Pinestock Music Festival
September 6th, 2014
Churubusco, Indiana isn’t known for much beyond turtles (it’s high school mascot) and this creepy burger restaurant with clown dolls, but Pinestock Music Festival in the last four years has given Churubusco a new name. And that’s home of one of the best fests in the Midwest.
I am admittedly friends with the creators of Pinestock, but with or without that fact, this festival is undeniably special. You get a day’s worth of music (11 acts), all-you-can-drink beer from some of the best breweries in the Midwest, a free shirt made of the finest of linens, free camping and parking, and a chance to take part in the largest bonfire I’ve seen: all for just $30. It’s almost too good to believe. Throw in the quality dogs and out-of-this-world potatoes from Bravas food truck, and you have an annual event worth making a pilgrimage for. If you are in Indiana and you love music, you have no excuse not to attend.
While this year’s lineup top to bottom wasn’t as strong as the past two years, four of the last five bands delivered the goods this year: R.O.E., Metavari, Bailiff, and James and the Drifters. Metavari, the post-rock outfit who has made a surprising shift into well-crafted electro-pop act, delivered the set of the night with the fire ablazing as they “blazed” (pun-intended) through their new material for only their second time live. The Indiana quartet included a new set of videos to accompany their set, in addition to a new stage setup where Nate Utesch, Ty Brinneman, and Kyle Steury manned their electronic command center up front as drummer Andrew McComas pushed these new groove-heavy songs along. Look out for their new album next February and an interview with the band upcoming on this site.
Because of technical difficulties and police curfew, R.O.E. and James and the Drifters both saw their sets cut off, but continued on in by inspiring the crowd to help by singing and clapping along. R.O.E. (Rise Over Envy), the Chicago-based rapper, had the second best set of the night, and finished with the crowd in a frenzy despite their sound system completely shutting off. James and the Drifters got shut down around 1AM due to a police curfew, but continued on unplugged, inviting fans on stage and handing out Chinese lanterns (which they also pulled out the previous year at Pinestock). They even continued to play by the bonfire long after their set finished (You can download James and the Drifters’ entire new album, All That Gold, free on NoiseTrade). Chicago rockers Bailiff brought the classic power trio format to the Pinestock stage, with a heavy sound that spanned far and wide throughout rock history.
For more on the festival, check out last year’s festival video below, as well as Todd’s recap of the festival two years ago. And be sure to look out for next year’s festival, which will be the 5th annual and should boast the best lineup and biggest crowd yet.