Oaktopia ’16 Day Two // The Journey Continues with Garrett Smith
It was a day of waves,
Of people, of both bands Wavves and Moon Waves, and in less literal ways, as well. Coming off the backburner of a left over haze from last night’s lack of good sleep, we found ourselves – as I’m sure many of our fellow Oaktopians did as well – swept up by the Texas heat into a dreamy, desert daze. We wore sweat like clothing, and at some point, you were bound to strip away self-consciousness, and rock that sweat-bod like you’re walking down the runway.
You have to admit: it’s freeing to give your self up to the heat.
The clarity of the day’s narrative, from here, takes on a shifting, oil-slick shimmer –
so be wary, those who tread here. for there be here both mirage, and message mistaken as mirage. But there are oases, in this desiccant sea, and one such place goes by the name LSA – and this is where we kicked off our day, with kicks-side band-burgers, photographer carb-loading, and a set from Octahedron that is best described by its perfectly apt venue placement – open-aired, anthemic, and innocent. Not in the sense of naivety, but in the genesis of those poppy good vibes that sweep the heaviness of our world away with ease. There’s nothing like that pure, teeth-bearing smile appearing reflected on both rooftop listener and performer that only says:
this is bliss
Alas, if one wants to find further gems for memory, one has to leave the comfort of oasis behind. Once we’d touched on a bite of show-planning business served hot over some imbibing – replete with a side of unending fries – we took the leap.
It was boiling over,
both in waves of sound and in the constant streams and oceans of festival-goers, and we were ready to catch our ride out to the surf.
From photo pit mazes and artsy shoe gazing, to festival lawn-lazing and shoulder-tight stage-ballet, there could have been neither time nor space enough to contain the atmosphere of this event. We were awash with a bombardment of both new and familiar – friends, artists, and millions of self-contained moments that only a music festival could catalyze.
In a word: Remember what we said about that photographer-at-a-festival power-walk?
Totally should’ve saved that discussion for today. Even veterans can find themselves forgetting the strain of a full day of press-festing, and it’s easy enough on Day One to feel quickly acclimated to what seems to be par for the course.
Oh, how the blisters of feet sing to our naivety.
Whether it was the couple of small-jaunts over to LSA for Octahedron and Levi Cobb & The Big Smoke, a skip-and-a-stumble to the Bearded Monk for hometown homies Fun Button, or a cross-pond leap to the Labb for a medley of hip-hop showcases such as Meditation Mafia – there was much to see, little time to see it, and even less time to make sense of it. It was a dazed cacophony of sound and aesthetic, and even after so little time later, it’s hard to find a clear path to follow – but we can certainly make an attempt
Bouncing between locals and main-stage names, it’s easy for it all to become a blur – but there’s nothing forgettable about acts like Beirut, Dr. Dog, or Cat Power. Or, the all-star synthesis of both worlds, UNT alum Norah Jones. There was no lack for awe, no matter what might tickle your fancy.
When you find yourself caught up in such a beautifully chaotic place, no amount of words or pictures can find your soles treading over the same stones. Whether it was in a band’s waiting burger, colorful hair of all kinds, bar-side psychedelic projections, photographer moshes, or glowing hula-hooped bodies – there’s no one thread for any weaver to unravel, in capturing such a tangled knot. And from this wonderfully-wearied heavy-eyed perspective – there’s nothing more beautiful than a journey without a defined beginning or end. To immerse oneself in such a living organism as a music festival is nothing short of sublime; but to let go your hold to control, and have the waves guide you open-mindedly about – well, that is something close to divine.
But you’ll just have to see for yourself.
Here’s to hoping you’ll beat heat and fatigue for one last kick-ass day of Oaktopia. Past squinty eyes and calloused feet, we’ll see you out there.
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