Thank god for music. And friends. And Festival Palomino moving its location from the suburbs to Minneapolis.
That last bit is not a complete reflection of how I felt the site worked for the festival but more so for my own sanity on this particular day when I needed to be in my element with my people.
⌊ the re-cap ⌉
I hopped into a Lyft, chatted up a very confused driver who thought leading him to Hall’s Island was a mistake (“You sure you’ve got the date right?” YEAH, KEN – I GOT THIS. EYES ON THE ROAD.), bought a ticket off a mom whose daughter couldn’t make it for less than I would have paid at the box office because, uh, oh yeah, I had forgotten to purchase one in advance, went through the gates and almost immediately fell into a friend’s much-needed hug.
This was my second time at Festival Palomino and the festival’s third ever. When the pre-sale was announced last year, I was unmoved to purchase tickets because I didn’t know if the previous lineup was a fluke as far as being my taste (Father John Misty, Benjamin Booker, Laura Marling and my first opportunity to see Trampled By Turtles). Then the lineup was announced and I likely shrugged and went “meh” because hello I completely even forgot to buy a ticket.
While this year’s lineup included more than double the number of bands than last year, I felt it was slightly diluted, although performances were strong overall. The third stage gave smaller acts some great exposure with its placement by food/beer stands, but its sound competed too much with the main stages. At one point where I was standing, I could hear both John Mark Nelson on the third stage and also The Cactus Blossoms across the field very clearly over each other. Later on, I noticed sound bleeding over from the third stage even while bands were playing on a main stage.
One of my favorite parts of multi-stage festival is the lack of downtime in between sets. That only lasted for so long here, where we ended up waiting 25 minutes past go-time for Andrew Bird to walk on stage even though the sound-check and stage set-up had been completed. I saw on Twitter that this was done to off-set the competing sounds which it may have solved but at the cost of achy feet and an annoyance that they couldn’t have anticipated this would happen when they moved locations and before set times were announced. I’m not even convinced this set up would have completely worked at Canterbury Park either.
Despite those issues, the music made up for the logistics. I caught more sets than I originally intended: heard a bit of John Mark Nelson while grabbing a beer, met a friend at the rail for The Cactus Blossoms, bopped over to the other stage for Margaret Glaspy, bopped back to the rail again for Frightened Rabbit, walked to the third stage for Frankie Lee, listened to Jake Bugg while waiting for Andrew Bird, saw The Arcs after him and, uh…
…after waiting another egregiously long time for a set that was supposed to have started more than an hour before, I left! That’s right. I heard the first few bars to whatever song Trampled By Turtles started playing as I walked away from Hall’s Island. Oh, what a feelin’. Again, more so a reflection of my own mental exhaustion and achy-nearly-30-year-old-feet than a comment on their music. I like ’em just fine. And, overall, I am glad organizers were able to use the available city space to the best of their abilities and attempted to make changes throughout to maintain the integrity of each band’s set. I would always rather be in Minneapolis.
⌊ quick thoughts ⌉
» Is TBT always going to be the headliner here? I understand it’s their festival but without new music to incorporate, I could see it getting stale for anyone who isn’t a rabid fan (*raises hand*) but I suppose it also keeps the most amount of people on the grounds until the last set.
» Food options were at an all-time low. They were likely similar to last year’s selection (hot dogs, burgers, pizza) – but what about bringing in local food trucks like we so often see at similar events (even the Shakey Graves/Dr. Dog show at Surly)? I felt for my gluten-intolerant friend who had an extremely difficult time finding a lunch option, which ended up being a sandwich sans-bun. It ain’t right.
» The water spouts at the water station were kind of ridiculous and nearly impossible to use and didn’t even allow me to fill up a water bottle all the way. It wasn’t as warm as Rock the Garden or Eaux Claires, but the sun was a-blazin’ throughout a lot of the afternoon so a second location to fill up woulda been nice.
» I found out that I like a man in a good bolo tie.
» A reminder to myself that it’s good practice to check out at least one or two bands you haven’t listened to before at a festival. Frankie Lee and The Arcs were mine this time.
» Dan Auerbach is short and if you’re far away you might think he’s on his knees shreddin’ like a rock star but no he is standing.
» You can tell that the “PALOMINO” sign means well but is so not even as close to as cool as the Eaux Claires installation.
» Friends, music and fall-like weather heal all.
⌊ the photos ⌉