Additional Photos by: Neff Conner
It was time for a bit of a change in vibe in the lineup as we rounded out the second day of the festival. The 2 p.m. sun was blazing down and it was up to the bands to make up for any drained energy from the sun.
A big job to say the least, but nothing that can’t be done by the first four sets of the day.
The Hanna Barbarians, The Unlikely Candidates, The Orbans and Air Review are some of the most popular in terms of Fort Worth indie rock – it doesn’t get much better.
After getting in several photos of each performance I found myself drawn to the hill between the two sets and thinking, “it is officially summer.” I fancied myself in a quirky, fun-loving post-graduate summertime mood with these bands providing my soundtrack, and if you’ve ever been in that mood you know how nice it is.
And the added bonus – these guys were all from my city! All in one spot for me to take full advantage of.
Fort Worth Music Fest, y’all.
Then, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk took stage and turned the venue completely around. I found myself not wanting to sit anymore, but rather anything but that.
And funk doesn’t get much better than when its roots are in New Orleans, where these guys call home. Keep Fort Worth Funky indeed, even at one of the hottest and longest parts of the day.
Uphill, The Sheepdogs brought back the good ol’ fashioned Southern rock with their own Canadian vibe – “We’re burning up over here,” lead singer Ewan Currie said about adjusting to Texas weather.
What these guys provided was a unique psychedelia vibe, complete with 1970's get ups, backing bass and wonderfully stacked harmonies.
And the wildly long hair? An added bonus.
ZZ Ward, one of the weekend’s most anticipated acts, kicked off the hour-long sets with her own soulful glow.
Drawing from Etta James, one of her personal icons, ZZ Ward brought out the blues with tales of her own experiences flowing throughout every lyric. Her backup band was filled with some of the nation’s most talented to provide a strongly genuine set of old school influences with hints of modern hip-hop.
Her male counterpart, Allen Stone, took the main stage not long afterward and completely tore it apart. The same frantic crowd from ZZ’s set stuck around and were practically forced out of their shells as they watched Stone dance around the stage (and off).
Stone’s set left a mark on the festival as one of the most positive, whether he was jumping off stage to make friends with individuals in the crowd or dividing them in two for a dance-off.
And with covers of Bob Marley and Chaka Khan, Stone let his voice ring out through the pavilion and truly channeled the classic soul artists that influenced his own music.
The Walkmen finished out the sets at the Rahr & Sons stage playing their biggest hits, and with the Fort Worth skyline lit up behind them, their set made for a truly lovely experience.
The main stage brought out its final performers and festival closers, Galactic, and the buildup of the last three main stage performances all seemed to culminate into one larger-than-life experience.
You kind of have to be excited when the stage is filled with seven-plus instrumentalists each taking a solo turn to show off their skills. It truly doesn’t get much more “back to the roots” than Galactic, another New Orleans funk band with big influences in Fort Worth artists.
North Texans are tough and can stick through the longest and hottest of summer days, and knowing that Galactic would be there to greet them at the end of the day, the heat was well worth it. It didn’t get much more hyped up than that.