Utopia Fest 2018

We made it!

We’re currently waiting with all our camping gear. A shuttle should come in the next hour or so to take us to the GA campground. It’s a small cluster but Easy Like Sunday Morning is playing and it’s 70 and sunny outside. We’re going to miss Dawn & Hawks but Patty Griffin and Rubblebucket are playing later. We won’t miss that!

We’re on the bus! Gotta watch out for black cows cause somebody left the gate open. 🙂

Waiting in line was fun. We met John, Leah, and her husband (forgot his name). We’re on our way now! It’s still a total cluster.

Camp is set up and we found Casey’s buddy Bird! Also John from the line is our camp buddy. We’re near the point and the bridge and we’re told it might be a party. We were warned! The kid friendly camp is up the hill and the car camping is across the water.

Kalu and the Electric Joint (Austin)

This band is like a fine wine. Every song they played was better than the last. Groovy, gravely, funky, a little soulful but not too slow.


Lisa LeBlanc (Montreal/ soon to be NOLA)

French Canadian female rocker, with a banjo! I love Canadians and Canadian Bands! This one is Acadian Canadian. 🇨🇦


The Deer (Austin)

Someone said their female lead needs more force behind her voice. I didn’t understand until he leaned over and said, like that at the Wild Child show. Still, their harmonies and performance was worth watching and I have high hopes for the future of this band.


Wild Child

At home, singing songs in the Hill County on a perfect November Saturday. Damn, that was good.


Keller Williams

I didn’t actually watch a lot of this, but I heard it. All Tom Petty and it was great.


I hurt my leg last Sunday on an epic kayaking trip, almost broke it. It’s black and blue so by this part of the night I was pretty beat but needed to hang in there. The great thing about Utopia fest is that stages don’t overlap. When one is done, the other starts and they are close together so even if you don’t migrate, you can still take in the music.

Patty Griffin

Ahh Patty. I love you. Her voice wasn’t as strong as it was at HSB but she carries a strength and wisdom in her performance like a strong Oak tree. She’s seen some shit.

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real

At one point shortly into the set, the Clarke Kent looking Lukas thanked everyone on his crew, followed by “we may have all just taken mushrooms, at least I think that’s what it was”. (The next morning I heard someone talking about the enormous amount of chocolate shrooms he gave Lukas.) I guess being Willie Nelson’s son, it takes a bit more to shake ’em because the performance was great. He’s at the top of his game right now with A Star Is Born doing so well at the box office. Did you know Bradley Cooper worked with Lukas on the movie to perfect his singing? Haven’t seen it but I hear it’s great! Congrats Lukas!


One of my favorite lyrics: “It’s amazing, I came out of a lady hole.” This dance, pop, smart-modern band will make you smile, think and dance it out. They still have the fun moves and great dance party vibe but this band is maturing into a beautiful work of art, like a St Vincent performance.

I hobbled back to camp and passed out. There was live music all night thanks to our neighbors with the fire pit. Again, we were warned. Fortunately it was pretty good with a song I particularly enjoyed at 8am, “I’m Drunk and I’m Drinkin”.

DAY 2 – Saturday

Rob found Shaun so we went to see her camp and meet Chelsea and Austin. Chelsea and Shaun know each other from college. When we went back to our camp, Bird got out of his tent and we discovered that he was also part of this old college crew. Festival magic. Our friends were already old friends.

I ended up hanging at camp for a bit to rest my leg and listened to the show from across the lake which was perfectly delightful.

SA Pipes – bagpipes for breakfast

Progger – Prog Rock?

Trouble in the Streets – NOLA Brass?

Particle Kid – I liked this sound. They got me motivated to move.

Hikes – harder rock than I expected but good female led rock and roll



I really didn’t expect to love this band as much as I did but they were so good! Hailing from Sweden, the three gals sing folk rock, mostly in English but their traditional Swede bar ballad was beautiful and super fun! The female banjo player has a kick drum! Catch them if you can!

Hard Proof – Local Austin Jam Band

Choir!Choir!Choir! – A good idea in concept was too much for a late night stage. Hopefully many festi-goers took this opportunity to batten down the hatches. A lightning storm was on the horizon.

The duo invited Kelsey from wild Child to sing Hallelujah after spending 30min teaching the audience the harmony. It was tedious and the outcome questionable but I love singing harmony and had enough whiskey to make it fun.


Valerie June – I find her kinda kitchey sometimes but really enjoyed this performance. She is a solid musician and has a beautifully weird voice, look, and personality.


Calliope Musicals – Damn. They really nailed this performance. This band is ready for a big festival like Bonnaroo or Coachella. They sounded great, were so much fun to watch and really filled up the space.


I walked home to Medeski Mad Skillet. Stopped and hung with Shaun for a bit as we strategized the coming lightning storm. Went back to camp, battened down the hatches and listened to STS9. The rain started pouring as the last song ended!

Getting out in the morning was a little tricky with the mud. The guys caught a ride from Bird to their cars and then we hiked our stuff out rather than wait for the shuttle. It wasn’t too bad and we got to hang with our friends new and old, one more time.

Thanks for the good times Utopia Fest!

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