Headstash's THE BIG UP Review Guide
- By Holly O'Connor and Nick Rhodes
- Published on August 02, 2011
July 28-30 – Sunnyview Farm – Ghent, NY
2nd year – Estimated attendance: 5,000
2011 Lineup: EOTO, Big Gigantic, Marco Benevento, Higher Organix (3 nights), Digital Tape Machine feat. Joel Cummins and Kris Myers of Umphrey's McGee, Abakus, Papadosio, The Polish Ambassador, Orchard Lounge, Ott, The Breakfast, Indobox, Kung Fu, Jimkata
Festival Website: http://www.thebigup.com/
The weather was gorgeous in the afternoons and a bit brisk at night making for a really comfortable festival experience. It did downpour for a few hours on Friday night but stopped right before Big Gigantic's set and held up the rest of the weekend. The ground was a little muddy that evening, but the heat dried everything up and it wasn't a problem at all. Festival season weather has been nearly perfect all year. We've been pretty lucky.
Holly O'Connor's Five Highlights
The Indobox. They played an upbeat set that got the crowd really excited. Their cover of MGMT’s “Kids” was endearing and though the crowd was small at first, it filled in quickly after they started playing. There were many hula hoopers and fire dancers prancing around as well, adding to the fun atmosphere.
|Photo Credit: Holly O'Connor|
Auto Orbit. Boston locals Auto Orbit have been tearing it up lately and The Big Up was no exception. They debuted a song called “EDSM” and covered David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” with all the feeling that song deserves. Their set at The Big Up was possibly the tightest I have heard them play to date
Big Gigantic. Their set was highly anticipated and did not disappoint. While sometimes I think dubstep can get repetitive, their unique style allowed them to develop into something much more and produce electronic music like nothing I’ve heard before. With so much electronic music today, it’s hard to find bands that are completely unique and these guys definitely are.
Speakerbot. New Jersey’s own Speakerbot spun one of the very last sets of the festival on Sunday morning and brought many different styles to the worn out crowd. Playing a mix of funk and disco remixes and even some original tracks, Speakerbot was able to impress fans both old and new.
Nick Rhodes' Five Highlights
Papadosio. Just one week before Rootwire, the band's own four-day festival, I wouldn't have been surprised if the livetronica quintet played a more subdued set with a lot on their mind. But the Ohio guys delivered with a raging performance that really started off the late-nights at the festival in the right way. Dueling keyboards, dueling guitars and pulsating bass and drums punctuated the memorable set where Papadosio held nothing back. Can't wait to see what they have up their sleeve next week.
Big Gigantic. I've seen Big Gigantic a lot of times, and this set was unlike I've ever seen them before. They used creative segues and transitions and were more exploratory than other sets this summer. Often, these guys get a short, late-night set or afternoon set and they always shine. But in this rare headlining, hour-and-a-half set, they really stole the festival with new remixes and all their fan-favorites in a slightly different way. And the fact that it rained for exactly 20 seconds RIGHT at the biggest drop in one of their songs was a magical moment.
|Papadosio - Photo Credit: Nick Rhodes|
Abakus. Spooky, ethereal and arguably the best set of the weekend. He played for over two hours, cutting into other artists' time, but people were eating it up. The music was enthralling and he commanded the crowd with a wry smile and no major demonstrative movements. It was a dark set, but one that everyone relished in.
Late-night Barn Stage. The Big Up did their late-night shows right. The barn area was small and intimate, but never got too sweltering due to the cool night air. And if you couldn't fit inside, which wasn't an impossibility, there were awesome projection animations on the side of the barn as well as a live video of the artist on stage. And there were some speakers on the outside as well enhancing the sound. It made for a really comfortable experience and didn't mean you had to get there early for a good spot or fight your way to a cramped place.
Holly: The overall experience at Sunnyview Farm was beyond amazing. The one lowlight was probably having to worry about bugs, especially ticks.
Horror stories of lime disease from last year were constantly in the back of my head and forced me to check myself in somewhat of a paranoid fashion all weekend. Luckily none were found, but I did see a spider the size of a bowling ball on Sunday morning. Ew.
Nick: At times, like during Big Gigantic, the crowd was a bit tame. By Saturday, though, the place had filled up and people started to really get down. This festival was immaculately organized though so no complaints.
Rogue Chimp. Friday night on the woods staged, we wandered up to find a very refreshing band called Rogue Chimp. Their mix of violin, bass, keys and guitar was a wonderful change of pace and seemed to be well received by almost everyone present. Cannot wait to see these guys again.
Normal Instruments. This super group made up of members from The Indobox and Higher Organix displayed some of the best jamming all weekend. Being that they are all-improvisational, Normal Instruments goes with the flow and it worked at The Big Up.
Papadosio. This was by far one of the best sets of the weekend. Papdosio has gained a lot of popularity lately and their set at The Big Up showed why. Their beats were not repetitive and seamlessly changed from melodic to hardcore.
Nick Rhodes' Three Surprises
Rogue Chimp. Like Holly said, we wandered up to the Woods Stage not knowing what to expect and were blown away. It was by far the tightest set of the weekend. The intertwined all kinds of songs and segments including the orchestral "Lux Aeterna" theme from "Requiem For A Dream." It was an all-around great set.
Woods Stage. It was decorated beautifully and had some of the best acts of the weekend on it. It was relaxed, easy to see and exactly what side stages at festivals should be. Every time I wanted to chill out in the shade, I hit the Woods Stage and was constantly surprised by the great acts. Really well-done booking the smaller talent.
Festival Organization. Every detail was meticulously planned out – something I wasn't expecting for a second year festival. The art installations were subtle and really, really cool. Everything ran pretty smoothly and I expect big things from The Big Up in years to come with the passionate and skilled team they have behind them.
There was a strong sense of community at The Big Up among fans, volunteers and artists alike. I don’t think there was one band that didn’t express their excitement for the festival multiple times during their set and the same goes for attendees.
There were barely any bad vibes and it seemed as though all present were there for one goal: to have a great time. Recycling and overall “green” activities were encouraged in unique ways.
The crowd was really young but didn’t go too crazy like can often be the case.
“Yeah, Orchard Lounge!” - Random fan
"This is Speakerbot playing right now." – Holly O'Connor
"Yeah, Speakerbot!" - An exchange between one Speakerbot fan and one confused attendee late on Saturday night
“Wanna go halves on a baby?” – A leering guy to a gorgeous girl hula hooping from afar.
"When the wind blows, I can smell myself." – A particularly dirty festivalgoer
Check out links to all our coverage of The Big Up in our 2011 Festival Guide.
What did you think of The Big Up 2011? Highlights, lowlights and surprises. Let us know in the comments below.