Indianapolis natives and those from surrounding areas were treated to a weekend of incredible music from top acts and local performers alike at Fountain Square Music Festival. Dr. Dog, Real Estate, COIN, and Welshly Arms topped Friday’s lineup, with local favorites Shiny Penny, The WLDLFE, and many more supporting the more well-known performers.
The main stage stood tall in the middle of the square, surrounding by antiquated architecture home to local shops and eateries. In the square, Hi-Fi and Square Cat Vinyl were on either side of the street, whereas Pioneer was down the opposite end of the road of the main stage. The White Rabbit was the only venue not inside the immediate grounds, but the short trek was worth the walk to see acts like Flint Eastwood.
Local vendors, including food trucks and breweries, lined the festival grounds to supply sustenance to concertgoers. Postcards with set times were handed out as each person entered, allowing fans to plan their day. With sun hiding behind the clouds, the day was more than agreeable for an outdoor show.
Square Cat Vinyl was the smallest of the venues, but emitted an intimate, nostalgic feeling. There is something about listening to a live band while standing among the stacks. The stage was subtly lit while sunlight streamed in from the glass window and door at the front; the chandeliers above the bar added to the effect. Overall, the acts, such as Keller & Cole and Crescent Ulmer were quieter than other stages, with more acoustic-based performances.
Across the street at the Hi-Fi, fans could catch the more raucous, high-energy acts. The stage was almost too small to hold Manray and Shiny Penny — both of whom brought jaw-dropping, intense performances to the local favorite hot-spot. The crowds were small at first, but grew as the day went on. Liz Cooper & The Stampede was the most subdued act, but still delivered a strong show. Welshly Arms brought the biggest audience, people packed in close together.
The White Rabbit was of similar feel to the Hi-Fi. Unfortunately, the crowds were much smaller, perhaps due to it being outside festival grounds and away from the main street. Coyote Talk started off the White Rabbit’s late night, playing enthusiastically despite the small crowd. The Tourists were energetic as well when they took the stage. Flint Eastwood easily drew a huge crowd at midnight. It seemed everyone at the festival was inside the White Rabbit.
The main stage, aptly named the Nucleus Stage, was home to very few, but very great acts. The WLDLFE was one of the only locals to perform on the Nucleus Stage, but still delivered a performance rivaling that of the top-billed acts. COIN was the show of the day, with great sound, vigor, and unforgettable zest. Real Estate went on as the sun was setting and the stage lights took over, adding to their groovy vibes. Dr. Dog brought their indie, 60’s vibe to close out the phenomenal night on the Nucleus Stage. The audience was mesmerized by the amazing combination of the beautiful lighting, nostalgic tones, and the vintage surroundings.
Friday night proved Fountain Square Music Festival was an enjoyable musical adventure to be remembered. Any fan who attended was able to experience something that doesn’t happen to often with big shows — locals and top acts performing together. New music was discovered and new fans were made. The only major drawback was the lack of All Ages venues for the younger than 21 fans to enjoy. Perhaps, next year, the festival planners can see to more stages being open to all fans. But overall, Fountain Square Music Festival, based on Friday alone, was not an event to miss.