Counter.Point Music Festival | 09.27-29.12

Chris-Cornell-1w copyIn the end, the good outweighed the bad, and Counter.Point was a success. 




Nick LeTellier Photo

For its inaugural year, Counter.Point Music Festival brought a party, and about 18,000 people, to a farm just south of Atlanta. The three-day festival featured jam-packed sets from electronic giants Bassnectar, Skrillex, Pretty Lights, AVICII, and Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia, and packed out the undercard with acts like ATLien Big Boi, Big Gigantic, Laidback Luke, Crystal Castles, and Wale.

The farm in Fairburn, Georgia, was covered in lush, rolling hills and cradled in the curves of the beautiful Chattahoochee River. Overcast skies, moderate autumn temperatures, and a constant breeze coming off of the river made the location as comfortable as it was beautiful. The chopped-up carpet that was placed in the tents and the standing pond with a great view of the main stages were nice touches. The unique layout of the stages was a huge plus: The two main stages, called “Point” and Counter Point,” were situated directly beside each other. Their locations made it easy to get a great spot for one show, and still have a good spot for the next show on the adjoining stage. It was the perfect location for the South’s largest field rave party.

The weekend was also packed with musical highlights. Thursday sets from Adventure Club, Beats Antique, and Big Gigantic were filled to the brim with people and energy. The Adventure Club set, in particular, was so packed that, on the other stage, the talented ABDECAF played to a tent with only 20 or 30 people. Among Friday’s highlights was a short but powerful set from Crystal Castles. Lead singer Alice Glass spent most of the set in the crowd, surfing and yelling among the people. High-powered sets from AVICII and Bassnectar headlined the night, with AVICII’s “Levels” live one of the festival’s best moments.

Saturday featured great sets highlighted by laid-back performances by Policia and Toro Y Moi, and high-energy shows from Zoogma and Atlanta’s own Big Boi (one half of the mighty Outkast). It seemed like most people weren’t familiar with the name Steve Angello; as a result, by the time the DJ and producer took the stage around sunset, the crowd had slimmed down. It wasn’t until Angello announced that he was one-third of the powerhouse group Swedish House Mafia that people started to gather and get into his show. His set, sandwiched by Skrillex and Pretty Lights, was the perfect way to end the weekend.

Matt Wallin Photo

Still, the first-year festival was not without its share of problems. Some of the most anticipated acts of the weekend canceled, including M83 and Mr. MFN eXquire, and a weather delay messed up set times that forced a lot of people to miss Washed Out. There were also huge lines for the limited water stations, compounded by the fact that most food vendors were not allowed to sell bottled water. The festival also suffered communication problems, only announcing band cancelations via their Facebook page, and never at the festival itself.

In the end, though, the good outweighed the bad, and Counter.Point was a success. Festival organizers adapted quickly to the rain, laying down hay over the mud; protected everyone from potential weather problems; and made it a fun and comfortable experience. The crowd was friendly, fun-loving, relaxed, and honestly, the way a crowd at a festival should be. Each show—and really all of the music that was represented—was about dancing away the worries of the world and having a good time. And, hey, shouldn’t that be what a festival is all about?

Will Counter.Point stay on the festival skyline? Only time will tell.  But if it is back, we will be, too. | Matt Wallin

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