It’s a good thing Friday and Sunday are packing somewhat less of a punch, because Saturday knocked me flat on my ass. There was a joyful morning set from Lafayette’s GIVERS to start off the day, followed by the knee-slapping, bluegrass goodness of The Devil Makes Three. Heartless Bastards and Gary Clark Jr. brought some seriously heavy, bone-shaking guitar. But the star of the show was a duo of bands with a few things in common: foreign lead singers, an expansive cast and, yes, accordions. Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello preceded Irish punks Flogging Molly to great success. It was a one-two punch of folk instrumentation meeting ragged punk sensibilities. (Side note: I want to see Sergey from Gogol Bordello have a fiddle-off with Bridget from Flogging Molly. That would make my day.) Both bands are masters at keeping a crowd engaged and even after all the exhaustive flailing and jumping I did in those few hours, I’m still rolling off the euphoria (though my body seems like it might be mad at me for this in the morning.) The great thing about festivals is that there is something for everyone. Today, crunchy hippies hula hooped in the sand to almost 3 hours of String Cheese Incident. Everyone but me (or so it seemed) packed the Xbox tent to twitch to Skrillex. Rave kids played with a delightful assortment of trippy light-up crap for an hour of Shpongle. But, me? Today, I was a happy little punk.
– Erin Hall, Antigravity Magazine
I knew it had to be a good omen when the driver of my shuttle bus, a 60-something year-old Alabama man, began blasting “Best Feeling” by the one-off collaboration between the String Cheese Incident and multi-instrumentalist Keller Williams on the way to Hangout Fest on Saturday. Until that moment it hadn’t really occurred to me that – aside from the obvious Wilco, Flaming Lips and Jack White pilgrimages I’d make – I might have been most excited to get my first real life Cheese experience under my belt, something I’ve lackadaisically allowed to elude me for nearly a decade.
Though I was probably somewhat at odds mentally with the crowd, an apparent 50/50 split between SCI fans who have seen the band perform dozens of times and young partiers who have never heard the phrase “Incidents Happen”, none of our preconceptions or states of mind would matter by the time the band was entrenched in a heavily Stop Making Sense-informed “Rosie”. In fact, in a first set that also included the Grateful Dead classic “I Know You Rider” and a rendition of “Joyful Sound” set to a sample of the Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere”, as well as an encore enveloped by a 20 or so minute “Roll Over”, it became crystal clear to all in attendance that a performance as varied as this from a band as adept at balancing technical mastery with guiding crowd enthusiasm as the String Cheese Incident is literally reason Hangout Fest ever came into existence.d
– Taylor Gray, Barryfest.com