Day of Joy: Remembering Houston's First Outdoor Music Fest

dayofjoy560.jpg
Photos courtesy of Vicki Welch Ayo
Day of Joy band Ginger Valley
"It was definitely a labor of love. It cost me $5,000, I'll put it that way; and, looking back on it, I'm not sure I didn't get my money's worth." -- Jim Tucker

We're living in the festival era of popular music. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 200 major music festivals annually. Some, like Bonnaroo and Coachella, have transcended from mere concerts to cogs in the modern zeitgeist.

In Houston, we're doing our part, with Free Press Summer Fest and new additions like last weekend's Whatever Fest. Our grassroots music community doesn't need benevolent corporate sponsors to do its thing, either. Practically every weekend, some group is resourcefully staging a festival, like last month's Grace Note, this month's Melt Fest or next month's Untapped Festival.

Does Houston have a good fest history? The short answer is yes. And, if you're the right age, you might think back -- way back -- to a time before the long-running Westheimer Street Festival and the Houston International Festival to recall a singular offering dubbed Day of Joy. The ambitious event was held at the long-gone Almeda Speedway and brought local and national acts together to perform for gathered masses under Houston's blistering summer sun.


More »

Houston Whatever Fest Deserves Another Shot

HWF0812-3.JPG
Photo by Jim Bricker
This guy gave Houston Whatever Fest two thumbs-up, anyway.
There are better ways to tell, but one indicator of whether your music festival is meeting expectations is the "Chi'lantro Test."

It's not a real thing -- I dreamed it up -- but it seems reliable enough. If the Chi'lantro Korean BBQ truck is parked at your festival and there's not a line in front of it, attendance might be subpar.

This was one of the troubling signs for Houston Whatever Fest, the latest addition to the city's always-growing music festival slate. This one featured an amalgam of national acts, some very talented comedians and a robust lineup of locals. Everything was located on five stages within walking distance on St. Emanuel.


More »

The 10 Best Acts at Houston Whatever Fest

awk4-0811.jpg
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
ANDREW W.K.
Andrew W.K. was a revelation. He came out, trademark grin firmly in place, and immediately told the crowd he was "not a musician." He's a known party inducer and he was exactly what Whatever Fest needed the moment he was booked. He ran through the hits in a frenetic set that featured audience stage-dives and mosh pits. "Ready to Die," "I Love NYC," "We Want Fun," "Party Hard," "I Get Wet"...he played them all while his hype man extraordinaire, Blakey Boy, revved up the crowd.

The energy and good vibes were contagious. It seemed everyone in the crowd was smiling just as widely as the man himself. I was impressed by his piano playing skills as attacked the keys like a modern-day Jerry Lee Lewis and played the craziest version of "Rhapsody in Blue" I've ever heard. Andrew W.K. is a lot of things -- quick-start-party-starter, motivational speaker and Village Voice writer among them. He is also definitely a musician. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

More »

Wo Fat Meet Their Doom at Fitz on Saturday

Wo_fat1.jpg
Photos courtesy of Kent Stump
Dallas' Wo Fat
Have you heard the news? Fitzgerald's, that creaky old live music haunt in the Heights where your favorite band became your favorite band, is doomed.

Not next year, not after graduation, but Saturday. This Saturday. Doomed.

Whoa, hey, calm down for a second! This isn't about Pegstar abandoning the old club to build a slick, new townhouse of a concert venue on North Main (not that there's anything wrong with that). That's still quite a ways off, and there's a lot of life left in Fitz yet. Case in point: both stages of the club will be piled high with every heavy guitar riff imaginable tomorrow when the second annual Bayou Doom Fest returns to Sabbath the place up a bit. And for rock fans who like it slow, deep and hard, that's very good news, indeed.


More »

10 Can't-Miss Acts at Houston Whatever Fest

CheapGirls_KellyGairrocco-0808.jpg
Photo by Kelly Gairrocco/The Brixton Agency
Cheap Girls
SATURDAY

CHEAP GIRLS
I know some people who were converted by Cheap Girls. Not just a fun sentence to write, but a true occurrence from recent local show. This Lansing, Mich.-based trio must be starting to feel like Houston is a second home. By my count, this will be at least their second trip here (third?) since the new year.

