Written By: Elise Olmstead
Photos By: Grayson Goldman, Josh Timmermans, & Charles Izenstark
Werk Out Music and Arts Festival is my favorite festival…but I might be a little bit biased. After all, The Werks are my favorite band and also dear friends of mine. At the beginning of the Jamwich, The Werks and the Ohio family took us under their wing, and nursed us like little baby birds into the hardcore jam fans that we are now. No matter the lineup of this festival, my favorite attraction is the family that I get to see and vibe with, along with all kind of colorful characters to meet and cherish.
Once again, Taco and I curated the art for the visual art gallery, and this year brought a small group of 12. The gallery itself was huge with plenty of room for the artists to spread out, and we brought talented folks from all different places in the country. I always feel like a proud mama seeing artists from different visions and locations come together in this beautiful space. Staff from all different areas of the festival, from main stage to late night stage, came together to help us set up, and even donated stage lights to light up the night! With so much room to spread out their large pieces and personality, the artists were showcased in a way I felt they truly deserved. Many collaboration pieces also took place…there was so much creativity shining all weekend! The official artist list is posted below, but Blake Bower was also present as was Emily Cooper and Bretamus Acidberry.
The forecast called for rain and spirits were tense on Wednesday, but the clouds all blew over us one by one, and along with the clouds eventually our spirits cleared and made way for blue skies. Legend Valley somehow sits in a perfect spot where rain seems to just miss us! There was some light rain in the mornings, but for the most part the weather was beautiful.
The weekend had so much music to enjoy, whether you were in the mood for something familiar or new, there was a good mix of everything. Broccoli Samurai of course killed their Lotus tribute set on Thursday, and Dopapod has been sounding better than ever (their “Toxic” cover is the tits), Electric Beethoven was a band I hadn’t seen before as was Tronik Vision at the Weird stage at late night.
Thursday night I was feeling great joking with my friends outside of Emancipator, called out a certain band member “Hey it’s the guy that never says hi to me!” and when he responded with a shrug and a lack of reply, instead of hurt feelings I thought it was absolutely hilarious. With all the good vibes around, any curmudgeons were the odd men out.
Friday we started the day with some Grateful Dead tunes by Arrows of Neon, and The Floozies played one of my favorite songs “Cheese.” I hung out with some of the most badass girls I know — The Werks “skreW” girls, who were all working hard and hardly working throughout the weekend. Before The Werktronic set I sneaked away with Ashley Houser to sit with her on the Illuminera swing on the hill. As we talked about our hopes for the future, the love we have for our men, and all the silly stuff in between, I felt a peaceful contentment that filled me up from head to toe. The peacefulness eventually evolved into a full on rage at the Twerkapod set, and I’m proud to say we square danced to “Achey Breaky Heart,” spread our wings to “I Believe I can Fly” and screamed our hearts out to “You Oughta Know.”
Saturday after we checked on the artists, we just happened to swing right into the Werkers Union group photo. It was great timing that we pretended we did on purpose! The day was full of adventures — including being part of a full on golf cart convoy that I’ve never seen before (golf carts rolling 6 deep on a mission!), experiencing the “iAnimal” Virtual Reality booth and conversing about veganism with Rowdy Keelor, hanging with some dear vendor friends Stone Groove Goods and Sunshine Stell, and making sure to visit all of my friends before the weekend was over. Twiddle’s set Saturday night was my favorite set of theirs that I’ve ever seen, and you better bet I sang and cried to “Lost in the Cold,” which I humbly requested (and request every time I see them, they probably get tired of it, but this time they obliged).
The climax was of course The Werks set Saturday night. They dedicated “Golden Shores” to the late Chubby Howard, and there was not a dry eye in the house. Then, like always, there was a surprise. The staff had the great job of herding cats — the cats being The Werks lady crew! They ushered us on stage to give recognition to all the hard work the girls did all weekend (including putting up with their respective men) — and presented Ashley Houser and I with birthday cakes (vegan birthday cakes no less)! It was Ashley’s actual birthday on the 5th, and mine was on the 7th, but I was in full-on celebration mode. The rest of the night I pranced around singing and laughing and raging. Gramatik at the Big Tent and Heady Ruxpin then Concious Pilot at the Weird stage were the perfect way to cap off the weekend.
By Sunday I was sad it was over, but enjoyed a day with the staff laughing and joking about the weekend. The Werks crew and The Werk Out staff works hard and plays hard, a philosophy I also like to live by! The weekend created memories that I will not soon forget – and was the perfect way to reign in a new year of living for me. This festival will always be more than just the music, it’s a feeling. Everyone who takes part is truly special and I’m proud to be a part of it.