Festivals in the Midwest share the true feeling of middle American openness. Traveling through the heart of agricultural land in Indiana put genuine meaning behind the music and arts gathering of Wuhnurth Music Festival. The campground in Spencer, Indiana also home to Stable Studios was a perfect tree canopied area to hold the festival this year. To get there passing the vast fields and open road stretches helped you truly appreciate this area and what this festival stood for. While promoting up and coming bands this festival also was clearly opened to spreading artistic talent as well as growing more attention towards environmental activism. Over forty bands played on three stages with a weekend full of musical diversity, delicious Eco friendly vendors, workshops, hula -hooping lessons, morning yoga, a never ending display of artistic creativity along with environmental speakers. So many talented and creative individuals came together to form this festival including the attendees. The festival was fabulous for its first year at this location. Though some downfalls came into play, unfortunate parking situations and some confusion on specific camping locations were clear frustrations with many patrons. Once the music began playing the loving vibes were strongly felt. Starting Friday in the early evening all the entertaining and memorable moments were jump started as the thrills at Wuhnurth began.
Friday September 17th
People drifted in all day long to get settled in before the music began the first day at Wuhnurth. They gave you plenty of time to make the venture from the parking area all the way to the campgrounds. Music kicked off in the later evening beginning with one of the contest slots, Elephant Quiz was the Facebook winner performing on the Pasture Stage. Derived from Bloomington, Indiana these guys brought a mixture of Funk, Hip-hop along with reggae tones to their set. At the same time another Bloomington based band, Shaggy Wonda hit the Woodlands stage. Known for their high energy funky vibes in their performances this band threw up a rocking start to the music in the woods. These bands were a terrific beginning to all the moments held on the stages of this festival.
No festival in the middle of farmland would be complete without some good old bluegrass/Folk music, who better to start off the string music than with Chicago Farmer. This one man show featuring a small town man who is slamming on guitar skills named Cody. Embracing the surroundings, the set was filled with subtle bluegrass rifts which moved you closer to the settings of the fest. Bumping out string sensations the duration of his set, Chicago Farmer pumped up the attendees for the music delight which continued into the evening.
Spicing up the evening with a very unique performance was Papadosio. Playing at Wuhnurth for the second year in a row, this band brought a solid mix of their diversified music. Building up the audience with elaborate stage movements. Powerful vocals surrounded by consistent upbeat instrumentals made their set a success.
The evening was rolling by as it turned more jammy. Hitting the stage was the band The Malah who swayed the crowd with sensational tunes. The crowds were warmed up and ready to move for a continuation of the jams. Family Groove Company was next to shake the weekend into play. As they jammed out on some solid originals from the group along with many old time favorites. This group never ceases to amaze. Always bringing forth such a positive vibe within their music and thought their stage presence. Seeing FGC makes you forget about reality and dance away your worries. They were a wonderful addition to the evening as more bands kept the positive flow bumping.
The music was around the clock or close to as the last stage of the late nights began.
Zmick lit up the woods as the lights beamed along to their progressive rock rifts. Performing covers and rocking original music the Chicago band was a late night treat which brought a collection of tunes keeping the party moving and shaking. Indigo Sun which won the festivals contest slot performed late night or early morning, however to look at it. They came to the stage with a terrific continuation of the music that had been going strong. Their drifting jams and entrancing progressions intertwined perfectly with the illuminating forest surrounding the stage. This band always seems to get people swaying. Being present at this festival brought many spectacular moments and to think this only after the first day brought much anticipation for the next day to begin.
Saturday September 18th
With the first day of the festival being a fabulous evening, the morning swiftly came. Waking to a shady area in the forest or the sweet remains of summer sunshine in the fields, the start of the day was just right. With the choice to awake and dive into the activities or to await the music to hit the stage. Chicago Farmer was one of the first to play, a second set for the weekend. A mellow afternoon set truly was perfect for the sweet, subtle tunes which were being produced by the unique acoustic skills of this musician. It was a delightful way to begin the day. Continuing in the afternoon was the band Cosmic Railroad. Bringing out true emotion in their jams this band wailed out intense links between the instruments which made you want to dance in the mid September heat. The day was off to a memorable start, the bands were on fire, the weather was sweet and many were dancing along in the heat. As the afternoon drifted into early evening more musical moments were made.
Many musicians add diversity to their music but without question the next act at Wuhnurth that shined in individualism had to be Jaik Willis. There is something in the way which he strums his guitar and drifts in his lyrics that draws you to every note and movement creating it. Singing out about intense issues in today's world and bring hope and meaning onto uniting for the better. There is a very serene way in which Jaik performed, instruments and vocals combining in a laid back way. He had a real connection with his audience and that was clear seeing him float in with the fans throughout the weekend. A strong musician with power in his words and lifting in his music. The sun set in the shade of the forest as the music continued to play into the early evening sets.
