Counterpoint 2015 was held at Kingston Downs in Rome, Georgia from Friday, May 22 through Sunday, May 24, 2015, and it was everything that the soul hoped for and more.
CounterPoint, put eloquently, was absolute bonkers.
From from the festival’s Friday start to Sunday’s concluding fireworks finale, CounterPoint was a whirlwind of sound and movement that didn’t let up once from start to finish.
As the gates opened on Friday morning and cars arrived from faraway states the excitement in the air was palpable. Anticipation hung in the air like a thick fog, unable or unwilling to recede, as fans and music fanatics arrived from their respective corners of the country ready for their 3 days of revelry.Featuring artists that spanned the genres of both organic and electronic music, CounterPoint 2015 offered an eclectic lineup that let audiences get the best of both worlds during their time at Kingston Downs. Whether you were looking for Zedd’s electro house, Kygo’s tropical breeze, GRiZ’s funk, or Widespread Panic’s southern tinged rock – one could find whatever they were looking for at CounterPoint 2015.
CounterPoint kicked off on Friday at 5:00 p.m. with G Jones throwing down his intoxicating blend of no-holds-barred down low bass music. As far as sunny midday sets go, G Jones had one of the fiercest dance parties imaginable as a multitude of fans flocked to the Steeple stage in the evening Georgia sun.
As G Jones wrapped up his set, festival goers were afforded a choice: Archnemesis or Tauk. Although seemingly a simple and unassuming decision, this option highlights one of CounterPoint’s strong points: scheduling differing genres of artists at the same time.
For what seems like a trivial matter, set timimg is one of the most important aspects influencers of a festival goer’s weekend.
Who you get to see is often largely influenced by who you’ll have to miss, and festival organizers have to put some serious thought into who they’re scheduling and when.For example, if Archnemesis and Manic Focus have overlapping sets, chances are that the crowd will be split for both performances because of the artists’ similarity in sound.
That would mean a smaller dance party for both shows, and we all know that that’s no good.
Whatever the choice, after Archnemesis and Tauk it was time for one of the highly acclaimed sets of the weekend: Zomboy (alternate option: Earphunk).
Zomboy brought the house down as he blasted through a dubstep/drum and bass/drumstep set that would leave the campground quaking under the sheer weight of bass.
After Zomboy concluded and as Friday continued its heavy EDM quest Excision would soon take the stage, playing a flowing set that never pigeonholed itself to one specific genre.
As always, the man killed it.
Knife Party soon followed Excision, closing the stage shenanigans for the night. After Knife Party concluded, audiences had a choice between the campground and the silent disco (hint: the silent disco was the right choice). As 2 artists spun their delectable blends of auditory jams fans had a choice of which channel to set their headphones to, allowing people to tune into either or switch between both acts for the duration of the sets.
As for Friday’s silent disco, Vibe Street was the crème de la crème. For those don’t know Vibe Street, he has a distinct blend of style and genre that can only be described as future folk. Bringing together elements from as disparate of places as bluegrass and glitch to form a Pretty Lights Music-esque type sound, don’t miss a Vibe Street performance. Your ears will thank you.
With Friday gone and in the books it was time for a solid rest and recharge to prepare for Saturday’s surprises.
Without a cloud in the sky the Saturday sun lit the Georgian landscape into a fiery heat that next morning.
Undeterred, crowds made their way into the venue and onto their respective sets, unwilling to succumb to mother nature’s attempted deterrence.
Young producer and piano phenom Martin Vogt AKA Haywyre was the first surprise of the day, playing a high energy EDM/jazz/classical fusion that showcased his flying synthesizer skills. The Emancipator Ensemble was the next bombshell of the day as the group’s live band incarnation (the Ensemble) took hold of the stage.
There is truly no way to adequately describe Emancipator’s music; subtle and intricate may get somewhere close, but it’s more awe inspiring than that.Regardless, as the Ensemble engaged and entranced they closed with a new song that’s unlike anything that we’ve ever heard from the group. Complete with tempo changes and an almost double-time feel in parts, Emancipator’s newest is shaping up to be a highly anticipated release.
As Emancipator ended on a high note fans flocked their way to one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend: GRiZ. GRiZ threw down hard with his signature melange of funked out bass music and saxophone stylings. With a massive crowd to support him GRiZ rolled through a high energy set that left smiles from ear to ear across the myriad of faces in the crowd.
