By Croix Provence
Sweetwater 420 Fest was the first festival of 2015 to graciously open their doors to me on Sunday, April 19. For the sake of it being the last day of the festival, and in the name of the holiday, every band, staff member, and attendee celebrated like it was 420; needless to say, it made the day very interesting. Having attended the day prior as a paid guest, I believe it is the first time in my person festival history that more people attended on a Sunday than a Saturday.
For three days of general admission, tickets only cost around $80 after tax. For the bands you got to see, not bad at all. Single day tickets were just under $50 after tax, so that was still a pretty solid price for the lineup.
Solid lineup! In my write-up of Sweetwater 420 Fest’s lineup release, they received a Sweet (4.0 / 5.0) on the Croix Scale, which was damn good footing for this festival. If you need a quick reminder, the roster included Snoop Dogg, 311, Thievery Corporation, Primus, Cage The Elephant, Slightly Stoopid, Moe., Gov’t Mule, Beats Antique, The Wailers, Aer, Big Data, The Floozies, Anders Osborne, The Revivalists, and more! Each day had great musicians, so no one day seemed to outweigh the other.
Honestly, even when arriving at the starting hour of the day, traffic was super easy to deal with for a major city area that was bombarded with thousands of festival-goers. I paid for a $10 reserved parking spot online the day before, and just rolled in to my spot with no hassle. Thanks, internet! We did it!
Like, none. They “looked” through people’s bags, sure. But the average Joe could have waltzed in with the proper tools to celebrate the holiday; it would appear that many did. The Atmosphere Set in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, GA, this festival had an inevitable urban feel to it while also offering the mud and shenanigans of a campout fest. ALL of the mud. So much mud, in fact, that shoes, collectible 420 steins, purses, and other weird things were abandoned all day long by fest-goers who gave up on carrying them, or those who lost a fight with gravity. For a campout fest regular, mud was expected (I was barefoot, athankyou), but for those in Atlanta who had never been to fests before, it’s safe to say that they probably regretted wearing their new sneakers and jeans out.
Sweetwater had a very low-key feel to it. Not super colorful and creative, yet not boring and drab. Just a nice chill festival that did what it was supposed to do: entertain you. The massive stages had pretty sweet tie-dye banners, but as far as crazy decorations or something that really visually set it apart, that was it.
Allow me to use the three best words ever: food truck gathering. There was an entire alley of food trucks that you could peruse (featuring everything from bento to barbeque), as well as your staple festival booths with pizza and tacos. The booth that stole my heart all day was Mac The Cheese, owned by the lovely Bo.
Bathrooms in convenient places. Bathrooms with muddled lines. Bathrooms with so much mud in the base of them that you almost slip on the way in and nearly fall in to a toilet. Bathrooms, though, that did always have toilet paper. Amen.
Those who did reach out to speak, and those who were receptive to hanging out, were great! I had a hard time finding people that I felt comfortable talking to, though. Lots of people were with their own groups, and it felt like a bit of a closed off crowd. Once everyone was drunk or “other”, though, everybody was your best friend! Not to say this crowd was mean or douchey or anything… just not the most open or receptive. Still found some nice ones, though! This lovely Mariella and her boyfriend rocked out with me at a few different concerts:
And Larry and Chad jumped in for a picture before we swapped some words and enjoyed a brief conversation with eachother:
Good times… good times.
Getting a good spot at any concert was not difficult. This has literally been the easiest sneak-through-the-crowd festival I’ve ever been to. There was no resistance! I would slip through the mud trying to slowly work my way to the front of each show, and people just kind of… let you through. There were such large gaps in the crowd to begin with due to slopes, excess mud, and people who were fearful for their personal space that, again, it was too easy. Each stage’s sound levels were near perfect, so being up front didn’t reduce my show to bass and pain. Really amazing lighting work on the main stage and the second stage created a great mood for each concert. Each artist had as much energy and verve as the next!
As it stands, on the Croix scale from Bad to Bad-Ass, Sweetwater 2015 stacks up as follows:
[CROIX SCALE GRAPHIC]
Price – Bad-Ass!
Lineup – Sweet
Traffic – Sweet
Security – Bad-Ass!
Atmosphere – Good
Potties – Good
Food – Cool
People – Good
Shows – Sweet
Overall – Cool
From the chow to the music to the layout to the atmosphere, Sweetwater 420 Fest offered a pretty good time for a three-day urban festival. A little more color and uniqueness, perhaps a cool new gimmick, would move it further past other festivals in the same vein. Maybe next year Sweetwater will grow bigger and bolder! Maybe somehow they can get an even better lineup, which is pretty hard when you’re rocking Snoop Dogg, 311, Primus, Thievery Corporation, and then some. A whole lot of maybes that Sweetwater will have answers for in 2016, but until then: thanks for a cool 2015 experience!
Croix Provence, abridged: Singer. Actress. Model. Dork. Snack enthusiast. Freelance writer. Music lover. Comic Con freak. Adrenaline junkie. Short sentence sorcerer. Follow @CroixProvence on Twitter and Instagram, and like Croix Provence on Facebook.