I love Lawrence. I love live music. I love the quirky, rambunctious events Lawrence puts together. So this should come as no surprise: I am excited to bring you this post all about Field Day Fest, Lawrence’s own three day, local live musical festival. Field Day Fest is awesome for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s local. I am all about supporting the people that surround you, be it at the Farmer’s Market or a pop-up waffle spot. What better way to strengthen the community and build relationships than to rage next to your neighbor? Or enjoy quietly. Either way. Field Day Fest is also a great way to enjoy a music festival without having to pay hundreds of dollars in tickets and airfare. A three day pass is only $15- a true bargain for the more than 60 artists you’ll have access to. Not to mention, this is high quality stuff you’re seeing here. Cameron Hawk, one of the musical minds behind the Fest, writes on the event’s website that he thought Lawrence’s “multi-faceted and high quality” music scene deserved to be recognized by the whole community year-round, not just by college students when school is in session. Hawk and a number of his fellow musician friends decided to spice up the slow summer season and create an event that showcased the diverse talent Lawrence had to offer. As the website says, people like to have fun, and Field Day Fest “is really just another good chance for people who live around here to enjoy themselves the way they like to – with great music and cheap beer.”
What started as a collaboration between friends has turned into an annual event that brings in over sixty local artists to the many venues that downtown Lawrence has to offer. The Bottleneck, Replay Lounge, Jackpot and Taproom will all be hosting shows throughout the festival, with Love Garden and Greenhouse Culture tentatively slated to host as well. The festival runs Thursday through Saturday with a pre-party at the Bottleneck Wednesday night. There are at least three shows at each venue every night, starting as early as 5:00pm with the closer on as late as 12:30pm. For a novice, this impressive line-up could be daunting.
“The best way to schedule your time at Field Day, first and foremost, is to prepare to do some walking,” Hawk says. One of his favorite parts of the fest is hopping from venue to venue and getting to see just how much fun everyone is having. He recommends that you buy a 3-day wristband so you have access to all the shows-and at only $15, it does seem to be no downside. If you are the kind of person that likes to go where the wind takes you, then wandering between venues could serve you well. You can serendipitously discover new artists and great atmospheres, and create free-spirited memories. If you’re serious about seeing certain artists, or getting the very most bang for your buck, I would suggest getting a game plan so that you don’t miss anyone. Arguably the toughest choice will be who to commit to Saturday night- Louiz Rip, Vigil and Thieves and Vibralux at Jackpot, or Red Kate, Truck Stop Love, and Stiff Middle Fingers.
Over at the Jackpot we have a very, very diverse ending to the night. Louiz Rip is a rapper and “member of Kansas City’s veteran hip hop the Soul Servers.” Vigil and Thieves are an “indie alternative quartet”-their sound is reminiscent of Evanesence or Paramore, but lighter and sweeter. Their songs have been “compared to live poetry.” On the flip side, Vibralux’s sound description is “loud, bitchy rock and roll.” This group draws influence from the “glam-glitter era of the early 1970’s” while also pulling from “the showy rock styles from the 1980’s.”
Meanwhile, the Bottleneck will be offering rock of all degrees. Red Kate is a punk rock band who’s “sound tips a cap to the beer soaked barroom floors of the 70s British Pub-Rock scene and the modern blue-punk sound.” I think that is really all you need to know. Truck Stop Love is an alt/indie rock band from Manhattan, Kansas, and Stiff Middle Fingers call themselves old school punk rock. Whatever your flavor, chances are there will be a venue with a band that will speak to you. And even if you don’t have any plans at all, just getting out and supporting local musicians and community is really what the festival is all about.
“Lawrence is a place where people will rally behind you if they really believe you’re passionate about something,” said Hawk. “It’s a great place to be a musician, songwriter, artist, and it’s a great place to be a music fan- a fantastic place to be both.”Learn more>
Kate is a recent KU graduate and perpetual lover of words, details, and Jayhawk basketball. She is using her English degree to write both creatively and strategically. You can find more of her work on her blog, A Story By Me.