CounterPoint Music Festival Review: Sex, Drugs, & EDM

Foreword

This is Austin writing, and I posted this review under my name to maintain anonymity of the author of this review.  I want to thank (redacted) for taking the time to write up CounterPoint Music Festival so thoroughly.  I will also say that the text messages exchanged between (redacted) and myself over the course of this weekend will forever bring a smile to my face.  Unfortunately, many of the readers of this site know my friend and know he went to this festival, so absolute transparency is not the best policy.  After (redacted) sparkling review, I hope to attend next year and get my weird on as well.  And as a disclaimer, the title of this article was provided by me.  Enjoy.

*Note: Some parts redacted to maintain the character of the author.

When you throw together 20,000+ people, 350 acres of beautiful landscape, and 70+ musical acts, the majority of which being electronic, you get a big bucket of weird.   This is what I learned last weekend at the first ever CounterPoint Festival outside of Atlanta, GA.  I know the typical post on here isn’t electronic music related so I’ll just try to describe the setting and hit the high points of each day.

Lineup

The lineup was definitely slanted more to the electronic dance music genre that has blown up over the last year, but also included several full bands (for the “if they aren’t playing instruments its not music crowd”).  Festival stalwarts Skrillex, Avicii, Bassnectar, and Pretty Lights headlined the event.  Overall the lineup was very solid and diverse through all 3 days, and even included rap artists Big Boi and Wale for good measure.

Atmosphere

The venue for this festival really couldn’t have been any more beautiful.  Set on an expansive piece of land surrounded by forest and a river, it was not uncommon to see people (who may or may not have dabbled in substances), just wondering around the grounds taking in the scenery.

Allowing patrons to camp is really what set CounterPoint apart from other EDM festivals such as Ultra, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Electric Zoo.  The weekend definitely would not have been the same if everyone had to leave the venue each night after the last show.  Also, I probably wouldn’t have been offered ‘shrooms 5 minutes after arriving if not for the seclusion of camping.

While I’m not a big narcotic user, it was impossible not to see it all going on around you in the campgrounds.  I was told by one couple from New York that this was the 9th festival they had been to this year, and they had a full buffet of substances for sale.

The setup for the two main stages, the Point and CounterPoint stages, was actually much more original than the name choices.  The festival planners set the stages directly next each to each other, with a large field serving as the make shift dance floor/grind factory.  This allowed the headliners to seamlessly transition without a break for the sweaty masses.  As Skrillex’s set was ending and the Pretty Lights fans were filing in for their show of choice, it seemed like 90% of the attendees were all in one spot.

Behind the aforementioned field, was a large hill that overlooked the two main stages that allowed a brief reprieve for those that had gone a bit too hard, or just didn’t want to be ran into by a gentleman in a Gumby suit.

There were also two more intimate stages, the Beat and Backbeat tents, which housed the final 4 shows each night, and when packed turned into a sweaty, drug-fueled, sauna orgy.  Reminiscent of the movie “Heavyweights”, there was a “blob” that festival-goers could jump 30 feet into.  A rocking climbing wall was also available for anyone who remained sober/coherent enough to try such a thing.

Thursday

I went into the first day most excited for Canadian dubstep duo Adventure Club and “livetronica” (electronic beats mixed with saxophone and drum instrumentals) group Big Gigantic.  Neither disappointed but the most entertaining set by far was Beats Antique.  I wasn’t all that familiar with their music going into the show, but can’t recommend seeing this group live enough.  I’ll let the picture below explain.

beats antique at counterpoint music festival

Friday

Friday morning I was awoken by a neighbor to (redacted) and take beer bongs around 8am.  This partying continued all day until I finally went into the venue around 6pm.  If I could do it over, I definitely would have gone in earlier because I missed out on some solid sets due to campground partying.  This was also caused by the mainland monsoon which rolled through mid-day, resulting in the venue being evacuated.  This also caused M83’s set (which I was not planning to attend following Austin’s advice anyways) to be cancelled as electronics and 30 mph driving winds don’t mix well.

The highlight of the day, and maybe the weekend, was the crazy set by U.K. based dubstep DJ Feed Me.  Now I don’t listen to dubstep all that often on my own, but I quickly learned that these were the most insane shows that one could attend.  The energy is so high throughout the entire set, it was impossible not to get swept up in it.  I actually took a video but the (redacted) caused me to forget I was filming, rendering the video a nightmare for anyone with epilepsy or motion sickness.

Avicii and Bassnectar both delivered on their usual solid sets to round out the headliners for the day.  I also attended Swedish House phenom Alesso’s late night set, but my body was ready to shut down.  After standing still for 2 minutes straight, it was recommended to me that I head back and get some rest.

Bassnectar at counterpoint music festival
Bassnectar brings the noise.

Saturday

I again made poor choices Saturday morning and after (redacted), I passed out in my tent for several hours.

When I finally made it in to the shows, I hit up Steve Angello’s (1/3 of the Swedish House Mafia) set.  While this was a standard, solid house set, Steve does do one thing that I found pretty cool.  When playing the massive hit “Save the World”, he asks the entire crowd to sit down on the ground during the build up.  As the drop hits, the entire crowd jumped up as one, which caused all in attendance to dig just a little bit deeper for the rest of the set.

Sonny Moore, aka Skrillex, followed up Steve’s set.  While many people hate Skrillex, and I won’t get into that, his set was an absolute blast.  I wish I could give a really in depth description, but honestly, things got pretty hazy at this point, so I’ll again just defer to the below picture.

Skrillex at counterpoint music festival

I hit up a couple more shows and chose to see electro producer Zedd for the final show of the weekend.  I had been in the same tent for a couple of sets, so by the time Zedd took the stage, I was up in the 2nd or 3rd row.  Zedd released his new album, Clarity this past Tuesday, and I implore anyone reading this to go give it a listen.  Clarity is probably the best EDM album I have heard in a long time.

It was really cool to see Skrillex, Alvin Risk, and Porter Robinson all partying behind Zedd as he fueled the aforementioned sauna orgy in a tent that had a ventilation system fail.  This basically caused there to be a sweaty haze throughout the whole tent, which turned into condensation dripping from the ceiling as the temperature rose.  While I’m sure this sounds really gross as you are reading this at your office, you have to understand that everyone at this point was so messed up on (redacted) or (redacted), that no one cared and just wanted to grind all over someone.


Looking back, while I wish I had seen more of the acts in the early afternoon, I can’t really complain after partying my ass off for 3 days straight and coming out in one piece.  I am suffering from a terrible case of festival withdrawal and still trying to compile all the memories from an incredible weekend.  I will definitely be in attendance next year, and hopefully have convinced one of the normal contributors to the site to join, that way you can all get a proper write-up about it.

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