Earlier in 2014, they swept through with their friends Laura Stevenson and Against Me!, some frequent tourmates and longtime supporters of Cheap Girls' fundamentally solid indie-rock. Check out "Her and Cigarettes," from 2009's Find Me a Drink Home, for just one lovely example of what these guys do. (4 p.m., EaDo Party Park Space City Vodka stage) JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

More »

The Funniest Things Overheard at the 2014 Juggalo Gathering

Note: this past weekend our colleagues at St. Louis' Riverfront Times risked life and limb to cover the 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos outside Thornville, Ohio.

overheard-quotes-lead-image.jpg
Photos by Nate "Igor" Smith unless indicated
Another Gathering of the Juggalos has come and gone, and with it thousands of face-painted, fun-loving freaks and misfits to and from the event's first year in Thornville, Ohio.

While the move from the deep wilderness of Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, to this year's decidedly more inhabited location did make the experience seem less like being on another planet, there was still an overabundance of hilarious and strange things happening at all times.

Here are the best overheard quotations from the 2014 edition of the Gathering of the Juggalos.


More »

The 20 Best-Dressed Juggalos at the Gathering (NSFW)

Note: this past weekend our colleagues at St. Louis' Riverfront Times risked life and limb to cover the 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos outside Thornville, Ohio.

1-batman-juggalo.jpg
All photos by Nate "Igor" Smith
Clearly, this man takes the top honors.
Juggalo fashion generally involves great big pants and T-shirts that were possibly purchased at truck stops. Hair is best when it is braided and aloft in the style of Coolio, and everything looks better coated in a thin layer of sticky-delicious Faygo, of course.

But some Juggalos go out of their way to trot out their hottest looks for the Gathering of the Juggalos, Here, then, are the 20 best-dressed juggalos at this year's big event.


More »

10 Reasons Juggalos Are Better Than You

Note: this past weekend our colleagues at St. Louis' Riverfront Times risked life and limb to cover the 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos outside Thornville, Ohio.

Juggalo0728-top.jpg
Photos courtesy of Riverfront Times
Life sucks. There is a multitude of reasons why, and no one has come to terms with this inescapable truth better than Juggalos. Zen masters of nihilism and partying, they have become unquestionable experts at finding creative ways to cope with the unrelenting pain of reality.

Behind the fun-at-any-cost, consequences-be-damned attitude of these clown-painted fiends lies a cache of truly virtuous and respectable traits. You might be unable to comprehend that people who seem so strange might have something profound to teach you, so we've put together this list, outlining just what it is that makes Juggalos better than everyone else.


More »

A Heartwarming Wedding In Juggalo Country

Note: this weekend our colleagues at St. Louis' Riverfront Times are risking life and limb to cover the 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos outside Thornville, Ohio.

10567320_10152301774273721_1785039996_n.jpg
Photos by Drew Ailes
Tiffany and Dip Set, juggalo bride and groom, exhange vows.
"Please, we ask you to hold your Faygo until the wedding begins," a woman with electric green braids instructs the crowd. Standing anxiously nearby is the groom, outfitted in a Jack Skellington top hat. His big day has arrived -- he is about to be wed to the love of his life, here at the Gathering of the Juggalos in Thornville, Ohio.

"I'm gonna try and fuck her in the butt tonight," he jokes.

As dedicated to their Juggalo family as they are to one another, Tiffany and Dip Set, bride and groom, are here to tie the marriage noose at the Gathering's Carousel Stage.


More »

An NSFW Trip to Juggalo Night Court, Which Is a Real Thing

Note: this weekend our colleagues at St. Louis' Riverfront Times are risking life and limb to cover the 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos outside Thornville, Ohio. This article was written by Daniel Hill.

permpeon-0725.jpg
Photos by Nate "Igor" Smith
A young Juggalo faces the punishment for his crimes.
Those in the outside world tend to view the Gathering of the Juggalos as a lawless festival of debauchery, with apparently violent clowns -- "gang members," even, if you ask the U.S. government -- running rampant and chaos ruling the day.

In actuality, this notion is far from the truth. Juggalos in attendance not only consistently treat one another with respect, but even have an institutionalized arbiter of disputes for when conflict does arise.

Have an issue with a fellow Juggalo? Take them to Juggalo Night Court.


More »

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...