Hyperion Homegrown was exactly what Indiana residents needed: beautiful weather, incredible music, talented artists and tons of happy campers.
As detailed in our preview, “Hyperion Homegrown: By the People, For the People,” the festival came together this year for one reason and one reason alone: the fans demanded it, and they put their money where their mouths were.
“We launched the Indiegogo campaign because so many people were asking us to have another festival and coming up with the money to do it isn’t easy, so we decided that if people wanted it enough to fund it, we’d make it happen for them,” says Sara Elifritz, Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Hyperion Music & Arts Festival.
At the conclusion of the crowd-funding campaign, they had secured 117 funders and raised a total of $14,770, working out to an average contribution of around $126.
“We thought we had set a pretty high goal for ourselves, and we still can’t believe that we surpassed it by almost 50 percent,” Elifritz says of the campaign’s success. “The people in the community wanted it back, so they made it happen!”
With attendance near 1,650 festival goers, Hyperion Homegrown was larger than the inaugural event in 2012 and smaller than the follow up in 2013—and we think that size fits our scene just fine. In chronological order of the weekend’s festivities, here are our most memorable moments from the festival.
Special thanks to FX Media Solutions and Jeremy Frazier for the stunning photography that you’re about to lay your eyes on.
The weatherman predicted a sunny, rain-free weekend at Hyperion and he couldn’t have been more spot on. Most found refuge from the hot afternoon sun under the canopy of the wooded campgrounds, while others were thankful for the shade of both the Hyperion and Apollo stages. Even after the sun set, temperatures remained high enough that daywear was sufficient for nighttime activities. It was a beautiful weekend to live out of doors!
Nashawti had the distinct pleasure of kicking off the festival with a 6:30 p.m. set on Thursday evening. With gates having opened just 30 minutes earlier, his tunes were more of a move-in soundtrack than a “first set of the weekend,” but that didn’t stop him from cooking up something special. Most notable was the dubby remix of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” a fitting promenade for early arrivals. He also featured live accompaniment from guests Joe Romine and Jason Ehizokhale (Audiodacity) on guitar and saxophone respectively.
When I rolled into Hyperion Friday around 1:30 p.m., the first show I caught was Earphorik. Before I even setup camp, I got over there and got a first-hand experience of some crunchy, funky jam-fusion tracks, including “Save Henry,” “Miser” and “Seas of the Blind”. As this young band progresses you can really hear them draw their jams out further and meticulously build peaks from slowed down and spacey valleys. A true treat as always.
This side project belonging to Danny Biggins (guitar, The Coop) is a psychedelic solo act whose ambient music perfectly suited the lazy, late Friday afternoon at Helios Stage. It was warm, so most listeners found a spot to relax in the shifting shade and take in the music while sitting and jamming from their seat.
Adorned with a boldly colored mask covering the upper half of his face, Biggins laid down deeply contemplative productions with exotic tribal accents. He covered “My Girls” by Animal Collective. He added in live guitar for a nice woozy effect and an extra chill vibe, appropriately cued 20 minutes after 4 p.m. He got weird and artistic and we loved it.
Joe Marcinek Band
When I say I have never seen anything like the Joe Marcinek Band, I truly mean there is not a lot of other music out there like it. With guest keyboardist Bernie Worrell, they delivered an unforgettable performance at Hyperion this year. They rolled out a version of “Red Hot Momma” that was so heavy on the keys I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Bernie Worrell may be ripping it up harder now than in his days with the Talking Heads. Truly a unique performance.
After getting settled in, and cracking open a few beers of course, it was time to get ready and in the mindset for Ultraviolet Hippopotamus to take the stage for their only performance of 2015. At about 7:00 pm the beloved musicians from Michigan took the stage and got straight to work. They had a steady mix of old favorites and new material, weaving in and out of stops and plenty of spacey funk riffs. There were some extra special peaks dueling back and forth between the keys and guitar. I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait for them to come back full time.
Shy Guy Says
As the sun started to set, the projectors on the clam stage known as Helios came alive and turned the simple white inflatable stage into a harmonious show of lights. I was distracted by the lights long enough to miss crowd participants donning homemade Shy Guy Says masks artfully crafted from Paper Plates. It was quite a tribute and gave a sense of unity to the moment.
The energy began to fill the air and the bass began to pump rapidly. The projectors covered the entire stage alternating between a giant Shy Guy dancing and random vibrant designs flittering wildly. As the night grew darker, the lights from the stage and hoops in the crowd lit the open wooded area we had gathered in.
As Shy Guy Says’ performance began to come to a close, the crowd begged for an encore and were obliged. He closed out the set with his latest track, “It’s Showtime.” It was by far the most vibrant set I attended all weekend in terms of music and lighting synchronicity.
