Counterpoint Music Festival 2012: Trappin’ In The Georgia Mountains
There is no shortage of music festivals these days. Seems like every five hours, another danceathon jamfest is birthed into the ever-crowded world. So if you’re going to put yourself out there, you better bring some serious shit to the table.
Counterpoint Music and Art Festival took the challenge and met it with the kind of gusto and enthusiastic positivity you need to make it in this business – plus they gave the press all the free Barcardi malt beverages we could stomach, so we stayed pretty happy.
Seriously though, the line-up of acts was amazing, the art installations were ever-evolving, the security was exactly what you’d want as a festival-goer, and the partiers were friendly from gate opening to closing. Camp wasn’t even that messy, and if you’ve ever been to a sleep-away festival, you know that’s saying a lot.
Look, nothing is without its hitches. Getting to the place was easy enough, but there were some snags when everyone got their credentials, into the camping area, etc. Thankfully, everything was handled for ourselves without a hitch, and we made our way into the west camping site no problem.
It had been an exhausting drive for us from Gainesville, Fla., but some campers made their way all the way from south Florida, Jersey, Illinois. The ground was dry and the sun was shining through a clear blue sky as cars piled in, speakers blasted and joyful faces met with friends, chugging ice-cold beers from the nearest Publix and Walmart.
You had to have stocked up, because there was no returning once you left campgrounds – well, not for your car. People are allowed to go wherever they please. It’s not fucking lock-down or anything.
Organizers wasted no time getting into the heavy headliners. Thursday served up a thick and juicy slab of fat beats, kicking off at 5 p.m. at the Beat and Backbeat tents. Unfortunately for this author, that meant I had time to drink too much (remember those free Bacardi beverages?) and passthefuck out in a lawn chair. But, we heard all about how Nobody Beats the Drum killed it, Adventure Club threw down a sick-ass set, Miami’s local ABDECAF brought some chill indie flavor, Beats Antique broadened horizons and raised blood-pressures, and Run DMT brought the motherfucking bass.
Then a saxophone pierced the air and roused us from our drunken slumber.
We rushed through the darkened grounds to catch the earth-shattering sounds of Big Gigantic. The place was tranformed into a raver paradise, kids glowing and bouncing in every direction, huddled around the public water station right next to the tent. Inside, everything became illuminated by the massive stage – and that’s when we heard it, the first time of many.
That thin 808 kick would haunt us for the rest of the festival – not something we were upset about in the least. Big Gigantic ran the fucking trap, amid their set of old favorites and brand-spankin’ new drops. It was a theme that would run a common thread through the whole weekend, a fitting common denominator for a festival so close to Atlanta.
After that, it was catching a bit of funky vibes from Up Until Now with David Murphy, and back to sleep off the Bacardi nightmare.
Friday was full of fun, with just the right amount of insanity. Shit kicked off bright and early at noon, though probably half the camps lulled back for hours cooking up camp sausages and gurgling beer like cereal. We ventured out to catch some Heroes and Villains, a sick-nasty local A-town trap outfit who got shoulders leanin with all the usual suspects. Tracks like “Mercy,” “I Don’t Like” and “Niggas in Paris” set the tone.
We went to catch Skrause at the Beat tent who brought another set of the most happening genre in the game, albeit his traphouse selection a little deeper and more underground. We were just getting down dirty to some “Roll Up” and “Underground Anthem” when the sky opened to swallow the whole earth and rain on our parade.
“Attention,” the speakers called from every direction. “The National Weather Service has alerted us of a potentially dangerous storm headed this way.” They told everyone to gtfo and get in their cars for the duration of the storm, and at the time, we lol’d because looking out, everything was sunshine and bowls full of gravy.
Of course, midway back to camp, the gods let loose the seal and soaked everything living to the bone. Tripping kids were forced to hold down their camps during the wildest storm adventure I’ve ever experienced in the wilderness. No hurricane force winds, but damn if some unprepared tents didn’t get totally owned.
