Inaugural Fortress Festival
April 29th-30th, 2017
Fort Worth Cultural District – Fort Worth, Texas
Festival season has officially begun, and what better way to bring in this beloved time of year than with the presence of a brand new North Texas contribution – Fortress Festival. Though not completely seamless, given the supposed promise of bad weather and a few minor crinkles to iron out, the event did pleasantly well for its first stand.
The festival was hosted on the grounds of Fort Worth’s cultural district with two main stages, The Modern at the Modern Art Museum and Will Rogers Stage at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. This was somewhat of a drawback the first day of the event, as the the trek from one performance to another between the two seemed cumbersome. Come the second day of the festival, this had been sorted out – at least for media and other credentialed persons, while patrons still had a few issues with this.
Though no substantial rain fell throughout the weekend, an unexpected cold front did plague the grounds, coming on swiftly about halfway through the first day. This was likely an utter shock to those adorned in lightweight shorts and tank tops. The performers were all very lighthearted about this, though, as Houndmouth laughed, “It is a little chilly outside, but at least it’s not Fyre Fest,” during Day 1, and lead singer of Slowdive, Rachel Goswell, proclaimed on Day 2, “I’m having a great time, even though it’s cold as sh*t!”
As aforementioned, the impending weather that was suspected to have struck the grounds midday Saturday never occurred, albeit by then three local acts had been cancelled proactively. Local performers such as Sam Lao, Sudie, Blue, the Misfit, So So Topic, and Quaker City Night Hawks did take the stage, however, and set a very high standard for future metroplex bred acts.
Day 1 consisted of a very trippy and near epilepsy-inducing spectacle from none other than Flying Lotus, a known anomaly in the production world for his genre-defying experimental sounds, and whose live visual prowess is unmatched. Concert goers enjoyed an hour long set filled with iridescent lighting and footage from the performer’s music video catalog. Following this was an ampted up performance from Run The Jewels, complete with the duo’s signature “fist and gun” hand gesture set up. El-P and Killer Mike were chummy as ever as they performed cuts from Run The Jewels 1, 2 and 3, a true delight for the true hip-hop heads in attendance who chimed in to every tune.
Pschedelic Cambodian mashup Dengue Fever flew in from LA to give a very zestful flair to Day 2, setting the tone for an amicably light day, though not too much of a stark contrast in comparison to Saturday’s hip-hop infused line-up. The second act for the day on The Modern stage consisted of a mystifying performance from the Golden Dawn Arkestra, a spectacle one could only define as something comparable to an out of body experience. Quaker City Night Hawks stirred up the ever growing crowd just before Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats showed everyone how to get on the good foot. Following was Slowdive, who spell-bounded the concert-goers with their tranquil melodies, almost taking them off guard for the final act.
Finally, Purity Ring concluded the night with an elaborate display of lights, a gleaming and flashing array of spectacular colors that sent the audience into a frenzy as the duo performed hits such as “Stranger Than Earth” and “Begin Again”. This was noted to be one of the last performances for the band for quite some time for creative solace, and given this fact they made certain to go out with a memorable bang.
In essence, Fortress Festival offered a very solid and impressive first year go round. We are super excited to see what the future holds for Giant Noise’s latest addition to the namesake of North Texas festivals, and we hope to only see it grow and thrive in the years to come.