." What a bunch of bullshit! No reason, no explanation, just "get out!" They then came by later and told people that we didn't have to leave but the music was being moved to a local bar, “Doc's“.
We hung out for a little bit, played some corn-hole, had a few more beers, said good bye and headed home. A bad way to end such a great festival. Either way, the shows I saw on Friday and Saturday more than made up for the lack there of on Sunday. A great weekend, a great festival, a great venue (minus the dick owner), and a great time hanging with friends old and new! I was exposed to a lot of new music over the weekend and all of it left me wanting to see more, more, more.
-Nate Roberts (Shmo)
Photos By Matt Smith