The Crafty Audiophile Festival

I am fascinated by the summer festival season. I follow lineup announcements like it is my job. I strategically plan what I would see at what stage for festivals I am not even attending. I curse festival organizers for putting two of my favorite bands on different stages at the same time. Clearly it has become a bit of a hobby.

I’m not sure why I am so fascinated by festivals. It truly is not the ideal concert going experience for me. For example, I’m so pale that I can get a sunburn just by thinking about the sun. Imagine what 3 or 4 days in it does. I live in an area in which festivals aren’t that accessible. Any festival voyage would take carefully planning, a great deal of travel, and buckets of money. Of the larger, more prominent festivals I’ve only been to Sasquatch, and despite its awesomeness one festival does not a habitual festival goer make.

Luckily, over the past couple of years technology has brought the festivals to us at home. This year I “attended” Coachella through the YouTube live stream, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival through one of their local public radio stations, and Sasquatch, Bonnaroo and others with the help of the lovely folks at NPR.

After reviewing as many of the summer festival schedules as I could get my hands on I decided to construct my fantasy festival lineup. In this dream phase we will just call it The Crafty Audiophile Festival. If dreams were ever to come true it would surely be named something catchy and regionally acceptable depending on its location. (But I wouldn’t try too hard to name it. Despite my love for the home state, Kanrocksas is by far the worst named new festival this year.)

Chosen from what I consider my favorites of this summer’s concert season, the lineup would be…

Day 1 Rock/Indie

  • Foster the People
  • Girl Talk
  • The Black Keys
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Florence & the Machine
  • Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  • OK Go
  • The New Pornographers
  • The Flaming Lips

Day 2 Americana

  • Delta Spirit
  • The Civil Wars
  • The Head & the Heart
  • Justin Townes Earle
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Gillian Welch
  • Old Crow Medicine Show
  • Alison Krauss
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Robert Plant

Day 3 Folk

  • The Tallest Man on Earth
  • Amos Lee
  • The Avett Brothers
  • Joe Pug
  • The Swell Season
  • Ray Lamontagne
  • Reed Turner
  • Josh Ritter
  • John Prine
  • Paul Simon

Since this is nothing but my personal bias, I of course think this schedule is brilliant. If you happen to also think it’s brilliant and you want to fund a giant festival, let me know. I would be happy to plan it.

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I Want to Go! – The Railroad Revival Tour

There are few things I romanticize as much as older modes of transport, and I love traveling by train.  So, when Mumford & Sons announced today that they would be doing their April US dates by traveling by old-fashion train, they became the coolest band in the world.

Or so I thought, until 5 minutes later I found that Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will also be joining them – and then I had to define a whole new level of awesome.  Dubbed the Railroad Revival Tour, the groups will be touring by vintage railroad cars from Oakland to New Orleans.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday  on their website for those lucky enough to be on the route or within drivable distance.  The message I have for the RRT on behalf of the rest of us – “We have railroad tracks too!”

A cool mini-doc to get you in the mood:

(That’s actually Part 1 of 4 for you ambitious sort.)

And a favorite video of mine at the moment:

Ben Lovett is hands down the most adorable accordion player that’s ever lived.  I’m sure of it.

If anyone wants to roadtrip, traintrip, or hitchhike down to one of the shows – I’m game!