Fairburn Festival Dazzles with ‘Pretty Lights’
Thousands of cars lined the wooden road leading to Bouckaert Park in Fairburn, GA this past Thursday evening, where the inaugural Counterpoint Music Festival took place.
Almost 20,000 fans from all over the East Coast and Midwest anxiously awaited entry to the festival to set up camp and watch their favorite performers take the stage.
Created by the same producers of festivals such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and Camp Bisco, Counterpoint brought its own unique vibe to the 8,000-acre park.
The three-day festival featured over 70 musicians across various genres. Several hip-hop artists such as Big Boi and Wale, DJs ranging from Bassnectar to Steve Angello and jam bands including Lotus performed on the massive stages scattered throughout the venue.
Similar to many music festivals, Counterpoint drew a crowd perfect for people watching. From girls in neon bikinis and furry boots to men with dreadlocks and tie-dye shirts, the festivalgoers created an atmosphere where Woodstock meets Miami rave Ultra.
Trance-techno artist Abakus and Atlanta based indie rock band Stokeswood started the party on opening night with sets in the Beat and Backbeat tents.
As the sun set over the festival, acts including Adventure Club, Run DMT and Up Until Now performed.
Headliners Beats Antique and Big Gigantic also took the stage for the final two acts in the Beat Tent, attracting a packed house of cheering fans.
Beats Antique presented a distinctive performance equipped with Tribal Fusion belly dancers and tracks from their newest album, Contraption Vol. II.
Big Gigantic, a Colorado-based duo, closed the evening with a set showcasing their most famous songs such as “It’s Going Down” and a remix of Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar”, as well as two unreleased songs off their upcoming album.
Saxophonist Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken generated dubstep-like sounds, keeping the crowd moving for the set’s entirety. The duo closed the set and the first night of the fest with a remix of Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop.”
The next morning, campers woke up to the hot sun, while day-pass attendees made their way back to the park in preparation for another day of music and fun.
Many took advantage of the attractions the festival provided, including a Ferris wheel and free-fall jump platform, before the music began.
Unfortunately, at around 4:00 p.m., the festival was evacuated due to dangerous weather conditions. Intense rain and strong winds forced the crowd to exit the festival grounds and seek shelter.
About an hour later, the rain stopped, but it left behind very muddy grounds for the remainder of the fest.
As people reentered the gates, the music started up again. Sets by Feed Me, MiM0SA, Excision and others took place earlier in the evening, leading into headlining performances by big-name artists Avicii and Bassnectar.
Avicii’s set, complete with colorful lights and blowing smoke machines, had the crowd dancing and cheering from start to finish.
The Swedish DJ played several of his classic songs, including “Levels” and “Seek Bromance”, as well as remixes to other songs.
The crowd sang along as he played a mix of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” into his own “Fade into Darkness.” Avicii’s set concluded with a show of vibrant, noisy fireworks.
Bassnectar, a freeform electronic music artist based in Santa Cruz, Calif., took the stage following Avicii.
Known for his heavy bass and decadent visualizers, Bassnectar closed the main stage with a mesmerizing performance. Bright colors and intricate designs illuminated the backdrop as he played several songs from albums such as Cozza Frenzy, Divergent Spectrum and his latest album, Vava Voom.
During a “trap” remix of his hit “Vava Voom (feat. Lupe Fiasco)”, a group of spirited fans roamed the crowd in a congo line with a crafted dragon above their heads, painted with several song lyrics and the iconic Bassnectar teardrop logos.
Performances by Alesso in the Beat Tent and DJ A-Trak in the Backbeat Tent were the final acts of the night.
Saturday was perhaps the most diverse in regards to the artist lineup. Performances by rock artist Toro Y Moi, hip-hop artists Wale and Big Boi and jam bands such as Lotus truly generated a break from the predominant electronic scene at the festival.
However, by the time night fell, techno beats and bass drops had a leading presence in the park.
Steve Angello was the first headliner to take the main stage. Angello played his own classic house beats as well as songs from his work with Swedish House Mafia. During “Save the World”, Angello engaged the crowd by having everybody sit on the ground while the song built up. As soon as the beat dropped, everybody immediately rose up and began to dance and jump to the music.
Next up was Skrillex, a Grammy Award winning dubstep artist. The Los Angeles-born DJ opened his set with a multitude of glitch beats and heavy bass lines with the song, “Right In.” Known for his impressive light shows, Skrillex captivated the crowd with bright, smoky lights and lasers shooting into the sky above the stage.
The last headliner to perform on Saturday night was Derek Smith, better known by his stage name, Pretty Lights. Smith’s performances present funky, “trip hop” electronic beats, producing a sound unlike any other in the electronic dance scene.
As the name suggests, Pretty Lights’ performances are always combined with elaborate light shows, captivating the crowd into a psychedelic-like trance.
The crowd swayed back and forth, mesmerized by the visual show while Smith played some of his most famous songs, including “Finally Moving,” “Hot Like Sauce” and “Total Fascination.” As the last song came to a close, vibrant fireworks of all colors filled the night sky to conclude the headlining acts of the main stage.
Although the headliners were finished and many of the festival-goers were beginning to leave, house artist Laidback Luke was still to perform in the Beat Tent, while Zedd, a dubstep musician, took the Backbeat Tent.
Once both sets finished at 2:00 a.m., Counterpoint had officially come to an end.
As campers went back to their tents and day-pass guests drove home, glow sticks and empty water bottles were all that remained strewn on the muddy festival grounds – the result of one giant, raging party.
— By Kevin Fanshawe