Summerfest 2014: The Recap
Somehow, some way, I’ve managed to make it through all 11 nights of the world’s largest music festival for the first time in my life. Now, granted, I usually go multiple nights every year, but this was my first full pull for Summerfest. After taking a day off to rest, and also fully process everything that I’ve seen in the better part of the last two weeks, here are my takes on this year’s festival.
Best show that I attended: The Momentour (New Politics, Paramore, Fall Out Boy)
Now, this is a bit unfair, because shows at the Marcus Ampitheater have a lot of benefits; gigantic stage shows, good sound, actual chairs, cover from rain, and more. That being said, though, I don’t think that I’ve seen a more energetic set from Paramore, or a more well polished show from Fall Out Boy. It was also my introduction to New Politics, who did a great job as the opener. For a little bit, while I was watching Fall Out Boy, I felt like I was 14 again. So, mission accomplished, Fueled by Ramen.
Best (ground stage) show that I attended: Bleachers
This one is a tough one. I think that overall, I do have to give it to Bleachers. It was clear that Jack Antonoff and the rest of his band were pouring their hearts out on stage, and you can’t fake enthusiasm like that. However, Best Coast definitely was a close runner up. They made the best of a gloomy, cold night, and their show made me like them a lot more than I already do, and I already liked them a lot to start.
Worst show that I attended: Girl Talk
Now, I should elaborate from my short review: I’ve seen Girl Talk in the past, and I know that he brings a gigantic party with him when he appears live. However, his set didn’t have good sound quality at all this time, and it was drowned out by the massive crowd of kids who couldn’t really dance on the bleachers in the first place. So it wasn’t really him, it was just everything else around the set that made it bad.
Best thing that I saw overall: I’m not gonna lie, the most entertaining part of the last day of Summerfest was watching a man angrily yell into his phone by the Saz’s Dockside area. He made several calls to a guy he knew, who had apparently left him, his wife, and the girl that they were with for about 45 minutes. I did overhear him yell “If I get kicked out again, I swear to God…” which made me wonder what he did to get kicked out of Summerfest the first time. And, best of all, I watched him angrily hang up his smartphone. Unlike a traditional cord phone, where you can slam the receiver, this guy had to resort to angrily poking the phone. ‘Twas hilarious.
Most surprising thing that I saw: It’s more of what I didn’t see actually that surprised me. I didn’t see a lot of fighting this year, which was really welcome. There was definitely an increased security presence, and though I did hear of a few fights in the crowd at Ludacris, I didn’t personally see any. I’m sure that fights occurred elsewhere, but compared to previous years, this seemed rather tame this time around. So, well done, good people.
Worst thing that I saw: This year, it seemed like some of the audience wasn’t really into some the shows they were seeing at all. In fact, it rather seemed like they were just observing the band instead of going to a show. Now yes, the bleachers don’t allow for a lot of movement, but at the same time, the crowd at the Arctic Monkeys’ set didn’t appear to do more than just stand there, which is never something that makes up a good set. So, not so well done, people.
Parking total: $41.50
I didn’t drive the first night, but did the other 10, and still managed to get out under $50 with no parking passes. I have an area in particular that I go to first, but I won’t tell you where that is, because I want to keep my parking low next year. Fend for yourselves!
Food total: More than that.
Best festival food: Nothing beats a Saz’s mozzarella stick. Sorry. Don’t even try.
All in all, Summerfest is still the best time of the year for me. This is definitely my Christmas, and I already can’t wait to do it again next year.