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Live Recap: The Inaugural Bellwether Festival

Bellwether Festival made its debut over the weekend, bringing some of the freshest names in indie music as well as some celebrated classics to the festival site, which usually plays home to a renaissance festival. The first-time, two-day festival encountered some setbacks, like a storm that forced the cancellation of Friday's headliner MGMT, but Bellwether also excelled in other ways. Limiting its grounds to feature only two stages within easy walking distance and limiting the lineup to rule out any schedule overlap allowed for the festival attendees to focus on the music and see every artist.

If you missed out on the fest, check out the top five moments of the weekend below. 

"Golden Days" Met The Golden Hour During Whitney's Set

Following the success of their debut project Light Upon The Lake, Whitney toured relentlessly for the better part of two years, playing several headline runs and appearing on the major festival circuits. Their early evening set at Bellwether marked a rare live set from the group this year, as they've been slowly, but surely chipping away at their sophomore effort. Beginning with a quick sprinkle of rain, Whitney's set revisited their beloved first album, including their popular single "Golden Days." The band performed the anthemic break up song just after the sun had broken through the rain, delivering the perfect soundtrack to Friday's golden hour. The set also included a Neil Young and NRBQ cover, as well as Whitney's unreleased song "Rolling Blackout" that has become a staple of their live shows. As the set closed out, lead singer Julien Ehrlich left the crowd with the promise of new music soon; "See you next time. With a new album. We've been working on it...we're happy about it."


Local Natives Egged on the Rain

Like Whitney, Los Angeles' Local Natives are between albums at the moment, but lead singer Taylor Rice also teased their next album. "We're almost done with the fourth record. We can't say much but we like it," Rice told the crowd. While the news gave the audience something to look forward to with the future of Local Natives, the crowd also got a chance to celebrate the past with the band. Kelcey Ayer of the band reminisced on the band's history, noting that they just hit their ten year anniversary. "In honor of that we're gonna close the set with a few Gorilla Manor songs," the band announced before revisiting songs from their first album. Just before playing their final song of the set, "Sun Hands," Rice commented on the fact that they'd managed to hold off the rain despite the lightning filling the sky behind them. "If it rains, just go crazier. It's our last song so give it everything you've got," the frontman said, egging on the inevitable storm brewing, which let loose just as Local Natives left the stage. 


Japanese Breakfast Invited The Flaming Lips to Olive Garden

Fronted by Michelle Zauner, Philadelphia outfit Japanese Breakfast has been hitting the road consistently following the release of Soft Sounds From Another Planet last summer. Despite their taxing tour schedule, Zauner and her band brought their usual energy and witty stage banter to their Bellwether Fest set. Between songs, Zauner called attention to the fact that the festival site also hosts a renaissance fair; "I should have worn my John Snow Outfit," she joked, adding that she was hoping to see more capes in the crowd. She also shared the band's excitement to be a part of the small but mighty lineup, expressing her admiration of that night's headliner, The Flaming Lips. "If they're here, we would like to extend an invitation to the Olive Garden," Zauner said about Wayne Coyne and co before ending the set with an explosive, high energy jam with her band. 


The Psychedelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnymen Evoked 80's Nostalgia

After Japanese Breakfast's set, the lineup turned back to the era of The Breakfast Club, with back to back sets from post punk bands The Psychedelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnymen. The Psychedelic Furs kicked off the nostalgic streak, attracting zealous fans to the front rows to chant frontman Richard Butler's name just before they took the stage. Their set had fans from all generations singing along to the hits like "Pretty in Pink" and "Love My Way," and the band sounded as tight as ever. Butler's signature vocals remained strong throughout the whole set, and the band's saxophone player added some spice to the songs. Echo & The Bunnymen kept the post punk train rolling during their set, frontman Ian McCulloch also sounding great as the band played through their hits. Again, fans from all different generations flocked to see the iconic group, one fan in the front even donning a Donnie Darko mask as a nod to the band's song "The Killing Moon" being featured on the film's soundtrack. 


The Flaming Lips Covered MGMT 

While the weather forecast showed a chance of storms all weekend, the rain managed to hold off most of Saturday. Despite the clear skies on day two, the muddy grounds and disappointment of headliner MGMT's cancelled set lingered in the air and reminded the festival goers of the previous night's storm. The festival staff offered some perks, like free Saturday entry for Friday ticket holders, to lessen that sting, but The Flaming Lips were the ultimate festival heroes when they covered MGMT's song "Kids" at the beginning of their set. Lead singer Wayne Coyne set up the cover saying that the cancellation from the rain was obviously no one's fault, and MGMT had left him a note in the green room. The "note" ended up being lyrics to "Kids," which Coyne began reading slowly, before the band pitched in with the melody and Coyne began singing. The cover came after the group had opened their set with "Race For The Prize," which they paired with a confetti cannon, giant balloons, and lots of fog. The theatrics continued nonstop for the entire show; the bright lights and colorful props lifting the spirits of everyone at the festival and ending the weekend on the most magical note. One of the absolute highlights of The Flaming Lips' production came towards the end of the set, when the band covered Bowie's "Space Oddity"; Coyne stepped inside of a giant bubble and floated along the top of the crowd during the performance. As Coyne said, the rain that had put a damper on Friday's headlining set was no one's fault, and the spectacular close of Saturday night outweighed the set backs. 


