Saturday and Sunday festival goers descended upon Forest Park in St. Louis for the eighth installment of LouFest. You couldn’t ask for better weather for a weekend music festival, mid 80’s with clear skies and an occasional breeze. Each day brought in a crowd of around 30,000 fans.
I arrived around 30 minutes before doors opened as it was my first year attending LouFest and wanted to make sure I could catch as many acts as possible. Doors ended up opening around fifteen minutes late but had plenty of time to catch local hip hop group Mathias & the Pirates kick things off.
I left a bit before Mathias & the Pirates finished their set to find the media area and look around a bit before making my way to the Bud Light Stage to catch another local hip hop artiest Mvstermind. Several times during his set he experienced technical difficulties but never seemed to let it get to. He also gave shout-outs to Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.
Over the next few hours I caught a few songs from several bands as I continued to walk around to see what was all available around the festival grounds. I checked out Middle Kids, a alternative indie rock band from Sydney, Australia, Hippo Campus, a indie rock band from St. Paul, Minnesota, and Marian Hill an American songwriting duo from Philadelphia consisting of production artist Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol. Many members of Samantha Gongol’s family came into town for the show.
Around this time I was getting hungry and went over to the Nosh Pit. After looking around at the 18 local restraints represented I settled on a Gorilla Mac & Cheese Dog, a smoked Nathan’s dog, topped with creamy mac & cheese, bacon, and French’s fried onions from Steve’s Hot Dogs. Steve’s Hot Dogs was started by Steve Ewing lead singer of the St. Louis based band The Urge.
If you had time on your hands while waiting for a band you wanted to see you had plenty of options. You could take a ride in the ferries wheel, relax and do some yoga in the Zen Den, climbe the rock climbing wall, hot air balloon rides, body painting, and the Fizz & Folly Cocktail Party that had pop up shows from various LouFest artists. They also had a kids area that was full of family friendly activities from face painting, crafts, dancing, and karaoke.
After a bite to eat and a bit of walking around it was time for a bit of nostalgia with Huey Lewis and the News. I remember listening to “Sports” and “Four” on cassette when I was younger and hearing the songs again live brought back memories like seeing “Back to the Future”. They kicked things off with “The Heart of Rock & Roll” and worked their way through a eleven song set containing hit after hit along with a handful of covers and wrapped up their set with “Workin’ for a Livin’”.
Many fans started to show up in front of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Stage long before Cage the Elephant came out on stage. Front man Matt Shultz channeled Mick Jagger dancing and flailing around the stage.
A tribute to Chuck Berry, dubbed “Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry!” was loaded with special guests like, Huey Lewis, Valerie June, Cory Henry, Pokey LaFarge, members of the Roots, Spoon and Cage the Elephant backed by a band of St. Louis musicians led by Kevin Bowers. Charles Berry Jr. brought out his father’s famous red Gibson ES-345 guitar. “It traveled the world and played many a concert here in St. Louis,” he said, strapping it on and joining in on the finale, “Johnny B. Goode.”
I almost did not make day 2 as I worked all day and was thinking of passing it up but decided to go to get a chance to see Run the Jewels and Weezer.
DJ Trackstar played Queen’s “We Are the Champions” as Run the Jewels took the stage as fans chanted “R! T! J!”
I was really pumped to see Weezer as the last time they were in town they had to cancel due to weather. They did not disappoint. Opening with “Hash Pipe,” “My Name Is Jonas” and “Pork and Beans.”