UTOPiAfest 2012 Preview
If you’re looking for something to do at the end of the month, and love great live music, camping in the Texas hill country, and hamming it up with 1800 like-minded people, then UTOPiAfest is the right place for you. Bringing the likes of Dr. Dog, Jimmy Herring, Victor Wooten, The Wheeler Brothers, Toubab Krewe, Ben Kweller, Mexican Institute of Sound, Charles Bradley and White Denim among a bunch of others to a gorgeous plot of land outside of the quaint town of Utopia, Texas, it is assuredly going to be one hell of a time. We took the trip from Houston last year, and will now never miss another UTOPiAfest. The kind people who put on the festival are a pleasure to be around, and definitely know a thing or two about keeping their guests entertained throughout the entire weekend. With the ease of camping wherever you want, either close to the concert field, or up the hillside in the trees for a more secluded experience, you are still only a short walk from all of the action. Adding even more attractions this year, like a late-night silent disco, a host of great dining options and a merchandise tent run by the famed Austin record store Waterloo Records, 2012’s event is sure to be a great time.
With all that said, I’m mostly excited about the stellar line-up from the first bands on Friday afternoon all the way to the final notes of music on Saturday night. With a varied assortment of musical styles being represented, from Afro-beat to indie rock, Latin electro to bluegrass and roots music, jumping from stage to stage should be a great experience all weekend. Dr. Dog is obviously my biggest draw, but by far not the only reason I’ll be in attendance. Check out my picks for most anticipated sets of the weekend after the jump.
Friday, Arrowhead Stage, 9:45-11:15
It’ll be my umpteenth time seeing the Philly indie folksters, and I couldn’t be more excited. I will never miss a Dr. Dog show if they’re anywhere around me. Stoked.
Saturday, Cypress Stage, 6:45-7:45
One of, if not the premier bassists playing music right now. I’ve seen him play with The Flecktones on numerous occasions, but only once solo, so this should be a great experience.
Friday, Arrowhead Stage, 12:15-1:45
I’m so happy that this is the band they chose for late night. Be prepared to be introduced to the kora. I once saw them at 4:30 in the morning play an all blacklight set at the Howlin’ Wolf in NOLA. Hope they pull some antics like that!
The Wheeler Brothers
Saturday, Arrowhead Stage, 7:45-9:00
Texas boys that are starting to make a name for themselves throughout the rest of the country. Their rollicking bluegrass infused shows have found them opening for bands like The Avett Brothers in recent past, and fitting in quite perfectly. I’m excited to catch these guys again.
Saturday, Arrowhead Stage, 10:15-11:30
What I said about Victor Wooten for bassists applies to Jimmy Herring in the guitar world. This guy can do anything on a guitar, and he’s certainly proved that being chosen to play for esteemed classic rock groups like The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead and Widespread Panic among several others. Should be a pretty rocking show.
Charles Bradley And His Extraordinaires
Friday, Cypress Stage, 8:15-9:30
It’ll be nice to see Charles Bradley for the first time, as I’ve heard his shows are fun as can be. I can never turn down a funk and soul show, so watch out for me in the front row cutting a rug throughout the set.
Saturday, Arrowhead Stage, 5:45-6:45
I think I’ve seen these guys in the past couple of years, maybe at SXSW or here in Houston somewhere, and I have a feeling that I really liked them. After listening to a few tracks on YouTube, I realize that I really do like them. Should play out for a great mid-afternoon set.
Mexican Institute Of Sound
Saturday, Cypress Stage, 11:30-12:30
Just like Art Vs Science last year, Mexican Institute of Sound should be the unequivocal late-night dance party of this years event. I know they’ve played at ACL in the past few years, and from what I’ve heard they’re great, but we shall see how much energy I’ll still have. With the lax BYOB policy, I’m guessing I’ll be doing just fine.
I’m also very excited about the bands I’m not so familiar with that are mostly playing earlier in the day. Should be a great weekend!
Tickets are still available, but are going quick. With less than 300 available, I’d recommend picking one up soon. Also, if you’re feeling lucky, you can try your hand at winning VIP passes for you and three of your friends, including accommodation and additional goodies from friends of the festival, Real Ale Brewery. All the details you need to win are located on Real Ale’s Facebook page.
See you all there in less than two weeks!