Check out more photos of the whole weekend below, featuring Whitney, Dr. Dog, Local Natives, Allah-Las, Japanese Breakfast, The Psychedelic Furs, Echo & The Bunnymen, and The Flaming Lips. 

Bellwether returns next year on August 9th and 10th. Get more details here

PHOTOS: Mamby On The Beach Saturday Highlights

We got to attend the beautiful Mamby on the Beach Festival 2017 with our pals at JBTV. Check out the highlights of Day 1, featuring SHAED, Phoebe Ryan, Raury, Local Natives, and well as the stunning atmosphere and friendly people at the fest! 

You can view these photos on JBTV's Facebook Page as well!

Hangout Highlights Day 1

This past Friday afternoon, music fans flocked to The Hangout in Gulf Shores, Alabama for a stacked and diverse line up, filled with rookie and veteran musicians of different genres. In addition to the endless options of acts choose from, the festival also offers some unique activities and plenty of chill-out spots to offer their attendees an oasis from the blazing Alabama sun. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at all the other experiences that Hangout Fest has to offer (like their puppy kissing booth and wedding chapel), but for now tune in to find out about Friday's music highlights.

Joseph Woke Us Up With Harmonies

Joseph took the stage at 1:30 PM on Friday, right in the wee hours of the afternoon, as the crowd slowly trickled into the festival grounds to get acquainted with the lay of the land and the hidden gems of the festival. The Portland, Oregon-based Joseph immediately drew in the eager crowd with their tantalizing harmonies.  The fact that the band consists of three sisters definitely plays a hand in the way that their vocals mesh so well, but besides the harmonies, all three sisters gave a stellar vocal performance. Their boundless talent impressed the early afternoon crowd to say the least.

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Mac DeMarco Ripped His Shirt Off With His Bare Hands

Known to never disappoint with his live performances, Mac DeMarco warmed up the festival crowd for the nighttime sets with some of his familiar antics. After his trademark move of smoking cigarettes while performing multiple songs, DeMarco closed out his incredible set by stage diving during the last song, "Still Together."  To top that epic moment, when he returned to the stage, he ripped off his own shirt with his bare hands, finishing the song sans shirt. Oh, and his drummer played the whole set in his underwear. 

PS. Check out our Instagram story for a video of the stage dive. 

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Barns Courtney Hosted a Sweaty Sing Along

Singer-songwriter Barns Courtney drew an eager and friendly crowd during his evening set at the BMI Stage, which happened to be clashing with MGMT. During his popular tune "Glitter & Gold" Courtney got the receptive crowd to sing the chorus back to him. The track came a few songs into his set, and after exerting his energy in the humid Alabama temperatures, Courtney took a tune-and-talk break, telling the crowd "I'm a sweaty little bitch." If you've ever been to a Barns Courtney show, you know you can expect some laughs betweens songs.

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Sharks Invaded MGMT's Set

As the sun began to set during MGMT's viral hit "Electric Feel," at least a dozen blowup sharks were released into the crowd at the Hangout Stage. The crowd had already been exuding positive vibes during the set, but the energy skyrocketed during this surprise addition to MGMT's show. The additional fun fit right in with the vibes of this beach festival.

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Weezer Played Hit After Hit While Rivers Cuomo Rocked a Bucket Hat

A few songs into Weezer's nighttime set, I overheard a fellow festival-goer exclaim that Weezer was the best set of the day, and I'd have to agree. The music vets took the stage with an air of rock and roll poise that comes from years and years of making and performing music. In addition to the sense of ease and comfort that flowed between the band members, their set consisted of hit after hit, the crowd singing along to nearly every word from their opening song "Hash Pipe" to their final song, "Buddy Holly." Oh, and lead singer Rivers Cuomo totally rocked a bucket hat while delivering every hit. 

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Phoenix Filled In For Frank

Night one concluded with Phoenix delivering an incredible comeback set in support of their first album since 2013. Their appearance at the festival came as last minute addition when Frank Ocean dropped out of his headline slot a week prior to the festival, citing production delays. Phoenix's energetic and fun-filled show contained a mix of older and new songs that kept the crowd moving, almost making up for the pain of Frank dropping out. 

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival


Stay tuned for highlights of Day Two, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for live updates!

MGMT, Local Natives, Misterwives, Walk The Moon and Flying Lotus to Play Mamby on the Beach

Returning for a third year, Chicago's very own Mamby on the Beach is back with a stellar line up for 2017! In case you missed it, the festival officially announced yesterday that headlining acts include MGMT and Walk The Moon. The two-day festival also features countless other acts, like Miike Snow, Marian Hill, Phoebe Ryan, Thundercat, and Misterwives. We're personally most excited for Raury, Local Natives, and MUNA, but you can check out the entire line up below.

Tickets range from $62.50-$99.50 for single day and $112-$169.99, with General Admission and VIP options available. 

P.S. Last year, Chance the Rapper showed up at Mamby, so you never know what surprises might happen this year. Get your tickets now, before it's too late!