JARED

Photo by Jarred Gastreich. PLEASE check out his epicness here.

Last weekend was Loufest here in St. Louis, and as Arctic Monkeys are my all time favorite band, it was imperative for me to go. I went on Saturday with the one day pass and arrived early in fear that I wouldn’t find a parking space later on in the day.

People were milling around towards the entrance of the festival in the beautiful Forest Park. There were golfers out on the course and you could hear music pulsating through the air.

It was kinda magical.

As I arrived, there were only a couple hundred people in the area sectioned off for the festival. The early bands playing were enthusiastic, trying to draw people to their stages while the sky drizzled rain. The smell of food wafted in the air where the line up of some of the best St. Louis restaurants had stations set up on the right side of the entrance. There was a large array of food that festival goers had a selection of: barbecue, gyros, Chinese, Mexican, ice cream, coffee, popcorn, etc. The list goes on and on. Sugarfire Barbecue was in attendance, and anyone who knows me, knows that their sauce and pulled pork is some of my favorite. However, I went against my gut reaction and headed towards the gyros.

I love gyros. I don’t know whether it’s the moments that I’ve eaten them that have been so good, which made the food taste just as great, or what it is, but gyros are my go-to food when it’s in my presence. The gyro that I had at Loufest was no different. Unfortunately for me, the thing was so messy and full, it instantly fell apart and all over my raincoat. The sauce went everywhere as well as the lamb, but those few bites that I managed to shove in my mouth were well worth the $6.

Many of the bands that were playing in the morning, I knew nothing about. Scandal. I haven’t been keeping up with researching new music, which was something I’ve always been fond of doing back in high school. It seems that lately, however, I’m more prone to trying to hang out with friends, when I’m not at school or work. The only time when new music is introduced to me is through people telling me to listen to a song, or through Spotify Radio.

One of the first bands that I saw was Washed Out at the Bud Light Stage. Their music fit the setting of the day. Very dreamy, a day that I haven’t experienced in a long time. When I’m listening to bands that I don’t know at festivals, I always tend to look at the crowds reaction. There were couples holding hands and swaying to the sounds. There were friends chatting and taking photos. Probably to upload to Instagram or Facebook later to claim what a wonderful time they were having. I watched as these very drunk men took Snapchats and yelled into their phone. People are very strange, I thought, as I stood under the heat of the sun watching blazed out teens making up dances in the grass.

By the time The 1975 started to play, the sun was out in full force and the crowds were starting to press in, making my claustrophobia flare up for an instance. (Yeah, I’m that weirdo who loves concerts, but hates being in large crowds of people. It can be an issue.) The lead singer, Matt Healy, had girls falling over themselves screaming as he released his lions mane from his pony tail. He really does have nice hair. The crowd was loud and dancing, fully engaged in the British band dressed all in black. I watched this boy to the side of me as he sprouted out in his Welsh accent, “bloody wankers” and proceeded to give them a V with his fingers. I watched him, laughing, with all these young girls screaming at Matt Healy to “fuck them.” It was barbaric.

As the night drew dark, I started to get antsy for Arctic Monkeys. They have been my favorite band since I saw them at the age of 16 at Lollapalooza. Loufest was the 8th time I’ve seen the band and each time, I believe they are better and better. Festivals can have strange crowds, and since Arctic Monkeys just now got big in the United States, there are going to be a number of people that don’t know any of their work before “AM.” That’s how this crowd was. Most people sung along to “Do I Wanna Know?” “Arabella,” and “Knee Socks,” but epic songs like “505” and “Old Yellow Bricks” people only nodded along to.

As they closed up their set and Alex Turner blew kisses to the audience, I walked happily away with other parts of the crowd toward the exit as “With a Little Help From My Friends” played throughout the park. And that’s a great song to end the day with because the people in the festival become a part of your world for a small moment. I met some great people and danced along to the songs of my favorite band with new friends.

So, thank you Loufest for an epic Saturday.

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