The Werks House Party
This years Werk Out Music and Arts Festival was another amazing weekend and a very different experience from my first two Werk Out’s for a number of reasons. For starters the attendance was a lot lower this weekend compared to my first two Werk Out’s (2015, 2016). This could have been because of the chance of rain all weekend or because of other upcoming festivals being held at Legend Valley this year like Lost Lands and Resonance however, the lower attendance was a very nice change of pace and made this weekend very special. The vibes at this years Werk Out were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced here before. It felt like a close knit community where everyone got to know each other and just wanted to enjoy some live music and have a good time. I didn’t see a single unhappy person all weekend.
(Photo By: Brian Hockensmith)
In previous years the larger crowd sizes meant that the bathrooms were not always the best, nice camping spots were hard to come by and very close together, and navigating your way through the crowd could be difficult. This year none of that was a problem! The bathrooms stayed very clean all weekend and people didn’t have to set up camp on top of their neighbors. I was actually able to find a spot to hang up my hammock this year and it made life so much better. Everyone had room to breath and move freely throughout Legend Valley this weekend. The weather was also perfect this year! The weather for my first two Werk Out Music Festival’s was HOT, sometimes too hot. This year was a fantastic change of pace. The first day brought a little thunderstorm but it didn’t last long and helped cool everything off. Despite the threat of rain all weekend the scattered showers in the area avoided us and we stayed dry for the most part. The clouds kept it cooler so people didn’t have to search for shade from the sun and could sleep comfortably at night.
(Photo By: Brian Hockensmith)
Three Days of Music
The first day of music was a great way to get this festival started. After arriving at Legend Valley and getting our camp set up we got to know our neighbors then set out to listen to some music. Dopapod, who will be on tour this fall with The Motet and releasing a fourth studio album called Never Odd Or Even, was the first band we saw this weekend. Dopapod kicked the weekend off right and got the party going with a great first set. The Werks took over the main stage after Dopapod for their first of many sets. This set reminded me why I love this band and this festival so much. Starting off with ‘Into The Moss’ then moving on to ‘Alive’ and ‘Magic’ and finally ending with ‘One Drop’, The Werks put on a breathtaking show that made everyone move. At the very end of their set a storm rolled through the area and brought a lot of rain. Even though their set got cut a little short I wouldn’t trade dancing in the rain with all of my friends for anything. After the storm passed through we made our way to the late night tent to watch a mesmerizing performance by Emancipator. His combination of DJ work and violin play left people speechless providing a perfect end to the first day.
(Photo By: Brian Hockensmith)
Friday brought a day jammed packed with great music. We started our day with Spafford in the Big Tent then moved on to get a second helping of Dopapod on the Main Stage. After Dopapod things got funky with the talented trio behind Sunsquabi. Since releasing their debut album and having a breakthrough year last year, SunSquabi has been lighting up stages at festivals across the country. The Floozies were next to take over the Main Stage followed by a Werkatronic set. During this unique set Matt and Mark Hill from The Floozies joined The Werks on stage to play ‘California Love’ then Eli Winderman of Dopapod Joined them for ‘Rollin’ and an epic Top Gun teaser. Twiddle took over the Big Tent for Friday’s late night set and put on one of my favorite performances of the weekend. To close out the night The Werks, Twiddle, and Dopapod reunited on stage as Twerkapod for Vol. 2 of their Tribute To The 90s. This tribute included songs such as ‘Black Hole Sun’ by Soundgarden, ‘Shine’ by Collective Soul, ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by R. Kelly, ‘Loser’ by Beck, and the guys even covered ‘Wannabe’ by The Space Girls. Check out the full tribute set below!
The final day of music capped off a perfect weekend. This weekend was the first time I’ve ever gone VIP at a festival and it was completely worth it. After watching Dumpstaphunk get the funk and good vibes flowing to start off the day we made our way to the VIP tent for a private performance from the band behind this amazing weekend. During this set The Werks took song suggestions from the audience and joked around with us. One of my personal favorites from this set is when they played ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ by Steve Miller Band. Being able to sit in on such a unique and personal set was an amazing experience that made this year’s Werk Out very special to me. Once the private set was over we made our way back to the Main Stage to watch Twiddle have some more fun before The Werks took over to close out their weekend with back to back sets. During these sets The Werks played a couple of my favorites including ‘Wide Awake’, ‘Moving On’, ‘Guido’, and ‘Find Your Way’. Mike Goldberg (father of bassist Jake) joined the band on stage to play guitar during ‘Guido’ then later Dino Dimitrouleas (former bassist) and Mihali Savoulidis (Twiddle) joined the band for ‘Cloud Hopper’. Finally, Gramatik took over the Big Tent for the final late night set where he threw down and got the crowd moving with some original work and a lot of Grizmatik. This weekends performances were better than I expected and reminded me why this is my favorite festival. I can’t wait to see what The Werks have in store for us for next years lineup!
(Photo By: Life Through Lenses)
Art, Food, & More
Throughout this weekend there were different artists, food trucks, and special classes set up across Legend Valley. Different yoga classes and werkshops were available for festival goers to go to. The Werk Out also provided a variety of food trucks as well including amazing breakfast burritos, burgers, bbq, ice cream, smoothies and more! A Werk Out wouldn’t be complete without a big slice of Disco Pizza either! On top of all of the different werkshops and delicious food stands available, there were a variety of artists set up as well. One of my personal favorites was Gavin Gonzo Art. Gavin Gonzo Gerundo is a local artists from Cincinnati that focuses on a bold shamanistic style that connects us to our animal spirits. Gavin has captivated audiences with live art performances across the country including a few times this weekend.
(Painting By: Gavin Gonzo & Mike Hancock)
Helping the Community
One thing that the Werk Out focused on this year was giving back to the local community. This year The Werks set up a school supply drive to help out local Thornville, Ohio public schools. The Werks provided a list of various school supplies that were needed and if you brought in five of the items listed then they gave you a Werks Pin. This year they were able to donate over 2,100 packs of school supplies as well as special donations from Emancipator, Dopapod, Big Something, Gavin Gonzo Art, Matt & Jaclyn Laravie, and Denny Shivener. On top of the school supply drive, The Werks teamed up with HeadCount to help people register to vote, sign up for local election alerts, and a meet and greet to talk about the importance of voting! Its nice to see bands giving back to the community that have supported them over the years. This just adds to the many reasons why I love this band and this festival!
(Photo By: Josh Timmermans)
On behalf of everyone that has ever experienced The Werk Out Music and Arts Festival and for everyone that has seen you all play live.. THANK YOU for everything you do!!! This festival feels like home to a lot of people and has inspired people to do great things and to be themselves. I will see all of you amazing people next year for The Werk Out 2018!