This was the highlight of my summer and one of the most enchanting experiences of the whole year. If you haven't been to Hinterland, I suggest you make every effort to go next year because it's only going to become more popular as time goes on. Unlike 80/35 - which I think could really take place anywhere - Hinterland is uniquely Midwest. More after the jump.
First off, Hinterland was so well-organized, guys. I want to give major props to all involved because the seating, the food, and the stage setup were all great. We were able to park our car at Southridge Mall and take a shuttle to the festival grounds, which meant we didn't need to pay for parking or worry about finding our way. Everything started off great....
...then the bus we were on broke down on the side of the road when we were a mere mile from the festival itself. A lot of bros got off and decided to walk the last mile, but we stayed on board and the problem was fixed pretty quickly. I really think the whole bus bonded over that experience and it helped kick of the festivities before we even arrived. I told the driver on the way out, "This will make for a good story later." And it did. Right now. Yes!
When we arrived, we found a good spot to throw our blankets and then went up to explore the vendors - henna, flower crowns, and lots of solid merch. We decided on this really hip photo booth housed inside a Volkswagen van.
We soon became hangry and went in search of food. It was pretty hot when we first arrived and we opted for a really refreshing root beer float from the Outside Scoop. It was crazy expensive, but it cooled us down and filled us up.
Then it was back to the blankets for music, Polaroids, and getting to know our fellow festival-goers, like Danielle and her husband from St. Paul. They were visiting for a kids-free weekend and were really sweet and wore cool hats. I took a picture of them, but I let them keep it because why not? Guys, if you're reading this for some odd reason, I hope that your trip was fun and that the picture has become a sacred memento.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the festival was the vibe: it really felt Midwest, but also had some West Coast flair going on. I saw lots of shirtless dudes, girls with fringe, and a handful of hippie hula hoop people. Obviously, the music was killer (Houndmouth and Ray LaMontagne were my personal favorites) but the atmosphere was stellar, too. The festival as a whole felt really communal and I think next year I'll camp out there, too.
One of the coolest things was the Hinter Tree which you see below. It was a natural spot to go and hang out beneath and created focal point for the whole festival.
I loved the colors they used for the marketing and for the stage decor. If you want to know how the festival felt: it felt like those colors look. I didn't go up front for any of the sets because it was relaxing on our blankets, but I did go up between sets to snap a few pictures and play dodge-the-tipsy-people.
I can't think of a better way to end the summer than by sitting beneath the starry sky and being serenaded by Ray LaMontagne. I'll remember that moment for quite a while. Were you there? What was your favorite part? I know Willie Nelson performed Saturday, but I wasn't able to go.
As always, I love this city and love this state. The Midwest is often overlooked, but I think that's going to become less of a problem as more things like this take place. Hinterland, you made a believer out of me again.