Hello this is Jeff from the Radon Lounge, the following is a rundown of my experiences at the AudioFeed Music Festival.
AudioFeed took place over the 4th of July weekend this year at the Champaign County Fairgrounds.
AudioFeed is the fest that is picking up where Cornerstone left off. Although way smaller, it still contains the most essential part of the Cornerstone festival, the family! The Radon Lounge was asked to bring a team of volunteers to help with admissions, so if you came to AudioFeed but got confused at the gate on what you were supposed to pay and whatnot, that was probably our fault, sorry, we’ll do better next year. We were stoked to be a part of this fest, it was indeed truly great.
After the first day, we felt we finally got things figured out. Although I missed quite a few awesome sets by watching the gate, I still had a lot of fun greeting people as they came in. So many people coming in were so excited to be there, so many awesome conversations filled with excitement to see the bands to be had.
The main AudioFeed dates were the 5th and 6th, but there were a few bonus shows on Thursday. I got to see an accoustic Listener set along with some of my favs like Lauryn Peacock, and Tyler from Insomniac Folklore, and Sean Michel. I also got to hear the #1 song of AudioFeed “Crick in my Neck” twice in one day! And another bonus was a special time hearing sermons from 2 punk Scottish preachers. There’s just something about a Scottish man saying the word “Bible”.
Things got really rolling on Friday. I got to see sets from some of my favs: Josh Ehrmann, Max Simmons, Ami Moss and the Unfortunate, and Timbre. I also made new discoveries in Brandon Reid, Molly Parden, and Rusty and Kelsey Vining. I was watching the gate when Maylene was playing, but my shift was over fortunately by the time Denison Witmer was on. It was so good to finally see this guy live. I remember listening to him 6 years ago when Cat and I were dating. His music was very special to us at that time, and of course we went to sleep listening to it. We talked to him a little before going to sleep that night, really great guy. I still remember his music being played at our wedding.
Saturday was probably my favorite day. I got in plenty of shifts at the gate Thursday and Friday so I spent most of my time at the shows, and then helped a little with tear down. Saturday was when I made my best new find, Filmloom. Everyone should really check these guys out, so good. Unfortunately their recordings don’t do them any justice at all, the live show is so much better. Maybe they will come play the Radon Lounge some time? Better get on facebook and demand it 😉
Other performers I got to see for the first time were Cantalouper, Robert Deeble, The Choir, Nathan Stiteler, Beards, Otherkin, and even an impromptu ska set, complete with circle pitting and skanking, by Must Build Jacuzzi. I also saw Flatfoot 56 for the first time with their surprise set, which also included the biggest circle pit I’ve ever seen. Some of my favorite all time bands performed on Saturday including Insomniac Folklore, Hushpad, VON Strantz, Listener, and The Soil and The Sun. It was definitely a day of music made just for me.
Of course as a festival, there was more than just music. Various vendors were selling their wares including some grassroots clothing companies, vintage trinket merchants, and other various artists. Plenty of food vendors, and of course I spent a lot of time at Momma Linda’s hospitality area for musicians and volunteers. There were plenty of shenanigans to see including hours of buck-buck (break your back for Jesus). At one point I was working admission alone as people were gone to see different bands and a ninja came up from behind. Luckily he just wanted a fist-bump, and not make me dead. There were plenty of goths from the Asylum walking around complaining about daylight, plenty of bikers, and at least one person in a full mascot costume for no apparent reason. Although my conversations with different people started out as “have you heard of the Radon Lounge”, luckily after a while of that, I got to break myself out of promoter mode, and just had lots of good conversations about crazy things.
Sunday morning was filled with a lot of combing the grounds picking up trash. I also enjoyed a very powerful message from Appalachian revivalist preacher Shane Pippen and worship with Noah James and Christina Benton. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend of music, fun, and community.
As a Christian, this fest was really special to me. I always feel a tension in “Christian music” between authenticity and imitation, and why do we need “Chrsitian music” when really all music is in some part inspired by God, whether the musician is a believer or not. God is the creator, and we were made in his image, which means we create. I’m almost sure every band at this fest was in some part Christian, but most definitely not something you would hear on Christian radio. All of these bands are creating what is on their hearts and many will probably not make millions as their music is too crazy, too different, and too human. After spending an extended weekend with all of these great people, I really felt the presence of God in a way that I haven’t felt for a long time. It felt as if in my day to day life I theorize about who God is, and what His will is for my life. At this event, I just felt the theorizing and guessing was over, He is here, right here with us. The place felt like holy ground, that’s about as close as I can describe it in words.
The organizers of this fest are already planning next year’s AudioFeed, and we at the Radon Lounge will be there as well, helping in any way possible. Hope you can make it!