For a different choice one could have headed to Rebelution, the ultimately chilled out and always impressive Californian dub/reggae band. Rebelution had the audience swaying as dancers slowly weaved their way through the crowd; exchanging fleeting grins as we met eyes for moments that couldn’t be shared anywhere else in the world.
Later on into the night came the biggest 1-2 punch of the weekend for jam band fans: Widespread Panic and Papadosio. Each band received a 2-hour set, making their performances some of the longest of the weekend. Widespread had the crowd ecstatic and elated with their potent concoction of whiskey-fueled down home southern rock n’ roll.
Almost in their third decade of existence as a band, there are some things in music that only time can produce: Widespread’s chemistry is a testament to that.From Widespread came yet another much-awaited set: Papadosio. The infinitely skilled livetronica quintet absolutely destroyed the outdoor dance floor during their set. Weaving between old songs and new ones alike, Papadosio showcased their mastery of both the jam and electronic realms with their synthesis of electronic and organic music. The show didn’t go off without a hitch, however. Members of the band lost power at points during the set, cutting off their instruments and rendering them silent to the crowd until things were cleared up.
In all honesty what could have turned into a bad situation became one of the most interesting parts of the set as band stayed the course and hopped into a levelheaded jam that never lost a beat. It takes an insane amount of skill to do what Papadosio already does in their sets, and the ability to seamlessly keep the show going is a testament to their talent as musicians.
After Papadosio, all but the silent disco stage went into hibernation for the night. As the crowd meandered, wandered, and wobbled their way around the grounds Michal Menert threw down his funky blend of musical harmonium. The crowd grooved hard to the PLM veteran’s set, and he showed his skill on the decks throughout the entire performance. After that, Saturday’s frivolities came to an end.
With Sunday came one of the most anticipated runs of the festival, and it was all on one stage. The Summer Vibes stage played host to some of the deepest, dirtiest, bass music that would come out of a speaker all weekend.
The lineup went a little something like this: Manic Focus > Minnesota > OTT > Tipper.
Pure adrenaline rush, right!?
EOTO and Lettuce also played big sets on the Steeple and Point stages, respectively, but we were stuck at the Summer Vibes stage. Every act on Sunday threw it down, and we mean absolutely tore it down, but one stood above the rest.
Tipper’s Sunday evening set was a DJ clinic and nothing less.
If Picasso made music, his name would be Dave Tipper.Moving flawlessly through his set, Tipper launched an aural glitch hop assault as he flowed through his performance.
A true master of the old school style (Tipper has been producing and DJing since the 90’s), Tipper’s scratching skills will leave your jaw on the floor, just make sure to pick it up when the sets done.
After Tipper fans had a choice of heading to Zedd or resting up for the Umphrey’s McGee/Zeds Dead finale combo.
After a little breather from the long weekend, we made our way to Umphrey’s to catch one of our favorite Umph sets of all time. Always on point and never less than spectacular, we stayed as long as possible until it was time for Zeds Dead, the masters of mayhem, to take the Steeple stage.
Zeds Dead assembled a massive crowd and delivered bombshell after bombshell as they mercilessly dropped track after track to leave a stomping, sweaty mass of homo sapiens in their wake. After Zeds Dead’s set concluded CounterPoint had one last surprise waiting for us: the fireworks finale.
The sky exploded into a sea of light as gunpowder and spark met to create one of the most satisfying festival finales that we’ve ever seen.
Just picture it, thousands of fans at a loss for words – mind completely melted by Zeds Dead’s set – surprisingly greeted by a mass of color and light flying above their heads. The kicker: all of this topping off an incredible 3-day festival of frivolity.
It. Was. Awesome.
As the main stages closed its doors for the night it was yet again time to head to the silent disco. The big set of Sunday was Unlimited Aspect (Unlimited Gravity, Project Aspect, and Steven Kuzma) playing their first ever set with Manic Focus added into the mix.
If that get’s your ears salivating… good. It should.Playing a crushing set and grooving their way through the night, Unlimited Aspect left a delighted group of wanderers spinning their way into the night and onto the next shindig.
Overall, CounterPoint was exactly what it made itself out to be: an exclamation of music and art. Everything was impressive. Ranging from the absolutely incredible performers to the massive stage sound to the weather, everything coalesced into one remarkable weekend that is sure to stick with us forever. As we recount and reminisce, already yearning to go back, we can’t wait until next year’s event.
We’ll be there, hopefully you will be too.
Looking to get your fix of the festival shenanigans? Head over to our festival calendar to check out what’s in store for the rest of 2015.