Helios Stage Projection Artist
I met Dustin Klein aka VIDEOmetry aka the projection artist for the Helios Stage and was impressed by his talent. He gave out what looked like a coloring book page of the stage (seen below). He told me to color it and hand it back to him. I asked why, and he said he had the ability to scan in patron’s art and project it during music sets. It was one of the coolest concepts I have ever seen.
While exploring Stable Studios Friday night, I heard a smooth electro soul sound coming from the Hyperion stage. It was Michal Menert , who had a minimalistic set-up, but a stage presence that filled the outdoor room with ease. Nearing the end of his set, suddenly, Menert segued from an instrumental backing track to an all-out acapella free verse. The room fell silent as we watched him lay it all out right there on that stage. The rhythmic cadence was wonderful—one of those moments that gives you goose bumps because the experience is so raw.
Digital Tape Machine & David Embry (Turbo Suit) cover Talking Heads
This set-concluding cover of The Talking Heads’ “Us vs. Them” wasn’t quite the full lineup of North American Scum, but it was damn close. The jam seemed to go on forever—the perfect way to close The Hyperion barn stage Friday night. Feeling pumped after such a fun, unexpected cover, the crowd begged for an encore when the track finally concluded. The band wasted no time, returning to the stage for one last song—“Big and Tall” from their second album EP, Omens—and dedicated it to Hyperion Production Director Brent Nixon.
Flatland Harmony Experiment
— indymojo (@indymojo) August 15, 2015
Early Saturday afternoon I went to check out Flatland Harmony Experiment on the Helios stage. Three barefoot gentlemen dressed in comfortable attire stepped up to a vintage microphone. One was holding a mandolin, one an upright bass and the other a banjo—the perfect ensemble to cover every octave. These men had a very fluid relationship with their instruments. They made full use of every measure, weaving in and out of intricate, syncopated rhythms while singing a three part harmony. I savored every second. Hearing the banjo and mandolins flawlessly trade solos really got the crowd hootin’ and hollerin’.
800 Lb Gorilla
This Bloomington-based five-piece is relatively new to the scene, but they owned their Saturday afternoon set on the Apollo Stage like veterans. From funny onstage banter to instinctive power stances to energetic dancing—the group not only puts on a show, but they have fun doing it, too.
800 Lb. Gorilla came with one goal and that was to rock. Whether it be pop rock, progressive rock, slow rock or funk rock, their varied styles are distinct and deliberate, yet carefree and flowing. Nearing the end of their set, “Doledrums” stunned the crowd and left jaws hanging, and those paying extra close attention may have even head the beep-beep-beep of a truck nearby moving in reverse at a perfectly timed rest in the song. After more than an hour of all original tunes, 800 Lb Gorilla treated the crowd at the Apollo tent—who had grown steadily over the duration of the set—to a cover of “Josie” by Steely Dan, leaving a cheering group of fans old and new alike when they finally concluded at 3:30 p.m.
On Saturday afternoon, many noticed the curious arrival of a grid of large yellow tubes by the Hyperion sign. Eventually, the path was closed off and foot traffic was rerouted around the pond. Curiosity was finally satisfied later, right before Turbo Suit’s headlining set, when fireworks started illuminating the sky. Patrons of Hyperion were treated to a show that would rival any large display.
Electronic timing and remote firing allowed for customization as well as safety for the crew. Jaik Willis was enlisted to provide music for the show (he appropriately chose an electrified version of The Star Spangled Banner), which really added to the overall experience.
Special Throwback Sets From Catch Curtis, UV Hippo & Twin Cats
One of the things that made Hyperion Homegrown so intimate and unique was the potential for cross-band collaboration and special one-off sets, such as the 4:00 p.m. DJ set on Saturday by Jeff Brist aka Turbo Suit’s tour manager.
During a rare live performance from Catch Curtis, the band played a deep cut called “Sun of Ra,” which proved to be a real treat for the loosely packed Apollo Tent on Saturday evening.
UV Hippo’s Friday night double-header caused more stir than normal, as it was the only chance for fans to see them outside their current hiatus.
The weekend’s best collaboration, though, came on Saturday night when Nick Gerlach joined his former bandmates on stage for the second half of The Twin Cats’ set.
The last full act I caught of the weekend was TAUK on Saturday night. They couldn’t have been more perfectly scheduled for a late night set. Just when I thought things might be winding down, they brought one of the top sets of the weekend. And when I say brought, they brought it.
Mixing tight jazz fusion, the heavy drum beats and free flowing, yet peaking guitar and keys made for a unique and satisfying sound. It really is something to watch the keys and drums play off one another at such a heavy and building level while the guitar flows so smoothly. After seeing TAUK a couple of times this festival season, it is no secret that they are something special. Don’t be late to the party with these guys.