LouFest, Snoozefest, and Snoopfest

LouFest is the traditional two-day music festival that brings local and established bands to Forest Park for St. Louisans to rock-out to while also having access to great local eateries. This tradition has been occurring annually since it was founded in 2010, having many well-known bands, such as the 1975, Hozier and the Killers. This year, though, LouFest was not prepared for the turnout it received on Saturday.

Volunteering behind the scenes for LouFest really showed how drastically unprepared its coordinators  were for the first sold-out day. Another new challenge for LouFest was that where they usually hold the festival at in Forest Park was being renovated, forcing LouFest to relocate to the Muny grounds.This, being a smaller, more compact area, made it more difficult to deal with the crowds in a. It did not help that LouFest was dealing with its first sellout occasion on such tight grounds, causing more people to be squished into a concrete parking lot. The high-tech scanning system wasn’t working either, due to internet outages in forest park, which created a crazy jungle of people trying to get into an already crowded music festival.

Since I was able to work behind the scenes, I was also able to experience just how unorganized the event was. The coordinators did not let volunteers know anything or give them any training. We were barely any help to the general public because we were not properly informed about what was happening. LouFest offered kid scanning bracelets to help keep track of children at the festival, but they were not offered anywhere. They had random people using an information tent just to get out of the sun, and they ran out of pamphlets for the first day within two hours since opening their doors. All of this together, along with other little factors, piled up to make LouFest a disaster.

The only thing that was working for LouFest was their line-up for the day, featuring bands such as Hippo Campus, Spoon, Huey Lewis and the News, Cage the Elephant and Snoop Dog. The three stages, all positioned at a different corner, were all put in odd locations, two being on a hill–with one even having a giant concession stand in the middle of the hill that blocked the stage at many angles–and the other stage located on the concrete parking lot. Moshing at the musical festival in a parking lot for Cage the Elephant was not fun. even though Cage the Elephant put on a great show, they could not lift my spirits from the disappoint of how LouFest was going. I was beginning to wish I were home instead of at the festival that day just because of how underwhelmed I was by the effort put in by LouFest management.

The only thing that made the day better was Snoop Dogg. The crowd was huge, the hill was steep and the concession stand was slightly blocking my view, but once Snoop came on, the festival finally took a turn for the better. Snoop was able to energize the crowd in ways that no other performers were able to do that day. He commanded the stage with hits like “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, “California Gurls”, “Gin and Juice” and “Young, Wild, and Free”. Snoop turned what had been a pretty disappointing day into something that made everything else worth it.

I have attended LouFest before and had great experiences with it, but this year just did not seem to go as planned. Whether it was the new location, or if there were new supervisors who took it over, something needs to be changed for next year. I want to see LouFest build upon its mistakes from this year and make LouFest 2018 something that the people of St. Louis will love. It would be fantastic to see LouFest grow into a nationwide event, but to do that, LouFest must learn how to fix internal issues for next year.