We’re calling it. This is the best Lawrence Field Day Fest in the history of the event, and quite possibly the best local music event of the year.

A few months ago, the organizers set out on a mission: to organize a strictly local festival. But beyond that, they wanted the community to get involved, to truly care about this event. They put the call out, all hands on deck, and what resulted was a spectacular community celebration that was grown and loved by everyone involved.

Like the night before, Saturday’s festivities spanned across two different venues at opposite ends of the Downtown area. Patrons got a full workout sprinting from one show to the next in order to ingest as much music as possible.

The evening began with a delightfully brutal set from Gnarly Davidson on the floor of the Bottleneck. The show was equal parts puns and pure rock and roll. Meanwhile, the Jackpot indulged in synth-pop goodness from Vigil and Thieves before diving into a raunchy Quivers set. Pales Hearts (or is it Witch Jail?) bid Lawrence farewell with a spectacular performance from the band, and especially their energetic frontman.

The Bad Ideas, hot off a lengthy punk rock tour of the US, were definitely one of the highlights of the evening. The marathon shows they’ve been dishing out across the nation left them super charged and delivering the best show possible at the Bottleneck. We’ve never seen them on such a large stage, and they utilized every inch of it by flinging their bodies from one end to the other and rolling across the floor (even jumping off the stage at one point). It was bloody brilliant.

The Philistines don’t play Lawrence too often, so their Jackpot crowd was more than happy to party with them. The six-member band took up every bit of space on the stage, but there was still plenty of room for the guitarists to boogie and the vocalists to get down. If you feel like partying, this exciting blues-infused rock band with a classic sound is perfect for you.

Despite The Philistines begin a tough act to follow, CS Luxem (as always) completely captivated his crew at the Jackpot. His loyal fans were rewarded with loads of new music and an exciting yet intimate performance.

Contrary to their name, BUMMER is actually quite a thrilling band to experience (not just watch, but EXPERIENCE). For many in the audience, this was their first time seeing the hard rockers, and many were impressed and inspired by the young group.

Staying true to his love of all things horror, Josh Berwanger filled the Bottleneck stage with fog and a couple of terrifying props (including his longtime tour companion, Jar Jar Binks). The fog was so overwhelming that what the audience ended up actually watching were four dark, sleek silhouettes rocking out against a billowing blue background. It was fairly captivating.

Down the street, Red Kate was roughing up the Jackpot good and proper with their dynamic brand of punk rock. The frontman’s tall stature and menacing stance make it hard to take your eyes off this performance, although we hardly see any reason why you’d want to look away anyway.

Cowboy Indian Bear played an emotional set, indulging their longtime fans in some of their more well-known songs.

But it was Stiff Middle Fingers who gave us the warm fuzzes when they closed out the night and the festival. Cameron Hawk is the orchestrator of this entire shindig, and he plays guitar in Stiff Middle Fingers. So you can imagine the overwhelming display of support and (more importantly) gratitude from the audience during this rowdy punk show. The audience threw down hard, but they also raised their beers in adoration… as if to give thanks for the unforgettable weekend that brought all spectrums of the scene together as one.

With so much support and collaboration from rockers, rappers, and everyone in between… Is it any wonder this may qualify as the local music event of the year?

For a recap of Friday night at the festival, click here.

For a look at what went down on Thursday night, click here.

Words and photos by Fally Afani



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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