Loyd Van Horn

The Hoodoo Music Festival. A New Upstate Tradition?

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The Hoodoo Music Festival. A New Upstate Tradition?

The inaugural Hoodoo Music Festival (HMF) rocked the suburbs on Saturday, December 15th at a house venue in Greenville, SC. Nine musical guests brought exquisite sonic sensations that titillated eardrums from the early afternoon to the late evening.

The Hoodoo Music Podcast-a fortnightly show featuring musicians from the Upstate of South Carolina-served as the catalyst and inspiration for the event. Mark Jones, the podcast’s host, relates the origins of the festival. “Several people who are supporters of the podcast and the local scene at large decided that they wanted to put together a festival of bands who have been on the podcast,” Jones said.

The planning and execution of the event was an organic and harmonious undertaking with love for local music being the prime motivator. Lin Young and her husband Tom Goss hosted the event at their house venue, Turkey Point South. “When we heard there was going to be a Hoodoo Music Fest, we immediately offered our house,” Young said. Turkey Point South offered a spartan, yet cozy atmosphere; an unfinished, unheated basement made warm and inviting by the conviviality of the hosts and the passion of the performers and festival goers.

The festival sported a diverse lineup of musicians and groups reflecting favorably on the eclectic variety of the Upstate scene.

Singer-songwriter Gray Lee (the driving force behind Houdini Mansions) kicked off the festivities with his dark-folk musical stylings. Lee delivered a rousing improvisation of the Hoodoo Music theme with musicians from other bands providing guest accompaniment.

Gray Lee kicks off the festival.

Gray Lee kicks off the festival.

The festival’s momentum kept building with Revelator taking the stage and serving up 90s alt-rock nostalgia in heaping dollops.

Revelator started at “11” and then cranked it well past that for their blistering set.

Revelator started at “11” and then cranked it well past that for their blistering set.

The event then returned to a coffee-shop vibe with singer-songwriter Loyd Van Horn’s energetic folk rock and raspy vocals.

Loyd Van Horn.

Loyd Van Horn.

Genre-wise, the HMF took an abrupt left-turn with rapper Ty Graves laying down his wicked flows over deliciously grooving beats.

Ty Graves takes the stage.

Ty Graves takes the stage.

The musical mash-up continued with genre-defying rockers Finding Freedom playing songs ranging from country, classic rock and nu-metal. The Apartment Club then took the stage delivering blistering post-rock with emotive, melodic vocals. Civility and good sense then took a brief intermission when swamp-punk duo Boo Hag dished out their frenzied, Pabst Blue Ribbon-fueled set.

The rowdiness continued with Horrible Girl and the Hot Mess bringing feisty punk with catchy choruses and power-chorded aggression. The event culminated with Apricot Blush packing the stage as a collective of talented troubadours brewing their unique mojo of indie folk. The night climaxed as the audience donned blue choir robes to sing along with the crowd-favorite Antlers.

Those involved with the event deemed it a roaring success pointing to the fact of being able to collect donations of canned food, money and clothes for the non-profit organization Food Not Bombs. “I personally had a blast,” Jones said. “I think it turned out very well, and we managed to pull together some good donations for Food Not Bombs.”

“We were able to give a pretty substantial donation to Food Not Bombs,” Young said. “And I feel like a bunch of beautiful people had a great night here. I know I did!”

When asked if the HMF will be a yearly event, Jones replied, “I sure as hell hope so!”

Theron Willis

Apricot Blush brought the house down with their crowd-pleaser Antlers! Check the exclusive, live-performance video below!