The UMS, I think, is the indie music fans version of the county fair to farming folk: it's a chance to say hey to a number of friends you haven't seen since last year, maybe see a new thing or two and best of all, catch a few well-loved familiars.
I should've written this in a more timely manner, a month ago or so. But I didn't feel like writing about it until right now. It's not that I didn't enjoy the UMS this year. I did. And it's not that it was too exhausting (though four days were truly too much for me--I took Friday off.)
I will probably never get used to that sampling buffet-style mode of music listening of a festival. There were, as usual, too many bands to even catch a sample of properly. And predictably, I missed a good share of those I would've liked to have seen. The four days were more than I could set aside the time and energy for, so I deliberately skipped Friday and having the underage entourage in tow, I skipped the evening hours of Saturday and Sunday as well. The kids were bummed that they had no all ages opportunity to see the #1 voted band of Ian Cooke. He's pretty all-ages friendly too. Alas, there was still much to see and hear that made it well worth the price of a wristband.
And the UMS does seem to be growing, not shrinking. I heard tell that there were folks who made the trip from outside the rectangle of Colorado to play for the South Broadway crowd. I'm not sure if I caught any of their acts, but I think I must have seen at least one of them on the outdoor stage, which turned out to be a good place to hang out with my all-ages entourage. The skate shop also had a nice little setup with the little bouncy outdoor stage. Fancy Tiger and Rock the Cradle were good places to stop in and catch some acoustic singer-songwriter fare. The church on Lincoln also was a beautiful and unique place to catch some exceptional sounds.
For me, the highlights were: Thursday night at the 3 Kings Tavern with Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and Bad Luck City; Saturday afternoon at Fancy Tiger with Joe Sampson and the church on Lincoln with Kal Cahoone. For my teen-age son, Everything Absent or Distorted on the main stage on Sunday seemed to be the highlight. Chalk drawing on the parking lot also seemed to amuse the very youngest of rockers. I was glad that I bought Walgreens out of the last of their summer sidewalk chalk, because not a speck was wasted. Next year I'm bringing a bucket of chalk.