Written by Maria Eilert, Photographed by Caitlin Ferguson
On September 9th and 10th, I had the opportunity to road trip from Nashville to St. Louis and attend a small festival called Loufest. I had never been to Loufest before and wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was blown away by all aspects of the weekend. Loufest did a great job of attracting a varied audience as they truly had something for everyone. Multiple genres of artists brought fans of all ages to Forest Park that weekend. With free kids’ tickets and a great children’s area, there was also a number of young families in attendance. The festival also did a great job incorporating local businesses, as every food vendor was a local St. Louis company and one of the attractions was a local marketplace featuring local boutiques. It was small enough to have a local feel but big enough to feel like a festival, basically the festival feel without the hassle. As I said, I was impressed with the execution of the event.
Now, onto the important stuff, the music! There were three stages: the smallest BMI-Tunespeak stage, the second Enterprise stage, and the main stage called the Bud Light Stage. We arrived a little late so I was only able to see a few songs of Hippo Campus, but I was yet again impressed with their sound and performance. I hope that they continue to get more successful in the coming years. I then spent most of Saturday at the second stage, as I wanted to get a good spot for Cage the Elephant later that evening. The first artist I saw on the Enterprise stage was Marian Hill, who I was very excited to see because I had never seen them before and enjoy their album ACT ONE. The lead singer, Samantha Gongol, has an incredible voice and great stage presence. She was so fun to watch and all their music just made you want to dance. I had a pretty good spot close to the barrier, so I decided to stay at that stage for the next three hours so I could see Cage the Elephant in close proximity, which was a very good choice. In between Marian Hill and Cage the Elephant, I saw Huey Lewis and the News, which I admittedly did not know very well. I noticed that the crowd aged about twenty years for their set, but it was still a great time. They have a nice pop rock sound that makes you feel good, and as they have been doing this for many years, they know how to put on a good show. I loved their musicianship and their big band that included my favorite instrument, the saxophone. There’s honestly nothing better than a good saxophone solo! Huey Lewis was a great surprise and a whole lot of fun.
Finally it was time for Cage the Elephant, who I had seen a few years ago but I like them even more than I used to. Matt Schultz put on a great show as usual, and had his shirt off by like the third song. The crowd was really feeling the music and it was a great atmosphere. “Too Late to Say Goodbye” and “Telescope” were my personal favorite performances. Matt Schultz went on a few tangents throughout the show and seemed a little off, but he still sounded great and was very committed. I was once again very impressed with Cage the Elephant. After that, we went over to the mainstage to finish the night out with Snoop Dogg. I never imagined myself being able to see Snoop live, so I was pretty excited to check that one off my bucket list. It was lots of fun, mostly because of the dancing and the presence of Snoop, and not necessarily because of great songs or talent, but it was still an iconic performance which included strippers and a dog mascot throwing bags of money to the crowd. Seeing “Drop It Like it's Hot” live was a great moment in my life. Day one was amazing and I was very excited to see what the next day had in store.
Sunday was more chill and I explored more of the vendors and went to all three stages. I started the day off at the mainstage with Houndmouth, who I wanted to see because I absolutely love their song “Sedona”. Surprisingly, I actually thought “Sedona” was their weakest song of the set, but that could be because I had very high expectations. I ended up liking the other songs much better, so this set really opened my eyes to their other stuff and made me appreciate them as a band more. I then took a dinner break, as opposed to Saturday when there was no time for eating, and we saw a few songs from Lecrae and Lizzo during that time, which was fun because I was unfamiliar with both artists and had a great time at their sets.
I then headed back to the mainstage to finish the festival off with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and Weezer. Nathaniel Rateliff is a Missouri native and brought a hometown feel to his set, which was met with extra love from the crowd. Their music is hard to limit to one genre, as it has hints of alternative, folk, blues and even a little country. The combination is a great one though, and they got extra points from me for having a saxophone. I especially liked their hit single “SOB” and “I Need Never Get Old”. Last up was Weezer, who I saw a few years ago as well. I honestly forgot how good of a show they put on. They attract such a varied audience since they have been popular for so long, and lead singer Rivers Cuomo does a great job of relating to all of them. It was such a fun show with the whole crowd singing and dancing together.
Overall, Loufest was a great time. I saw so many different artists, from alternative to pop to rock to rap, and I hope to attend again next year!