Musikfest, Day 2: A Perfect Saturday

Overnight rainfall Friday into Saturday meant that temperatures cooled off from opening night, setting up for an absolutely perfect Saturday afternoon with a breeze and temperatures in the upper 70s. Now that, my friends, is great ‘Festing weather.

I didn’t get out until a bit later in the afternoon but, by 5:30, I found myself squarely in front of New York alt-Americana band Evening Darling, who I was looking forward to seeing after doing a little Q&A with them last week. They were as good as I expected, with folk sensibilities and heartfelt lyrics that shine through their music’s well-crafted pop rock exterior.

From there, I started down from Liederplatz toward Plaza Tropical, where I was looking forward to hearing the R&B-infused stylings of JuTaun. However, I encountered The Tillers, a bluegrass band from Cincinnati, on the way down. They looked like they were having a ball, so I stopped by for a few photos.

Then, it was on to JuTaun who, as expected, blew the roof off of Plaza Tropical. Their technical mastery, versatility, soul, and harmonies blend into a sound that is just as much Motown as it is alt-rock, and it earned this group of talented young men a well-deserved standing ovation.

Afterwards, it was back to the new Yuengling Lagerplatz, where an acoustic rendition of Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem” let me know that I was within earshot of Philly pop punks, Above the Mendoza, who were playing to a full tent who had gathered around to hear their stripped-down, but high-energy set.

It was at this point that I realized that our coverage so far was missing a very important, long-standing Musikfest tradition: polka. Fortunately, the Austrian Boys Band was over at Festplatz to the delight of ‘Festers young and old. What was particularly interesting was the band’s willingness to step outside of the box; briefly venturing away from traditional polka to break into genre-friendly covers of everything from Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme.

After that, I found myself in need of two things: food and a phone charge. So, I quickly marched to get myself a Mexican sundae cup and went over to the Wells Fargo charging station to give my phone enough juice. Once I was done, I ventured briefly off the official festival grounds to The Wooden Match, where Another Day Dawns was rocking the place as only they can. Frontman Dakota McGeehan seemed to love every minute of the performance, during which it seemed as though he shared a pulse with the venue’s high octane crowd.

Before heading home to edit photos and prepare for Sunday — and by that, I mean “succumb to sleep before I could do any of that,” I stopped by Plaza Tropical once more for a glimpse of world-renowned Bulgarian violinist, Svet. Svet played electric violin interpretations alongside popular music hits of today and yesterday, mixed in with a message of positivity (while I was there, he dedicated a rendition of “I Will Survive” to the cancer survivors in the audience which, on a personal note, won me over).

Now, it’s on to Day 3. As always, keep an eye on LVU, because there is much, much more in store from Musikfest!

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