ORANGE Roundtable: Edgefest Festival

The ORANGE music staff hit the road and visited Frisco, Texas, for the city’s annual Edgefest last weekend. The festival featured a stacked lineup, including the Kooks, Andrew McMahon, Death Cab for Cutie and the Offspring, to name a few. But thanks to the scorching heat, overpriced water and an incredibly confusing venue setup, the festival as a whole fell far short of everybody’s expectations.

Here’s what ORANGE staffers had to say about Edgefest:

Highs

Jenna: The high of the day for me happened early — Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. The band brought parachutes out during “Synesthesia” for the crowd to wave above their heads. McMahon is my favorite artist, and it was a pleasure to hear his new music as well as songs from his previous bands, Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin.

Mason: Choosing to go to Edgefest was totally last-minute for me, based mostly on the fact that I would get to see Death Cab For Cutie. Watching the sun set behind the stage during their set was surreal. I was beyond ecstatic just to be in their presence, soaking up the music that has kept me sane for so many years.

Emily: This was one of my first music festivals I’ve attended, much less covered, so the experience of having a “media” pass was insane in itself. Shooting Hozier from the photo pit was an experience so wicked that it should have been illegal.

Belicia: I went to the photo pit to shoot New Politics, a band I had never heard of. Through the lens of my camera, I fell in love with singer David Boyd. His abs peeked through a black moto jacket, and he showed remarkable confidence — with a healthy dose of cheekiness — onstage.  I know I wasn’t the only girl struggling for air as he rolled his hips, took off his shirt and did a backflip off the drum set — proving that he was, in fact, a perfect human being. What more could a girl want in her future husband?

Lows

J: As expected, there was only food available for purchase from the Toyota Center (aka crappy stadium food). Being a vegetarian, it’s always hard to find options, but when you have to debate whether pizza or fries are healthier, you know you’ve hit the bottom. They were also charging $4 for water, and on a day when the sun was beating down at 90 degrees, it’s no wonder people were passing out and getting removed from the crowd left and right.

M: Overpriced water in the scorching heat, lack of sunscreen (my fault) and waiting in line for a wristband that allowed access to the main stage — and completely unnecessary, because anybody could get one.

E: The general what? that I felt all day. It seemed like the festival had no idea what it was doing, from the lack of organization and communication to the strange logistical practices. The security wasn’t helpful, and festival organizers were nowhere to be found — probably  because they were just as clueless as us.

B: Usually I complain about the time between sets being too long, but at Edgefest, the five-minute downtime between the two stages was too short. It definitely wasn’t enough time to race through a sweaty crowd from one end of the stadium to another. I didn’t get a chance to soak in what I had just seen, and I’m horribly out of shape, so the fest forced me to exert more energy than I had to just to catch the first song of each band’s set.

The Good

J: Solid lineup.

M: The only good part of this festival was the music. It was a stacked lineup for a small, one-day event. Also, Hozier was good. So good.

E: The dueling stage setup was a good idea in theory. That way, you got to at least hear every artist on the solid lineup.

B: I love good ol’ American food, so having a menu of hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza was lovely.

The Bad

J: While there were two giant screens on either side of the main stage, they didn’t use them for live video until Death Cab for Cutie played at 6:45. It would have been since to be able to watch the other artists on that stage during the day from the screen since the crowd was so big. Instead, they ran ads all day.

M: Typical, overpriced stadium food is always bad.

E: The main stage required a wristband to get in for absolutely no logical reason, since you already needed a ticket to enter the venue and the other stage didn’t require a wristband. It was, for lack of a better word, a clusterfuck.

B: The entire setup was awkward. When you think “festival,” you think of lush grass and an open space where everyone can relax and congregate. Here, the plastic floor absorbed the heat and scorched our skin if we attempted to sit down. The high wall of seats seemed to close in on us and had a dizzying effect, and no one really interacted with each other.

The Ugly

J: I think we all agree that the dueling stage setup was a good idea. However, they sectioned the general admission floor off in the middle, creating a narrow funnel which people had to pass through to get from one stage to another after every set.It created a huge backup and made no sense. As others have mentioned, everybody was also required to get a wristband to enter the main stage side of the floor. This was seemingly pointless because one, all of these people already bought a floor ticket; two, so many people were going through this funnel at once, there’s no way the guards could check for it; and three, you had to wait in another separate line just to get the wristband, even after you entered the venue.

M: The setup of Edgefest was a nightmare. From the lines wrapping around the whole floor of the stadium for wristbands that were 100 percent irrelevant, to the weird funnel of people that gathered between stages, it was a hot mess. They could have just slapped a general admission wristband on people’s arms when they scanned tickets, or thrown away the wristband idea completely, but I guess that would have been too easy.

E: My sunburnt shoulders, because I am a genius and didn’t wear sunscreen.

B: Don’t get me wrong, the bands were amazing, but the diversity was seriously lacking. Not a single person of color took the stage (besides a backup dancer or singer), and only one female was on the roster. I’m sure it was unintentional, but it’s not hard to find talented musicians of diverse backgrounds.