Reminiscing on my Counterpoint experience, all 72 hours of festival madness is both a gleeful blur and a scrapbook of memories. Imagine thousands being sequestered into a secluded, North Georgia forest. You feel isolated from the world, a temporary vacation where money means unlimited supplies of food and beverage, multiple genres of musical acts all prominent in their respected fields for your entertainment, and every kind of vice at your fingertips to abuse. Does this not sound like heaven for a raver? This bacchanal utopia embodies the rebellious spirit of rock-n-roll, the swagger of hip-hop, and the unorthodox energy of EDM. This fuels the magic that is Counterpoint – the gathering of cultures in harmony.
Where else could you go and see Rich Homie Quan and Foster the People? Janelle Monae and STS 9? Outkast and Flosstradamus? Music vibrated on the tip of the April’s breeze, sinking into ear drums demanding bodies to move. Hoards of people stampeding from stage to stage trying to catch the holy ghost of every performer, I couldn’t believe the diversity and how easily one could have his hands up for J.Cole and then walk across the field to jam with XXYYXX. It’s a thrilling rush trying to catch all of your favorites while uncovering unknown talent. Stamina is critical, there were plenty of hammocks bedding the weary – a few even took refuge on the ground, but the most impressive were the ones that danced with a disco fever; moving as if their souls were aflame, these few energizer bunnies bounced around nonstop encouraging the surrounding bystanders to follow in their stead. How could one not have fun when surrounded by all this life?
All weekend there was a consistent, serene sense of positivity exuding from all the festival goers. No malice or maliciousness, I didn’t witness a single act of violence for my entire duration. No one raged when the urinal line began to resemble Footlocker during a midnight Jordan release. The stress-less environment helped the temporary vacation exemplary. Everyone was friendly, chummy, in complete brother/sisterhood. Maybe being trapped within nature’s bosom or all the available forms of intoxication mellowed any raising tension. To be surrounded by requited, open-mindedness’ allows the possibility to enjoy yourself without fear of judgment, Counterpoint is home to fearless individuality. From clothing (or the lack there of) to the flags waving proudly; a nice reminder that people can take pride in their uniqueness. It never got weird enough.
If asked my favorite moment from the festival it happened on the last day. Unfortunately, I didn’t camp (my only regret) so I wasn’t able to immerse myself in the complete experience. Every day I got there a bit late, missing several early acts but Sunday the traffic was horrendous, bumper to bumper, everyone eager to see Outkast I presume. By the time I arrived at the camp grounds, a woman informed that a storm was forthcoming and that no one would be allowed access inside. A safety hazard, the festival was being evacuated while an ominous cloud stretched across the sky taunting to ruin the party. Some departed; others stood outside and dared the rain to fall as if they would greet lightning with lightning. Parked next to us were two sweethearts from Paste magazine that offered refuge in their SUV with plenty of beer and champagne to hold us over. Not to mention an additional 12 pack supplied by a generous man from Heineken. We drank, traded stories, and more people arrived (DJ Buhay from Chicago, his model girlfriend Carly, and Jonathan Landrum – a writer from the Associated Press) it soon became our own private fiesta. What was once a dreaded waiting period became exactly what one could desire from a festival setting, simply enjoying the company of strangers.
Every performer I encountered brought their talents to Counterpoint. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that despite all the incredible performances, Outkast left the lasting impression. The two touched the stage and you felt a wave of magic that could only flow from legends. Bombs Over Baghdad to start a drive down memory lane, the stream of timeless hits drop one after another filling us with explosions of nostalgia. I never imagined hearing the story of “Suzy Screw” and “Sasha Thumper” in the flesh, the glorious SpottieOttieDopaliscious horns intoxicating the air, Killer Mike emerging to slay his verse in “The Whole World”, there wasn’t a single, superfluous moment. The duo’s chemistry had improved since their debut at Coachella; stage presence was much more fun and energetic, the rust formed after a 10 year hiatus is starting to shine again. The performance was like walking into a museum and a wing over relics from 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2003. It shouldn’t be viewed behind a computer, you’ll never understand the electricity that filled the air and how unforgettable that short hour and a half was. Long live Outkast, long live Counterpoint; hopefully we can do it all again next year.