photos taken from Moonrise’s Facebook
Baltimore, Maryland. Interesting city. Moonrise Festival had potential this year to be an epic festival but everything was not copacetic. Pimlico Race Course is not the best spot to hold a festival. The music was phenomenal, but it even experienced a few hiccups. Attendees have to understand festivals are rain or shine and they have ZERO control over weather. Unfortunately like many festivals this season Mother Nature rained on the party Saturday. Luckily I’ve learned if bad weather is ever in question it’s safe to just wear boots. Moonrise was a good time though so I’ll run through some ups and downs of the weekend.
Moonrise Festival is not camping for most people, but Camprise does exist. It honestly looked ok after seeing the tents set up across from the venue. Shoutout to Camprise for camping in Baltimore. Meanwhile in downtown we stayed at Hostelling International’s Baltimore Hostel. Inexpensive and overall great stay. I would highly recommend HI Baltimore. The hostel contributed its own awesomeness to the weekend.
The hostel was a perfect place for three guys in town for the weekend festival. Upon arrival we got a tour/briefing for our stay at the huge brownstone. Quiet time 11-7, complimentary breakfast, “Make the dishes clean again!” memo, events board, deck and patio, leave Baltimore PD alone memo, and so on. Best of all were the people we met at the hostel. It was tight hanging out with other people going to Moonrise at the hostel.
In the midst of the Charlottesville chaos my buddy and I were having a conversation with guys from Australia and South Carolina about Rufus Du Sol and Tame Impala and other music. A nice girl from the DC area made me pancakes one morning. We kicked it with some brothers, one of which was his first festival. Had an in depth conversation with some girls from Minnesota about toes. One is totally ok with toes/feet while the other was completely appalled by the thought of owning feet. So many people we met, all cool people for sure.
Those good vibes didn’t completely carry over to the festival. Some grimy people were walking around Moonrise and I don’t just mean RL Grime. Speaking of, RL Grime was killing his 3:30 set at the Solar Dance Tent before our view was rudely interrupted by this couple and their own set. I can only imagine the song “Discovery Channel” was playing in their minds on repeat for like twenty minutes or so before we left the set. Buzzkill. I also heard claims of hoodlums stealing phones and wallets. Just a very intense crowd as a whole. I guess it was an EDM festival.
I did feel some unity so the vibes were in reach. Artists like Carnage expressed his memo in reference to the national madness for everyone to “Spread that motherfuckin love!” There were some magical moments possibly due to the large amount of unicorn presence in town with Brony Con. I noticed some consistent hair fashion. I saw plenty of hot chicks wearing shoulder length long haircuts. I have never seen so many guys at a festival with mullets. Mad props to all the dudes with mullets.
Totems save lives. Moonrise had several creative totems. A few notable totems: Trump/Kim Jong faces/hair swap, the Shocker fingers, wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men, ATHF Ignignokt Mooninite, an X rated alien piñata, and a broom totem. I thought the broom was clever and simple until that joker started sweeping feet, mine included. Not cool. Plenty of fun(ny) and creative totems.
My buddy Aviel received major traffic both days with his infamous toe-tem “Hell Yeah I Suck Toes”. Some guy even licked Josh’s shoe while he was holding the totem. We met plenty of people who are down with sucking toes while others were utterly disgusted. It was funny to hear split approval between groups about sucking toes. By the way if you got a picture with us or the totem you totally suck toes!
Serious production mishaps. Organization could have been better; it took about an hour and a half just to get my wristband. “You can’t have your festival smell like shit.” That’s what my friends kept saying about Pimlico. They were right, it did wreak of pony poop. Damn Bronies. It didn’t help that it rained Saturday then was blazing hot Sunday. They put down hay, but it didn’t help much; especially under the Solar Dance Tent. I still heard complaints about not enough water stations. To their credit the Star Team was doing their job passing out water and misting sweaty festival goers.
Other miscues had much to do with weather. It was cool to get a visual perspective on attendance as the stands filled up and people flooded underneath the bleachers to wait out the weather. Stormy weather caused a handful of acts to cancel or reschedule as well as shortened sets on Saturday night once music continued. Big Gigantic and Zeds Dead had great sets, but it felt like they were rushed as both duos only had an hour each. We didn’t go to any afterparties since the memo was to have 3+ girls per guy for entry. It was awesome of Moonrise to offer Sunday entry with Saturday tickets since things were so chaotic. But then Sunday Funday happened.
Sunday was one of those festival days that made any awfulness from the day before ok. No rain was the most crucial factor; it definitely amplified Sunday Funday. We spent the majority of the day set hopping as we saw close to 15 acts on Sunday alone. Moonrise error, the sound cut out on two sets that I know of; Alan Walker and twice during Yellow Claw. Otherwise production was awesome. Fire & smoke blasts, BASS, fireworks, BASS, and confetti throughout the festival.
Even with the heat, fire blasts were enjoyable during Alan Walker‘s daytime set at Stellar Stage. Daytime confetti at Lunar Stage was cool for Hippie Sabotage. Elephante was hype at Celestial Stage. Big props to the Stellar Stage design; hands down my favorite of the festival. It was 3-D like with sick in your face visual effects by the acts on the stage. Noteworthy acts we saw on the Stellar Stage at Moonrise: Habstrakt, Snails, Ookay, Yellow Claw, Excision, and Dillstradamus.
Run The Jewels had another entertaining set during the day. El-P got on the mic and apologized for underestimating a Baltimore crowd at 3:30. Sunday was pretty bonkers. He was also looking out for the females just trying to dance and chill at festivals by telling all the guys “Keep the dicks to yourself.” Later that night I found Excision. Such an emotional set. Sensory overload. I don’t even really do hard music, but Excision was unreal at Stellar Stage. I knew his show was bonafide when I didn’t need refraction glasses to intensify the visuals. Excision‘s show was so sick this guy from the hostel vomited during the set. I could go on forever about that set. Excision even made me consider Lost Lands. I want more Robo Kitty ASAP. Arguably the best set of the weekend.
No festival is perfect; Moonrise Festival has room for improvement. However, Moonrise Festival 2017 was a crazy weird time worth the trip. I was introduced to Bronies and Excision. My buddy said VIP wasn’t worth it, but otherwise Moonrise was not the disaster some people made it out to be. I ALWAYS go to festivals for the music. Yeah we missed artists, but we still saw outstanding performances. Anytime I get to see Zeds Dead I’m more than satisfied. The thousands of headbangers around me seemed satisfied when the bass rattled both days. What more can I say, I lived and learned Moonrise.