We finally had our long-awaited and much needed return to the one and only, magical Mulberry Mountain for Backwoods Music Festival and it did not disappoint. The music we heard, the emotions we felt, the art we saw and the memories we made are going to live within us for years to come. Anyone who had ever been to Mulberry before for a festival knows the wonderful energy that place holds, and the mountain was definitely calling us home.
There were too many amazing acts – it’s difficult to choose favorites, but after much debate we’ve narrowed down to our top 5 from the national artist roster. On Friday night GRiZ, of course, at the Motherland stage completely blew us away. We’ve seen him many times and he never, ever lets us down. He brings such talent, passion and positive energy to every show. Right after Griz we headed over to the ThazDope Records Space Station stage, previously Satellite stage in the Wakarusa days, to see Jade Cicada, and WOW!! that pyramid stage designed by Don Mega was incredible and Jade Cicada flexing on the Hennessey Sound Design system was amazing. We had a great time getting down that night. Saturday ended up being a rainy one, but that did not stop us from raging through the storms. Space Jesus at the Motherland stage was absolutely bonkers. The harder it rained, the harder we all got down. We loved it. The rain looked like glitter falling from the sky, making it even more of a memorable set. Then from 3 to 4am at the Space Station we battled through the heavy rain to enjoy a very wet and wonky Yheti set. We wobbled with him for that hour best we could until the rain finally had to crash the party. It was such a fun, what we’re calling “umbrella set” with an umbrella and plastic sheet covering the pyramid window and equipment to where we couldn’t even see him, but that didn’t stop the excellent bass from making it a top set and experience for us. Then last, but certainly not least, Smokestax sunrise set Monday morning at Space Station. It was the perfect end to a most magical weekend, and we can’t forget to mention how beautiful that sunrise was behind that magical stage.
Now, we’d like to give Backwoods a big shoutout for bringing in so many local electronic artists, the friends we love and support every day, and giving them solid time slots to show off their hard work and talent. On Friday night, no.faces started the local scene off strong with a killer set at the Space Station, flexing the impeccable Hennessey Sound Design System brought by ThazDope Records. This was the first time that the Paras brothers have gotten to play together in a little over a year since they opened for G Jones at George’s Majestic Lounge. Those guys came out of their hiatus strong dropping some new originals and prototypes for future official releases. Can’t wait to hear more and see what’s next for them.
Then jumping to Sunday, we had a full schedule running around to catch all the local’s sets. Fractal Sky played an amazing journey set at the Motherland stage to set the tone off right for the rest of the night. His set consisted of new, much anticipated, originals and two classic Fractal tunes. We’re incredibly proud and excited for this man. The hard work and dedication is paying off in a big way. He accomplished one of his biggest dreams – playing main stage at Mulberry Mountain. We then ran over to the Space Station to catch Meesh for his first festival set appearance. He has been playing a plethora of local shows over the past couple of years and honing in on his production as well and it definitely showed. He had all the bassheads getting down in the mud making it quite a unique and fun scene. He played one of our personal original faves ‘Frank’s Adventure’. We know this is only the beginning of big things for him.
Next on the hot and heavy list of local artists was AttA. This was his last show as AttA and made a mid-set announcement of his transition into his Jonteal project. He finished out his time with some brand new jonteal originals – which sounded so crisp and full on the Henny’s. He even brought out Fort Smith native, Hayden Napier, on stage to rap over a new track written by jonteal and a handful of his close friends. We are all stoked for this next chapter and new project. Following straight after, was the incredibly fun Flintwick set. This cat is young, but you can’t tell from his music. He’s working hard in the studio and gaining new followers every day. Major props to him and his set – no one else played sounds quite as unique as he did Sunday night. Ryan Viser killed it Saturday night, debuting a set with drummer Adam Walsh . The rain did not stop them from keeping the crowd moving at the Motherland Stage. The rain also didn’t stop Dalton Richmond from performing an incredible set which stood out from many of the acts at the Space Station. He brought with him his future bass originals that left people with great vibes.
Every single one of these artists played amazing sets. We are extremely proud of how well all of our local artists came out and showed how full of talent this area is. Cheers to all of you!
We’d like to give special shoutouts to SPANKALICIOUS, ThazDope Records, The Untz, Hennessey Sound Design, Culture Clothing Company, all of the photographers, especially our buddies Jamie Seed Photography, Live Edits Lab, Vespertine Vulpine Media, and Brandon Johnson Photography – the visual artists, flow artists, the artists that made the beautiful art installations across the grounds and all the volunteers that came together to make this such a wonderful experience. We hope that Backwoods comes back to Mulberry again next year, because we wouldn’t miss the chance at another magical weekend on the mountain. –