Milwaukee, WI’s Summerfest — “The World’s Largest Music Festival” — played host to over 700,000 people this year, and some of our CONNECT artists took to the stages to entertain them. Schuyler from the CONNECT Team chatted with Glass Lux (Chicago, IL), Ogden Payne (Austin, TX), Catbath (Minneapolis, MN), Bailiff (Chicago, IL), Sammy Brue (Ogden, UT), Forgotten Species (Chicago, IL), and Golden Age (New York, NY) about their journeys to Wisconsin, their favorite moments from the festival, and more.
Was this your first time performing at a major music festival?
Glass Lux: Yes! We couldn’t believe we got the opportunity to do so. Still awesome to be like ” yeah, we played Summerfest!”
Ogden Payne: Yes, this was the first time performing at a major music festival, but definitely won’t be the last. The atmosphere at festivals is noticeably different than at a regular venue or a television performance.
Sammy Brue: [Sammy was one of the youngest performers at Summerfest – ed. ] I’m getting used to being one of the youngest performers by now — but I know I’m still beating Emi Sunshine by a few years! It does make you feel like you need to prove you belong on the stage though.
Bailiff: It was not our first major fest but it was our first Summerfest. Being a midwest band, we’ve had Summerfest on our wishlist for awhile.
Golden Age: Yes. It was everything we hoped it would be and more. We’ve all been to lots of music festivals and it was surreal to be on the performer side this time. I cried my eyes out when The Flaming Lips played “Do You Realize??” the next night — it was so special to see one of our favorite bands play at a festival where we had just played.
How was your trip to Summerfest?
Forgotten Species: It was generally smooth with one little hiccup – due to a miscommunication, my bass was left in Chicago. So we had to scramble a bit – asking a friend’s band who also played, connecting with the stage manager to try and find a bass on the grounds, etc. But it all worked out – Summerfest loaned me a nice bass and we played as planned.
Catbath: Aside from having to get up before noon to make it there on time, the drive was fun. We got lots of stares in the small town Wisconsin gas stations, probably because Crystal was wearing her lime green children’s skort and we all had matching shirts on.
Golden Age: The last time I was in a car for over 15 hours, Mark (guitar), Ryan (bass) and I were heading to Tennessee for Bonnaroo in 2011. So I already knew we’d make a great road trip crew. But this time around, packing up the car knowing we were on our way to play at a festival rather than attend one was an incredible feeling. We were really giddy and delirious for most of the ride. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time for stops on the way, but we did get to try deep dish pizza in Chicago – we were all first timers.
What was Milwaukee like?
Glass Lux: Milwaukee was great. To be honest, we were all taken aback about how nice people were. Coming from Chicago, we’re used to a certain attitude. But everyone was so nice and helpful, from the woman directing traffic in the bus lot to the people working the beer tents. There’s happy enzymes in the water or something.
Forgotten Species: I love Milwaukee – we all do, in fact. We enjoy a lot of radio support there and have played there pretty often. I grew up on the north side so my whole family was in attendance, and Nixon (keys) is a partner in a bar/restaurant in Bayview so our ties to the city run pretty deep.
Golden Age: Milwaukee is a wonderful city. The people are warm and welcoming, and I think they like to drink beer as much as we do! The staff and the crowd at Summerfest were so kind to us. We’ll definitely stop back to play in Milwaukee if we ever tour the Midwest.
What was your favorite moment from your set? How was the crowd’s response?
Glass Lux: Favorite moment in the set was when groups of people from another stage started coming over to see what was going on. Felt cool to know they left the other stage where a band was still playing to see what we were all about.
Forgotten Species: I am actually about 8 months pregnant so there were a few jokes about that. At one point Blake asked the crowd if they thought we should change our name to “Ultrasound,” which got a fun response.
Ogden Payne: The favorite moment from the set was performing the last song, “Back In The Day”. The amount of energy and love we felt from the crowd was unlike any other performance. Also, pointing out certain people in the crowd during the set was fun and kept everybody into the set. Seeing the amount of crowd growth from the beginning to the end solidified the fact that “if the music is good, the people will come.”
Catbath: Our favorite moment from the set was having a couple fans singing all the words to our songs right up front. We hadn’t experienced that at an outta town show. I guess that would qualify as a crowd response.
Golden Age: The people were our favorite–we were so grateful to have an incredibly attentive audience. The crowd was much bigger than we expected, and only grew as our set went on. Just the fact that the audience stayed for our entire set was an awesome feeling.
We’re used to playing at bars in NY where people are constantly walking in and out. But to look out to a sea of faces and feel like they’re actually listening to the words and music we’ve worked so hard on was really rewarding. I know I will forever keep a photo memory of that lovely crowd in my brain.
Check out all of these artists below!