Loufest ’12: Great for music, great for city

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Despite some slow acts and rain, LouFest 2012 proves a successful tradition that continues to be a presence in the music world and within the city of St. Louis.

The end of August means something different for everyone:  seeing old friends again, getting back into the grind of classes, enjoying the last good meals until Thanksgiving. But for the city of St. Louis, it means one last hurrah at the annual LouFest Music Festival in Forest Park.

To celebrate LouFest’s third birthday thousands of festival goers converged at Forest Park last Saturday and Sunday. The festival featured two main stages for the 16 major artists of the indie and alternative music genres, as well as a smaller stage for local bands. The size of the festival—no longer than a football field— and the several local restaurant and retail tents that were present at the festival gave the weekend a more intimate, “street fest” feel.

Saturday’s stages hosted eight bands, many of which haven’t yet attained large commercial attraction, however, all were guaranteed to rock and roll. Though the sun was intense, so were the tunes, led by the eardrum bursting set of alternative rock legends, Dinosaur Jr. and the night’s main event, Girl Talk. It was a satisfying Saturday for committed fans, but others who have never heard of the featured bands may have found it difficult to appreciate the eclectic music mix.

Whatever Saturday may have lacked in name power and raw “rockability,” Sunday made up for, giving the eagerly awaiting crowd a day to remember. Bands kicked off the day at 1p.m. and didn’t stop until 11 p.m.

THEESatisfaction, a hip-hop, soul duo highlighted the start to the afternoon, taking the stage at 2p.m. Missouri natives Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin took the stage next and delivered one of the weekend’s best sets. Following was Wild Nothing, an indie pop band with a serious ‘80s sound, who played along to the crowd’s singing.

At 5 p.m., 2011 hit makers and acclaimed artists Cults took listeners on a ride through a world of doo-wop mixed with indie rock. Dawes, one of Sunday’s “big 3,” played next, with a set list of songs inspired by Neil Young and featuring storytelling comparable to Bob Dylan.

Unfortunately, the rain that had loomed it decided to strike about twenty minutes into Dawes’ set, just as the band reached a comfortable level with the crowd. Dawe’s set was canceled by the downpour and the rest of the night’s lineup was postponed.

Despite the rain, the spirit of the festival was recaptured with alternative rockers Dr. Dog’s enlivening set. Then, soaking wet, sunburned and exhausted, the crowd geared up for this year’s headliners, The Flaming Lips.

Wayne Coyne, lead singer of The Flaming Lips, grabbed the microphone and began the night’s celebration of victory over the rain. The band played for two hours full of imagination and color, with confetti cannons, a human hamster ball and even a giant dancing catfish on stage. Reawakened and re-energized, LouFest closed with The Flaming Lips’ farewell song “Do You Realize?”

In the past, LouFest has included a similar league of extraordinary artists. Founded in St. Louis in 2010 as an answer to the demand for a stronger music scene in the city, the festival has featured acts such as Broken Social Scene, She & Him, TV on the Radio, Cat Power, Surfer Blood, and Questlove. Festival attendees hope to see the strong continued presence of LouFest in St. Louis for years to come.