Written by Charles “Bones” Frank
Hello friends, salutations, hola, and bonjour! August is upon us, and the sweltering North Carolina heat can only mean one thing- Big Something’s annual monster meltdown, The Big What?, is right around the corner! Whether you’ve been traveling all summer, or eagerly laying in wait for the purest party of the season, the time is imminent. I am greeting you from the urban sprawl of Greensboro, NC, a mere 45 mile jaunt from Pittsboro and the Shakori Hills festival site, which hosted its’ first Big What? last year, after the gathering simply outgrew the previous locations. As I gaze out my window at Greensboro’s downtown skyline, my vision becomes blurred with imagination of what is to come in only a handful of days. The Big What? family will reconvene August 16-18th, and should you choose to attend, whether trekking from near or far, I assure you that because of the incredible speed of your rocket, you trip is short! Now if you kind folk would, “allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Bones, B to the one-z!” Follow me briefly while my plume brushes this page with bubbling fervor in anticipation of the best festival of the year.
The Big What? boasts an eclectic lineup every year, and while this is the 7th annual installment, Big Something and their incredible team has bolstered this event with uniqueness, no matter the size or scape. Speaking personally, I have indulged in the luxury of watching this event grow and take its’ current form. While I will briefly mention some of the a-maze-ing performers and collaborators on this years lineup, I will save most of that colored detail for my wrap up, which can of course be found right here at The Jamwich following the festival. I want to drive one nail home to my readers in regards to this festival- what sells this operation is pure, unadulterated love. Yes, Big Something will obliterate multiple sets and leave attendees wide eyed and drooling. Yes, the likes of Sunsquabi, Vulfpeck’s rhythm guitar master Cory Wong, Come Back Alice, Dr. Bacon and so many more will assault your eardrums with a diverse array of infectious sound. Yes, there will be explosive mystery late night sets to take you away, to a simple place, to outer space, that no one knows. Yes, the themed nights (Jock Jams night one, Where’s Waldo night 2, Who Are You? night 3) ensure incredible crowd participation. Yes, there will be the best visual artists, projectionists, psychedelic painters and the likes to lead your eyes out of their sockets, but these are only a figment of the construct that this magical place stakes its’ claim. What binds The Big What? is love, love my friends, sweet, sweet love.
The relationship amongst the community is so integral to the love that is tangible at The Big What?. Whether this is your first time around, or you are a seasoned member of Big Something’s EWI Nation, you will feel the love. I spoke briefly with Nick MacDaniels to this point, to which he remarked,
“Perhaps my favorite aspect of the festival is the community that has grown around it. It’s sort of become a family reunion for us as a band and it feels like it’s been forever since we’ve played close to home so I’m really excited just to hang out with everyone for a few days and let the experience take on a life of it’s own. I always look forward to seeing how creative the audience as a whole can get with the theme nights and the “what factor” in general. I’m always blown away by the art, the music, the kindness and support of our friends and fans. We really can’t wait to unleash these 6 sets on everyone. We’ve been practicing all Summer for this!”
The festival wraps people in accessibility to their favorite performers on the stage, it boasts the kind of controlled chaos that fosters excitement you may find at larger events, while still being bolstered by a fan and artist base where attendees are connected to one another easily. This is to say that there are no strangers at The Big What?. One or two degrees of separation lock in a fan base that despite enormous and well-deserved growth stays humble and rooted. The What? family gains new members every year that leave feeling replenished, rejuvenated, and that they have found home. I implore you to discover this love that is hiding in the b-e-a-utiful pastures and valleys at Shakori Hills. Like so many of us can relate to, I have attended this event both with people who return physically every year, and with those whom today watch only from the stars above, and every year the love that this family has bottled blesses the crowd. The love that firstly emanates off the stage, resonates through the heap of people, and finds home once again as the first note sings is distinguishably different than any other event your may find yourself. Trust me my friends and follow me into the mysteries that await you at The Big What?.
Find me on site all weekend and revel me in your tale of adventure. The path that lead you into the mist, the tour Tetris you played to pack your car to the gills, the set from the night before that blew your mind. You just may find your remarks amidst my recap!
Ticketing, FAQs, complete lineup, arrival information and much more can be found at www.thebigwhat.com, and if you like what you read here, please follow The Jamwich on all social media channels, and consider subscribing to our paper copy as well! See you at The What?!