With a great music lineup, awesome art, a 4th day added for additional fun, new camping options, and record ticket sales, the 11th Annual Art Outside was set to be the best yet but Mother Nature would have other plans. Still, in spite of a record downpour that started early in the morning Saturday that left organizers having to cancel programming for the remainder of the weekend, Art Outside still turned out to be a great weekend, especially for those that came out for the pre-party on Thursday.
Pulling in late Thursday afternoon, we were braced for a bit of chaos getting in based on last year but there was a whole different vibe with a much better car flow this year that made checking in a breeze; many kudos to the AO team for that change! Once into the venue it was time to set up camp for the weekend. With a little help from neighbors I was setup in very short order. Kudos to the good vibes and helping spirit: it can be counted on at AO. Once the camp was set it was time to go explore the grounds before Tauk opened on the main stage at 6:30. There was familiarity to how the grounds were laid out and at the same time it was quite different with more artists painting, more vendors to shop at and more food choices. They were ready for the weekend!
Tauk came on and opened the night on the main stage and got the crowd going. With ample space to dance it was a great set to start off a great night of music. Nth Power was up next and they came to spread their love with AO. They even got in a couple of songs from their upcoming album “Abundance”. With a 30 minute set break one could grab a beer from the near by bar and take a look around the main stage and see the artists continue to come in and set up their spaces for the evening. After the break the night would go on with Dopapod until midnight and then at 12:30 The New Mastersounds would close down the main stage with a 2 hour set that had the Thursday night crowd hooping and dancing to their soulful funk sound.
Orlando natives Beautiful Chorus opened the main stage music on Friday and was a treat if you got to be there. If you’re in FL check them out this fall! Holding Space would play next for the afternoon party crowd before Twiddle got the night started at 5:15 on the main stage. Local Austin DJ / Producer Brede opened the dome sets for the weekend at 5:30; by now, Art Outside was in full swing! Friday’s night’s musical programming was packed with great acts! The Werks would take the main stage while one man funk band Henry + The Invisibles would take the midway stage and get funky with the crowd. Sea At Last would later play on the folk stage and then Easy Star All Stars played on the Main Stage at 10:00. After bouncing from stage to stage to enjoy what the night had to offer it was finally time to come back to the main stage for Lettuce to close it down and they did it in epic style with Jesus Coomes crushing that bass!
By now the weather was getting a bit sketchy and rain clouds had been moving about throughout the day but that didn’t stop the die hard that were ready to go dance over at the dome stage for the Bonobo set. Mother nature had some other plans though. Shortly after the set started, the crowds were told to seek shelter and what followed was a record setting deluge that would last until the following night and ultimately cause the organizers of Art Outside to cancel Saturday and Sunday’s programming. Sadly, that meant that the crowds would miss out on headliners Greensky Bluegrass and Papadosio as well as a number of other great acts like, Elephant Revival, Rising Appalachia, another set on the folk stage by Beautiful Chorus, Wood and Wire and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds.
In spite of the bad news the organizers were committed to seeing everyone off the property safely and so were many of the attendees. Getting out Saturday quickly got messy with many cars getting stuck early. At first it was not clear how those that were stuck would get out but then the community spirit came alive when grioups of other campers would help get cars pushed out of inches of mud and standing water; high fives were exchanged with each victory! It was a great sight to see. Those with trucks or jeeps that could handle the boggy conditions also helped pull or push vehicles and RV’s out and AO staff with Polaris off road vehicles also helped move things along. Kudos to all who were involved. It’s that sense of community and helping spirit that makes Art Outside such a great festival to attend. We are looking forward to heading back out for the 12th annual Art Outside next year and after this year have some great hopes and expectations!