The LouFest 2017 Experience

Earlier in September, I got the opportunity to travel to St. Louis, MO to see some amazing artists perform at Loufest, a music festival located in the Forest Park area of the city. This weekend-long adventure was definitely one for the books of my college career, from exploring the city of St. Louis, to the food, the music, the atmosphere, and even a 5 a.m. drive back home to Bloomington.

First off, I want to start by saying how cool of a city St. Louis is. My friends and I arrived on Friday evening and got a chance to explore a little before the festival started on Saturday. It’s only four hours away from IU, which is a great distance for a weekend getaway to see and do things out of your normal routine. We started of the night by eating at a Mexican restaurant on Cherokee Street, a popular destination for many locals. The street is strung with twinkling lights and exciting night life that overlooks the skyline. After dinner, we walked over to the ever popular City Museum where my two friends and I got to act like 9-year-olds again until the museum closed at midnight. We rode a Ferris wheel on the roof that overlooks the entire city, slid down 10-story slides, swung on rope swings, climbed through tunnels, and even pretended we were blasting off to space in an abandoned yellow school bus without any hesitation. Safe to say day one did not disappoint.

Day two meant it was time to finally head to the festival. Highlights from this day included St. Louis native Starwolf, Huey Lewis and the News, Spoon, Cage the Elephant (wild/insane/energetic/recommend), and the Chuck Berry (musical genius and hero) tribute. My two favorites of day one, though, have to be Hippo Campus and Snoop Dogg.

I had always been a Hippo Campus fan, but seeing them live really showed me all their talent and energy that just can’t be communicated in the studio. Lead singer and guitarist Jake Luppen hit insane high notes that left me absolutely speechless and their trumpet player was quite possibly the funniest and best hype man I have ever seen. They are fun and energetic and they remind me of those nerdy kids from your high school that really glowed up in college. The whole crowd was singing along and dancing, creating an infectiously positive mood that is perfect for a festival.

To say seeing Snoop Dogg (or Bigg Snoop Dogg, as he likes to refer to himself) live was life-changing would be an understatement. The man is a legend plain and simple. The performance was an artistic experience with graphics looking like he bought them for $9.99 back in ’97 on this new thing called “the internet,” two back-up dancers, his own mascot named “Nasty Dogg,” and every single hype guy that was with him on stage. The crowd truly held a sense of community, especially when he got everyone chanting “We love you, we miss you, Tupac.” My own personal highlight from this show, though, was the elderly couple standing in front of us intently observing and chanting along because “they wanted to try something new.” God bless them.

After Snoop, we headed to Wendy’s, then back to our hotel to get some sleep before we did it all over again on Sunday.

Day two consisted of trying new food, hydration, and soaking up every moment before the festival ended. Artist highlights include Future Thieves, Mondo Cozmo, OKEY DOKEY, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and Nathaniel Ratecliff and the Night Sweats. My two absolute favorites of the day were native Hoosiers Houndmouth and Weezer (obviously).

Houndmouth’s talent, I think, blew everyone away because it was so effortless. They were just up there having a good time and a couple brews doing what they love most—and it showed. I had been wanting to see these guys for some time now, so I am so thankful I finally got the opportunity. They played quite a bit of their upcoming album (which, so far, seems incredible), so I am eager for that release coming in the next few months.

Weezer was a new level, and a stellar way to end The Loufest Experience. Besides the group of high school students gossiping about who-likes-who behind us, it was a flawless show. Truth be told, I have never been the type to sit down for the purpose of listening to Weezer. I like their songs if they come on the radio or at a party, and I know quite a few of them, but I wouldn’t have considered myself a fan until this experience. To put it simply—they rocked. Like, musically, the instrumentation and power they played with was numbing. They just had fun with it up there. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo wore a sombrero for a good portion of their act and their cover of “Hey Ya!” by Outkast was one of the funniest things I’ve seen to date. I’m convinced every crowd member knew the words to every single song, proving they really are one of the most iconic bands of our generation.

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this festival. I think it definitely should be on more people’s radars from the Bloomington and Indianapolis areas because it is low stress, an easy drive, and fairly affordable for two days of quality music. It’s also family friendly if you want to drag mom, dad, brother, and sister along, too. I am already looking forward to the lineup for 2018, because I have a good feeling that I will be back.

Thanks LouFest for a great experience and great music. See you soon!