Photos By Dave McCallum
Written By Dave McCallum
LouFest is a story of startling success in the music festival world. Having started a mere 7 years ago it has attracted fans with its star studded lineups and its attractive location. The creation of a documentary filmmaker Brian Cohen LouFest has been bringing stand up Alt, Indie, Folk, Bluegrass, Hip-Hop artist together for the last 7 years and the 2017 lineup is no exception. Two perfect fall days in a transcendent setting were graced by dozens of tremendous artist that played intimate and lively shows. The many artist that graced Forest Park cascaded out track after track of varied and powerful songs.
The local feeling Loufest, the artist, and the vendors emanated was palpable. Local artist like 18 & Counting, Mathias & the Pirates, and Mvstermind played creative and personal sets for their local fans and those privileged enough to be at the right festival and the right show at the right time. Local food vendors from across St. Louis fed hungry festie fans with delish local burgers, pizzas, tacos, and even freshly made ice cream. Headliners like Cage the Elephant, Snoop Dogg, Run the Jewels and Weezer played sets that thrilled a sold out crowd and drowned the nation’s largest city park in euphonious soundwaves for hours on those cool September nights. Classic bands like Huey Louis & the News and The Hail Hail Chuck Berry tribute band played sing along favorites that had the crowd bursting with energy to try and sing every word to timeless classics.
The show to see was Run the Jewels. I say this with my heart and my ears being torn between classics like Weezer and Cage the Elephant, but I need to stick to my guns and i’ll tell you why. Killer Mike & EL-P are a dynamic duo whose careers stretch back to the 90’s. I first remember hearing Killer Mike as a featured artist on the tracks The Whole World and Kill Jill by Outkast & Big Boi respectively. This was 2001 far before any of us knew what a treat 2013 would bring. The release of their first album “Run The Jewels” in 2013 brought instant recognition to the group. It’s hard hitting beats and constant, clever, and interplayed lyrics make each track a privilege to listen to. Despite already being compared to other incredible duos like UGK and Outkast it didn’t go to their head or phase them as the next two years they released two more albums RTJ2 & RTJ3. In a mere 4 years they have flipped a hip hop scene that was stale with trap artist and one hit wonders by delivering album after album of songs each a hit in its own right. Loufest was no difference they played track after track to a soldout crowd singing along with every track.
In short, Loufest was an experience for all five senses. The spectacular facilities and staff helped bring together a fun, clean, and lively environment in which the artist and vendors could truly use their skills to deliver a spectacular experience. The artist in attendance were down to earth and passionate musicians who were just there for the fans and the music. Speaking from personal experience there were multiple shows this humble reviewer attended with local artist where given the opportunity to choose between backstage or the thick of the crowd chose the latter. They wanted to be there in the thick of it to listen to artist new and old alongside the thousands of screaming fans. They wanted to have some beer spilled on them and maybe do some spilling themselves.
This is the environment that was Loufest. It was genuine, it was real, it was loud & proud, it was a music fans dream. Until then I’ll be thinking of you Lou!