For the past six years, Audiotree Music Festival has taken over the Kalamazoo, Michigan area for one summer weekend. This year’s festival, held at Arcadia Creek Festival Place on September 22nd and 23rd, ended with Father John Misty, the top-billed act across the slew of performances.
Audiotree feels unconcerned with being the biggest and best fest in the region; their focus is on the music more so than the non-music festivities.
That isn’t to say the other activities weren’t worth checking out.
Arcadia Creek Festival Place is the perfect place for a festival. In addition to the two stages — with acts staggered to avoid competing sounds — there were merch/vendors stalls, a VIP area, and a bar housed within a massive tent between the stages. It was ideal for grabbing another Goose Island drink between sets.
Also between sets, while the stages were being reconfigured, Audiotree showcased videos from their web series, projecting the music videos onto the stages’ massive backdrops. It kept the atmosphere alive during breaks and introduced audiences to more acts.
The crowds were lucky to have clear, sunny weather all weekend. It got into the 70s, but nothing too sweltering. Shout out to Topo Chico for keeping all 2,000 or so attendees hydrated with free mineral water both days. You don’t usually see that extended beyond VIPs and staff.
Father John Misty: A roller coaster set to close out the festival had mellow, acoustic guitar leads interspersed with bursts of energy.
Khruangbin: The Houston trio that played Saturday night, had the other standout performance of the weekend. Their greatest track was a medley of 90’s hip-hop in their own instrumental style. That distinctive style — a mix of funk, psychedelia, and instrumental rock — gives them mass appeal, perfect for the audience at Audiotree.
Post Animal: Hearing them live, you would never guess this Chicago-based five-piece has only been touring for a year. They have a striking mix of psych prog rock and pop rock. With a few tour dates left this year, check them out if you get the chance.
Palm: With bursting riffs that stick in your head and shifting time signatures within songs, this avant pop band from Philadelphia is interesting, to say the least. Here’s hoping they’re back in the Midwest soon.
REZN: Arguably the heaviest act of the weekend, REZN’s set somehow worked as a palate cleanser. They combined elements of psych and fuzzy stoner rock with ‘90s grunge alt rock. REZN has a few gigs in Chicago late-October.
Real Estate: A Brooklyn-based band, Real Estate worked as a wind down for the festival’s end. They left the crowd plenty energized for Father John Misty, but their sound is more chilled indie pop rock than raging rock.
Photos by Adam Meyer.