I’m still trying to figure out how I can describe Lockn’ this year. There is one word that keeps coming to my mind….easy.
That was the easiest festival I have ever been to. I rarely had to make a decision. The lineup was so straight forward with no overlapping sets and stages right next to each other. It was easy to find friends because everyone was at the same stage. Everything I needed was in front of me. The layout made sense. Even our camping spot, which was in the furthest section of camping (forest camping) from the venue, really wasn’t too far of a walk. It helped that the weather was nearly perfect. A brief rainstorm on Friday night cooled everyone off for a wild first Widespread Panic set of the weekend. I don’t know how it happened but every morning, the sun rose and woke everyone up just in time to be serenaded by Keller Williams and his Grateful Grass sets in the woods. Simply magical. There were lots of magical moments. After a brief summer rain shower on Sunday, a double rainbow stretched out over the Virginia sky. It was even awesome to see a full house in the hot sun at 2:30 PM for Gary Clark Jr. That was the moment I realized the real difference between Lockn’ and any other festival I had ever been to. The fans at Lockn’ really are wholeheartedly there for the music. Yes, some are there to overindulge in various forms of fun but they will do so while taking in the music, which ultimately caused the most joy to everyone in attendance.
A defining moment of my 2014 festival season occurred on the last night during The Allman Brothers Band. It was already a special moment because that set could potentially have been the last outdoor or festival set the legendary band ever plays together. As the sun went down, I noticed there wasn’t a single phone or camera in the air above the crowd. No one was trying to capture the moment. No one was trying to send a Snapchat or post on Instagram. Instead, everyone was taking in the moment in the most organic way possible, through their own experience of it – something that cannot be shared through a screen. I honestly don’t think I have ever experienced something so raw at a music festival. The impact of that moment will last a long time.
From a more critical perspective, Lockn’ was run relatively well. The line to get in lasted 30 minutes max. Car searches were thorough but not invasive. It actually took me longer to wait for my credentials at Will Call than it did for the car I was riding in to go all the way through the line and check points. Camping was pretty normal. Forest camping was definitely preferred, even though it was a little further from the venue. They actually ran out of parking for forest camping on Friday morning. There were less people at the festival on Thursday night but on Friday, it was popping….and it became clear there were not enough port-a-potties. Thankfully, the festival brought more port-a-potties and water tanks to alleviate some pressure on the lines at both (especially inside the venue) on Saturday morning. That’s the most reactive I’ve seen a festival be to such situations. Props to you, Lockn’ organizers. Really the whole weekend was pretty smooth. Definitely a solid festival community, I’m sure will continue to grow. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year! Stay up to date on Lockn’ things at http://www.locknfestival.com/