This year's Cropped Out festival was certainly an event. The line up included a strong list of bands I had mostly never heard of. The festival made use of their space - a small country club called American Turner Hall. The space afforded them three different stages and enough space for three food vendors, an extensive merch area, including a spot for Astro Black Records, as well as some artisan items and tattoos. Yes, actual tattoos.
Unlike larger festivals, the small space allotted a rotation of bands so that you only missed about five minutes of any act, if that. The three main stages, Turner Tavern, Sculley Alley, and Phreedom Hall, were adorned with hand-made artwork created mostly from sheets painted by local artists or sewn into faces, alien heads, and a giant man overseeing the crowd. Though perhaps not the "fanciest" artwork, it set a nice laidback mood, and accompanied the music well. In addition to the sheet art, there was a curious installation of televisions around the pool area.
The crowd enjoyed all the acts, crowding up and dancing right next to the musicians. Unlike other festivals I've attended, I didn't feel pressured to choose between events or acts, and the festival was very much set up around discovering and interacting with new music and musicians. Many of the musicians were roaming with the crowd, watching other acts, or talking to festival-goers at the merchandise booths.
If you missed it this year, be sure to keep up with Cropped Out's other shows and stay tuned for next year's fest at www.croppedoutmusic.com .
All photos taken by me.