It was Loufest's first year. I'm very glad to say I was there & a part of it!
Being the jaded ex-record retail junkie that I am, it's pretty hard to really impress me. I'm often beyond critical, especially after working my fat patootie off in the heat all day. But blown away I was. The Carolina Chocolate Drops were already on my radar. I'd heard some cuts, liked 'em a lot and was excited to be seeing them. To say that they did not disappoint would be the understatement of the year. The 'Drops exude passion. They are intense, fun, amazing musicians and freakin' musicologists on top of it! They didn't just learn old songs. No, they excavated them from the depths of history with the finest musical archeology tools imaginable, then made them their very own. Everything old really is new again when the Carolina Chocolate Drops are involved. Maybe I should have just said..... wow! Best set of the festival. (Sorry, Alejandro, but you were in the top three. Love the new record!)
Everyone knows I'm a Tweedy fan. Yes. Yes, I am going to gush over Jeff's solo set. All official day mayoral proclamations aside, it still sucks to play on a hot stage with the sun setting directly into your eyes. But the show went on and Jeff held the audience rapt with attention, hanging on his every word. Usually STL crowds are not respectful, but somehow it happened. It was fun to sing along to New Madrid again and be flooded with memories during Jesus, Etc & Misunderstood. After all these years, it seems Jeff has finally become at ease with his past. Maybe I should take a cue from him. For a thorough review & set list, click over to the RFT blog. You'll find reviews of the whole fest there, too.
One more shout out to Loufest..... It was clean! Tons of recycling stations, even manned ones to tell you what to put where, resulted in very minimal trash on the ground. There were tons of reasons to like Loufest, maybe next year you'll have the opportunity to discover some yourself.