Steez hit the stage with music fused together with intense instrumentals and a variety of genres. The Wisconsin band hit the stage with success and the early evening dance party began. Mixing funk with jam plus some old favorites of the band and some covers. The most attractive attribute of these guys is their personalities that shimmer while on stage. A true crowd pleaser as the band jammed and rocked away their set. Walking away from the stage the band was a solid warm up for the continuation of music that raged on.
The next band hitting the stage has flourished recently. The Coop has indented a solid spot in the Chicago music scene and showed why with their performance. Expressing their sincere gratitude for the love of their music they kicked off the set with an impressive display. Their set branched out into new realms of their music making abilities. The expanding energy with the instrumentals was breathtaking, this band builds and builds to a climactic surge. The set was very impressive and clinging, it was difficult to stand still while the music beat through you. They played originals of the bands sensational production abilities. Songs included an opening with “MMP Dub.” Mid set the flow was captivating as they played “Space Cakes” into “Knetched” followed by “Spartacus” then moving into “EBS.” The gentlemen in this band give it their all every performance and their passion in their music is heard and felt the duration of their time on stage. This band is hypnotic in their collaboration of musical skill and their Wuhnurth performance was a perfect dose to lift up your evening.
A treat of the weekend was most definitely the appearance of The Marco Benevento Trio. Marco Benevento with his magical movements on the piano. The performance was beautiful. A mix of smooth jazz, mellow rock and piano jam sessions all intertwined. A crazy collection of keyed instruments was all populating the stage. Though the performance was outdoors there was a certain club like intimacy which was surrounded in the way the music was brought out. Very tranquil leading into the more raging scene which occurred in the late night.
Performing at this festival for the second year was The Twin Cats. Once again rocking the late night scene with a vivid display of musical talent. This band has a thriving stage appeal as they take you out with their funk. The saxophone was hypnotizing as the drum beats loosened up all the dance moves out of you. These guys really know how to build on the energy into the night and were a perfect way to groove. As the blanket of stars glowed between the clouds the bands continued to belt out their skills.
Catching a crowd after midnight was Ultraviolet Hippopotamus. Another band appearing at this festival for the second year in a row, showing the Urthlings their melodies. These guys were simple and funky. UV Hippopotamus was a wondrous way to conclude the second day of the festival. As the final day of the gathering came the positivity continued to grow.
Sunday September 19th
As the populous of Wuhnurth awoke on the final day of the festival, the anticipation for another full day of music was in the air. To kick off the day you could awaken with a yoga session which was held in the morning. Meditation and breathing techniques were also shared with those who were up and moving after the long evening. After you stretched and regained your energy the music began to play.
Jump starting the day was a performance by Ali Baba's Tahini. This group from South Bend, Indiana came with high spirits and lots of laughs and silly banters for Sunday morning. This four piece band including Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's Mcgee, rocked and raved the start of the day. They played upbeat songs yet they had a very mellow tempo with was perfection on the last afternoon at the festival. Those onlooking the band moved and swayed to the sweet vocals and the melodies. The day drifted into the afternoon after this performance. The festival seemed to blink by but a few more impressive performances where saved for last.
Bringing out some West Coast talent to the farm land of the Midwest was the one man act of That 1 Guy. A Stunning personality came out with a jaw dropping performance done with the instrumental sounds of this man's “Magic Pipe” along with other questionable “instruments.” This man is the defines instrumental creativity. The rhythms produced was pure entertainment. The set had theatrics along with the music that was being played. This was a highlighted way to wind down the evening. Before the night was over there was one more highly awaited band to see hit the stage.
The diversity at this music festival was clearly shown as the next band hit the stage. A Chicago based band that whose performance was highly anticipated was Cornmeal. Hitting the stage with energetic jams and traditional string movements was a captivating display. An ever present sensation of positivity streams from the stage with the music created. Its routine for this band to amaze those populating the audience. They know how to play the songs to get people stomping in the dust and hollering for more. For one of the concluding performances at this gathering this band tops it off for they awakened the raged population of the festival and created a knee slapping dance party.
Traveling away from the festival and back to reality the music that was soaked in over the weekend was remembered with a smile. Though this festival has a few kinks to work out to make it even better, over all the weekend was a fabulous collaboration of good people, beautiful music and an embracing message which will be shared by those who were there. The environment of the festival was naturally simple and a reminder of why we need to cherish this earth. This festival was a phenomenal way to kick off fall and for some, conclude the festival season this year. The music created , the collaboration of talents and with out a doubt the gorgeous weather we were blessed with on this weekend made Wuhnurth a festival to attend next year when it rolls back to the rustic land in Indiana.