Hey all! Today we have a post from 1st year MSTP, Graham Cochrane, talking about his experience with Sloss Music and Arts Festival (aka Slossfest). The festival is Birmingham’s first of its kind, and definitely did not leave music/arts/fun-lovers wanting. Several MSTPs sprinkled the crowd of 25,000 that spent the weekend listening to established and up-and-coming bands and exploring a part of Birmingham culture at the historic Sloss Furnaces. For more information go here and start counting down to Slossfest 2016. Don’t miss photos at the end of the post to ramp up your excitement, courtesy of Hayden Pacl.
Take over ninety-degree weather, thousands of people covered in dust, iron-pouring exhibits, and add in the likes of Tyler the Creator and folk stars, The Avett Brothers, and what do you get? One of the greatest inaugural music festivals (ok, the only inaugural music festival) this first year MSTP has ever attended. Sloss Music and Arts Festival 2015 (referred to as Slossfest) came in with a great lineup and a lot to prove to solidify Birmingham has what it takes to be a live music destination for years to come— and to all of us who attended it proved just that. The two day event took place under the gaze of historic Sloss Furnace downtown, where I’m told a terrifying haunted house takes place in the fall. Luckily we saw no ghosts, only great performances. Some big names headlined night sets including Modest Mouse, Cage the Elephant (always outstanding live if you get a chance to see them—one of my favorites), and the aforementioned Avett Brothers. Other shows like First Aid Kit, Band of Horses, Sturgill Simpson, Lord Huron, and Young the Giant were not to be missed; the entire festival moved between two stages known as Blast and Steam (furnace jokes! Nice!) all day so each band got your undivided attention. In addition, a third stage, Shed- played in an actual shed- was set up for some more peculiar acts in comparison to the rest of the lineup like Tyler the Creator and Purity Ring. Both drew respectable crowds of their own, overflowing the shed, really highlighting the diversity of music interests around the area. Birmingham natives, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, played an absolutely spectacular list as the sun set on the final day of the festival, and definitely drew the largest and most excited crowd of the whole festival. As a misplaced northerner down here in Alabama who had never heard of those guys, I was glad I was convinced by my fellow Mud-Phuds (a fond nickname for Md-PhDs) to get to that show. Hopefully the great response towards Slossfest’s inaugural event will have this festival coming year after year. With new friends, hammocks, and lots and lots of water, it was not a weekend you could beat.
-Graham Cochrane, MS1