By: Alejandro Esparza
For anyone who was fortunate enough to go to the inaugural Sound on Sound Fest last weekend, you might have experienced music festival history in the making. SOS was founded this year by Graham Williams, a household name in the music festival famous for his other creation, Fun Fun Fun Fest. After leaving FFF’s team in May due to creative differences, the future of the festival seemed uncertain and many loyal festival-goers were nervous. However Williams restored hope with the announcement of what is now everyone’s new favorite music festival.
Nestled in the beautiful and secluded location of the Sherwood Forest Fairgrounds, Sound on Sound’s three sizable stages were home to an impressive array of artists, something that instantly gave the festival legitimacy in its first year.
Featuring acts from ACL-worthy headliners like Beach House, Phantogram, and Purity Ring to up-and-coming artists more likely to be found on a SXSW stage like Alex G, Emily Wolfe, and Thundercat, Graham Williams and the other masterminds behind SOS did a fantastic job of booking big enough artists to attract the impressive turnout we saw this past weekend, but not blow their budget on a few superstars only to have the attendees be disinterested in the rest of the acts - a problem that some key festivals experience today. Instead SOS featured a balanced lineup with artists spanning a wide range of genres that kept the excitement and energy up for the entire weekend.
However, the festival was not without its setbacks - after all, this is its first year. From a number of technical problems (Deerhunter’s set was interrupted by glitches in the sound system), to logistical issues associated with the location (traffic jams created by the single road into and out of the fairgrounds), and some problems beyond anyone’s control (major rain delays on the event’s final day), Sound on Sound was by no means perfectly run or perfectly organized, but no one left the festival thinking about that.
They were remembering the unexpected Prince tribute by the Dead Milkmen, or the cinematic image of Car Seat Headrest rocking the stage as the sun went down on Saturday, or the seemingly random wedding that took place on the Globe Stage amidst the wailing guitar licks of the appropriately named band Holy Matrimony, or any number of shenanigans involving turkey legs that came with the territory of having a music festival located on Renaissance Fair grounds.
The point is the memorable far outweighed the inconvenient and you can bet that ten years from now people are going to look back and remember this first year at Sound on Sound as the historic start of one of Texas’s greatest musical traditions.