Photos: Rock the Garden 2016 – Boom Island, Minneapolis, MN – June 18, 2016

All photos courtesy Joe Stadele Photography.  All rights reserved.

By nearly any measure, Rock the Garden 2016, or should I say Rock the Garden was quite the one off event.  Taking a year off from the Walker Arts Center (due to construction), the festival was held at Boom Island in Northeast Minneapolis.  The two-stage setup worked to everyone’s advantage as there was never more than a 10-minute lull between acts, allowing for 7 bands to perform back-to-back…or with the opposing stages, perhaps stomach-to-stomach might be the better analogy.

While The Flaming Lips were the deserving headliner, Rock the Garden packed this years lineup with exceptional electicism.  Plague Vendor left me, for one, convinced; these rockers as on the rise!  Same goes for Hippo Campus who are a band skilled beyond their years; both fun to listen to and watch…plus your girlfriend or wife will probably dig them as well.  Speaking of local acts, Polica sounded incredible.  With The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne side stage, there seemed to a confidence in lead vocalist Channy Leaneagh’s performance I personally have not witnessed. Set in front of the Minneapolis skyline, Grrrl Party‘s electrifying final performance felt as heart-felt as it was electrifying.  Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats and M. Ward both brought energizing sets which, surprising rocked.  In a departure from his She & Him project, M. Ward even managed to shred.  Thanks for that. Chance the Rapper proved to be so popular with the audience, even the pretend-a-hippies dancing near the opposing stage were dancing and rapping along with Chance.  Of course, we have The Flaming Lips who always bring the festival to, well, the festival.

High points:
Plague Vendor.  Pure awesomeness.
Hippo Campus rocked.
Grrrl Party’s Manchita took a moment to raise awareness of Mental Illness support and care.
The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne singing on the shoulder of Chewbacca.

Low point: An InstaTwitter “Photography” Duo discussing the need to post 6 tweets with iPhone photos during each set.  Shame on you.  Shame on your priorities.  Shame on your parents. #CerseiLannister #Shame

While Rock the Garden’s previous shows at the Walker Art Center have had their perks (namely a hillside view and shorter lines for food and water), the setup at Boom Island was refreshing.  The opposing stages and short wait times were refreshing. Parking was a cinch.  From a photographers standpoint, my one hope is the organizers figure out how to keep iPhone “photographers” more interested in boasting their Instragram and Twitter following than actual photography or simple etiquette towards others.  With that, enough with the words, let’s let the photos do the talking.

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