Thankfully, the festie powers that be granted us a fast reprieve, and only an hour’s worth of sets were cancelled. Most unfortunately, M83′s equipment was wrecked, almost like a personal “fuck you” from Fate (see Ultra 2012 disaster), but our own must-see artist Theophilus London happily picked up the vacant Point Stage slot.
We got back into it with MiMOSA and Tokimonsta, followed by a massively orgasmic and energetic hour from personal favs Crystal Castles. No one can scream and writhe quite like the party phantom that is Alice Glass. 3LAU let smoke hurl and T. London kicked out the jams before we left the main stages behind for the sexy grooves coming from the Backbeat Tent and the Fool’s Gold Showcase.
In a sad turn of events, the place was near desolate when label cofounder Nick Catchdubs hit the decks. It’s hard to compete with Avicii, but we found it a little ridiculous. We’d have to say for the most part, the crowd at Counterpoint was feelin’ the mainstream acts the hardest, and this wouldn’t be the last empty tent for a great act.
Still, the vibe caught on soon enough, filling the tent through funky-ass sets from Oliver and Treasure Fingers. Oliver, a duo, gave one helluva performance, but Treasure Fingers dropped one of the most deliciously disco sets we’ve ever heard. It almost goes without saying that A-Trak closed out the night more than proper, doing everything in his near-unlimited power to prove Deadmau5 wrong: He is no mere button-pusher.
And thus, the final day of rage was upon us. The carpeted dust of floor (yeah, carpeted. Kind of genius) settled and dried in the night air, ready for the last procession of party stompers. We got our day started with a little psychedelic indie pop from Athens’ own Reptar. “We came all the way from Georgia,” the singer quipped into the mic.
Then, it was off to Paper Diamond, rockin steady behind his decks and bringing that master funk. In the Backbeat Tent, Mayhem brought some real trap shit to the beat freaks, all the while Toro Y Moi brought the pretty things to life on the Counterpoint stage.
Hark! Then the bass rained down from the sky like the apocalypse had finally come. American King of Dubstep 12th Planet converted the masses to his gold-chain swag. He dropped a heap of trap on the heads himself, and all that hip-hoppery got us in the mood for some Outkast.
So Big Boi was next, dropping all his hits from the duo and his solo career alike. It was a massive set of classics, followed by that new gangster shit from Wale. Meanwhile, Paul Basic was getting shit busy in the Pretty Lights Music Label showcase, followed quickly by epic funk-hop madness from SuperVision and Michael Menert, all the way to one of the hottest and funk-nastiest sets ever from the man Gramatik.
But wait wait, let’s take it back for a second. Cause you know, over at the Point stage, it wasn’t a big deal or anything. Just one-third of Swedish House Mafia getting the fuck down on the 1s and 2s. Steve Angello made the whole place bow down before him, and when he said jump, they didn’t even wait to ask “how high?”
Skrillex turned the bitch 360, bringing a dark cloud of bass over that rainbow sunshine prog house shit. He dropped it nasty on the kids right away, but even he couldn’t stay away from the biggest trap of all…
“Act like you’ve never heard this song before,” he joked as he dropped “Le7els,” followed of course by his infamous remix. Pretty Lights followed with a hard, organic set in front of the massive crowd, but we worked our way over to see the M Machine. We were sad to once again see a great act without any crowd to speak of, but happily, the numbers grew through their hour, ever slightly.
But before it was even over, we were already setlling ourselves for Ghostland Observatory. Now, on a personal note, I’ve been trying to see Ghostland for the past six year. No lie, something fucked up has happened every time I’ve had the chance (see Electric Forest 2012). But Counterpoint, this was my time, our moment to share together! And glorious it was, every bit worth the wait. The singer struts from side to side, every bit the living memory of Freddie Mercury, more than any hologram could render.
After that, Zedd threw down and hard and nasty set, or so I heard. I was pretty much done. Ghostland was the capping orgasm to my Counterpoint fuckfest. I’m still reeling from the madness. Definitely coming back to see it next year. Definitely telling all mah frends.
Definitely awesome shit.