ORANGE Roundtable: Untapped Festival

Austin experienced its first Untapped festival, a craft beer and music fest, on Saturday, April 18 at Carson Creek Ranch. The festival previously took place in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, but the series expanded to the “Live Music Capital” this year. This weekend's fest boasted more than 65 brewers, 200 beers and eight bands, including Phosphorescent and Manchester Orchestra. Unfortunately, what started out as a day filled with live music, beer and fun ended with waterlogged attendees literally running for their lives, as a devastating thunderstorm cut Manchester Orchestra’s set short after just two-and-a-half songs and sent debris flying into the audience.  

By Tess Cagle, Samantha J. Grasso and Jenna Million 

Here's what ORANGE staffers had to say about Untapped Austin:

Highs

Tess: Finally getting to see In the Valley Below perform “Peaches”, my current life anthem.

Samantha: I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any beer while at Untapped. Hell, I came for the beer and stayed for the music. I recommend the Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale from Brewery Ommegang for something dark and sweet, Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues Breweries for a smooth, hoppy sensation and the Illusive Traveler Grapefruit Ale from The Traveler Beer Co. for a 100 percent fruity, 0 percent beer taste. Honorable mentions go to the Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewing for its coffee undertones and the Irish Cider from Woodchuck Hard Cider for its close resemblance to champagne.

Jenna: Photographing Manchester Orchestra at the end of the night. I was looking forward to them all day, but I had no idea they would put on such an insane show, with plenty of head banging and hair flipping.

Lows

T: The only obvious source of water cost $2. Overpriced water and excessive beer consumption don’t seem like two things that mix well. Not to mention the $10 parking fee, which was conspicuously absent from the fest’s website.

S: A few beer tasting vendors ran out of samples early in the afternoon, with some being completely shut down by 7 p.m. Jester King, an Austin brewery, was out by 5:30 p.m. I’m not sure whether Jester King or Untapped organizers are to blame for the lack of preparation, but you’d think a local brewery would be prepared for the turnout.  

J: The only vegan, gluten-free and healthy vegetarian options were offered by Skinny Limits. All the other food trucks had gourmet options like lobster tails priced as high as $17.

The Good

T: Austin-based band Calliope Musicals brought the most energy on stage and definitely had the most fun and memorable performance. Black Joe Lewis was equally impressive, playing the guitar with his mouth and having an overall stellar stage presence.

S:  I’ve never attended a small-scale festival like this — it was a nice change from the Austin City Limits and South by Southwest experiences. There was plenty of room to roam around without nearly running into someone, and stage audiences weren’t densely packed like at larger festivals.   

J: A wide variety of craft brews present, with punch cards and sample cups given out for $5.

The Bad

T: The sound guy who botched Bear Hands’ setup and delayed their set by 25 minutes.  

S: Who thought it would be a good idea to host a beer tasting festival sans water? The Untapped website informed us we weren’t allowed to bring in “drinks,” and while there were maybe two small water spigots in the venue, the 2-ounce tasting glasses didn’t hold enough water to stay hydrated. As Tess mentioned, cans of water were sold for $2 each. Hashtag ridiculous.

J: What Tess said. There were various other sound issues throughout the day, including at the end of Phosphorescent’s set, cutting in and out several times.

The Downright Ugly

S: Manchester Orchestra was the only act I was looking forward when I bought my ticket for the festival, so when the 45-mph gusts tore down the gates separating me from lead singer Andy Hull, I was slightly upset at the imminent, immediate cancellation. Of course, I soon feared for my life and took off in a sprint for the exit, but I was disappointed regardless. I can still hear it in my head — the band breaking into the  first six measures of “Shake It Out,” suddenly interrupted by the wind whipping through the stage and audiences screaming as fragile structures started to fall.

J: Running back to the car with hundreds of other screaming and yelling concert-goers in rain and wind so sharp it took my breath away. All was calm with lightning flashing in the background, until a huge wall of wind smacked the tarp on the back of the stage, blowing it up into the roof of the stage. Gates with tarps covering them were pushed around, amps fell over on stage, the music stopped, and suddenly everyone knew the storm was serious.

In case you missed it, Manchester Orchestra posted videos of the thunderstorm horror on their Instagram, including this one. 

We hate that the show had to end so early. this was easilythe scariest moment we've ever experienced on stage.

A video posted by manchesterorchestra (@manchesterorchestra) on