Taking place in one of the most influential blues cities in the world, Lou Fest in St. Louis brought us an amazing mix of talented musicians, great weather, a beautiful venue in Forest Park, kick ass food, and plenty to drink this past weekend. Lou Fest, consisted of two main stages and two smaller stages, all hosting some great artists and drawing pretty large crowds throughout the weekend. Being one of the smaller festivals amongst so many major large venue festivals this year, it was pretty comfortable with every stage pretty easy to walk to under 5 minutes, and surprisingly no sound overlaps. We really dug the set up, the music, the festival goers, the food, and the overall hospitality. Lou Fest was sweet.
Preservation Jazz Hall Band / Day One / Lou Fest
We began day one by arriving early and exploring the wet grounds and occasional mud puddle patches thanks to the rain the night before. Our shoes were covered in mud within minutes, and we noticed the overall decision for festival goers was either accept the muddy shoes or walk around bare foot. The mud stopped no one from enjoying the festival, in fact, it was embraced. We witnessed so many walking around bare foot in the mud with smiles on their faces, in some instances jumping around in the mud puddles. We knew from the beginning, these good vibes were going to make for a great weekend. The first band we caught was the Preservation Jazz Hall Band, and kicked it off for us perfectly. The smooth jazz and blues sounds of the band had the entire crowd dancing and smiling throughout the entire set. It was impossible not to move to the contagious rhythm of each and every tune. You could tell these guys loved what they were doing up on stage too, each handing over a solo to the other and admiring each others skills. It was really something to watch and hear, of course.
The Heavy / Day One / Lou Fest
After PJHB, we headed over to The Heavy. Damn, these guys rocked out, leaving the packed crowd no choice but to do the same as the mid day sun beat down on everyone. Lead singer, Kelvin Swaby, was all over the stage belting out lyric after lyric from both old and new tracks, owning the ears and eyes of everyone in the crowd.
St. Lucia / Day One / Lou Fest
From The Heavy, we walked on over to catch St. Lucia over at the Bud Light Stage. It is possible this set was the best performance of Lou Fest, for us at least. The set begin with a build up of instrumentals which led up to the beautiful vocals of lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler from backstage. Jean-Philip made one hell of an entrance while singing his way from the backstage area all the way to the top of the speakers in front of the stage. The crowd went wild for it and the entire band loved every minute of it with smiles on their faces. St. Lucia killed it without a doubt. The packed crowd was totally engaged and could not stop dancing and singing along. Singer, Jean-Philip eventually ended up climbing the pit gate into the crowd, which completed the last step for most awesome set at Lou Fest. Chris Stapleton closed out the night for us perfectly with much singing along to the beautiful lyrics from from his unique and smooth soulful voice.
St. Lucia / Day One / Lou Fest
The Bud Light Lounge at Lou Fest was all fun and games.
Day two started off with some super tasty grub from the nosh pit food stands and some beers and cornhole at the Bud Light Lounge while we waited for Twin Peaks to hit the Bud Light Stage.
Twin Peaks / Day Two / Lou Fest
Greensky Bluegrass / Day Two / Lou Fest
Twin Peaks rocked their faces off, and ours too. This band won the highest energy award for sure. After rocking out to Twin Peaks, we headed to the Forest Park Stage to jam out to Greensky BlueGrass. You couldn't help but foot stomp from start to end. So much talent on the stage, so much folk and bluegrass coming from instruments like the banjo and the stand up bass. We headed back to the Bud Light Lounge after their set for some more beers and to catch some of the football games on being broadcast on the tvs there. This, followed by some ping pong on the ping pong table set up in the lounge.
Vince Staples / Day Two / Lou Fest
Fans going nuts during Vince Staples' set on day two at Lou Fest.
We then made our way back to the Forest Park Stage to catch Vince Staples. Vince had this packed crowd totally engaged. He definitely won the award for most energetic and engaged crowd. Not one fan on the rail wasn't jumping with their hands in the air lip syncing his lyrics. Vince Staples brought the angst and the energy for sure.
The Kills / Day Two / Lou Fest
Up next, The Kills. They killed it. Award for best showmanship and rocking out goes to them, no contest. The Kills belted out their hard rock just as hard rock should - the crowd did just the same. Lead singer, Alison Mosshart's voice sent shivers down our spines and got our heads bobbing all set. Guitarist, Jamie Hince, put on a show with that guitar of his as well. Loved these guys.
Shakey Graves / Day Two / Lou Fest
Finally, we closed out Lou Fest at the Shade Stage with Shakey Graves, the band made of one man playing a guitar and a bass drum while belting out smooth vocals. As it says in the About section of his facebook, "Shakey Graves Is A Gentleman From Texas." He indeed was a gentleman, thanking us for the love and applause after every song with a smile on his face. Anyone could tell he was very grateful to be able to perform his music for so many fans. He made every single person in the packed crowd at this small stage forget about Ms. Lauryn Hill playing at the rival main stage across the way. He closed out Lou Fest for us perfectly. Lou Fest, you were awesome, from your venue and hospitality, to your amazing musicians and kick ass fans. Thank you.