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Summerset Fest: Day One

Aug 16, 2014


Summerset Festival, located in Somerset, Wisconsin is a sprawling three-day festival featuring an EDM and rap heavy platoon of artists. Basically I went to see Danny Brown, where I planned to use my press pass talk with him before I shook his hand and congratulated him on a nice set. Then I would record him saying, “This is Danny Brown and you’re listening to Radio K. Real college radio,” before I asked him why he wore a black leather jacket on-stage in the 86-degree Somerset sun. This would have gotten me a nice pat on the back, but I didn’t get a press pass due to unforseen circumstances. I didn’t make the article I planned on. So instead we walked through the crowd, Sam and I (I am Samuel), talking to interesting people about music and life and seeing a lot of this:


Here are some of the people we met along the way, along with set pictures and descriptions for Danny Brown and Chromeo, both of whom drew large and enthusiastic crowds. I would have liked to have seen Gemini Club, but I was stood up for my press pass by a man who is either incredibly busy or incredibly forgetful. Without further ado, the people and sights of Summerset Fest 2014 (note: quotes are as close as I could guess based on my scribbled shorthand):


Name: Cees

From: Forest Lake, MN

Came to See: Bokken


Name: Son Deezy

From: Wilmington, NC

Came to See: Chromeo

“Favorite artist for like, six years and I’ve never seen him live.”



Name: John

From: Minneapolis, MN

Came to See: Wu-Tang Clan and Kaskade


Name: BO (for real, that’s what she told me)

From: ???

Came to See: “I came for free stuff.”

I didn’t see any free stuff. In fact it cost the average attendee almost $170 simply to park their car in a lot that was just days before a grass field. These events are organized and designed to make money at every turn. Ironically, parking was available for free on a street three blocks away. Sam and I walked five minutes and we were there.


Name: Marco

From: Minnetonka, MN

Came to See: Kaskade

“I dunno man. I’ve never seen him before so I was like--” he said before turned and walked away.



I’ve seen Danny Brown quite a few times. Still, or perhaps because of this, I was super excited to catch his set. Apparently I wasn’t alone. The Hybrid drew a massive crowd that knew the lyrics to every song he played, which I know because SKYWALKR was cutting the beat out on almost all of Danny’s super numerous punch lines. He played songs of now and of yore (though nothing off of The Hybrid which was a bit of a disappointment for me), with a heavy influence on Old’s Side B--that’s the hyphy side--and his set list went like this:


1-Break It (Go)--Old

2-Smokin’ and Drankin’--Old

3-Red 2 Go--Old



6-I Will--XXX

7-Dope Song--Old



10-Kush Coma--Old

11-25 Bucks--Old



Name: Jordan

From: West Kentucky

Came to See: Danny Brown



Name: Josh

From: Michigan

Came to See: Russ Liquid, Manic Focus, Kaskade

“I love chill music man; I love the funk; people need to bring back the funk.”


Name: J$ (who comes up with this stuff?)

From: Minneapolis, MN

Came to See: Wu-Tang Clan

When I asked her if she thought all of Wu-Tang would be there (implying all living members) she scoffed and said, “ODB ain’t gonna ****ing be there.”


Name: Devon

From: MPLS

Came to See: Danny Brown


Name: Cliff

From: Arkansas

Came to See: Bassnectar and Wu-Tang Clan


These eccentric free spirits are Sheena and Mike, creators of giant puppets that float through the crowd during the larger sets that have crazier lights. During the daytime they have single person puppets that actors and puppeteers get inside to walk around and interact with the audience. I can imagine that in the blazing sun this is not a very fun job, and I noticed that when I talked to her Sheena was not in one of the suits but back at Astral Gypsies home base under a large canopy. The benefits of being the builder I guess.



Name: Max

From: Milwaukee, WI

Came to See: Bassnectar

“I’ve never even taken a hit from a cig.”


Name: Aaron

From: Minneapolis, MN

Came to See: Figure

“I love that gritty, gross dubstep.” To each their own Aaron.


Names: Heather (left) and Kelly (right)

From: Osceola, WI

Came to See:

“Oh, we came to sell beer, but it is very interesting,” Heather. I asked Heather what the last concert she attended was and she told me she had just seen Paul McCartney. She is apparently very eclectic. The last concert Kelly had seen was Styx and Foreigner. When I asked what they thought of the drug culture and the safety of the concert (like whether they’d want their sons or daughters to attend) they disagreed. Heather said absolutely not, but Kelly’s daughter attended last year. Diff’rent strokes.


Names: Shawn and Dave

From: Thunder Bay, Canada

Came to See: Chromeo

Dave: “I don’t really care what Chromeo song specifically. All of their songs kick ass.”


Name: Davis

From: Neptune

Came to See: Flux Pavillion

Davis also told me why so many people in the massive crowd carry large poles with flags on the end, and no it is not for when these mobs of people eventually do battle. Davis tells me that it’s to help people identify their group because some people have groups upwards of 40 people in that crowd. He also said many people carry walkie-talkies so they have open lines of communication when the sets end. This is pretty ingenious stuff.



Chromeo is awesome. Between the lights, the laid back dance-funk, which my Rock And Roll Over co-host Merv described perfectly as something that “washes over you,” and the way they involve the crowd, with dance moves (“All right now we’re gonna two-step”) and strange commands (“I need to see more girls on shoulders Summerset...there we are that’s better”) they’re a fantastic band to watch. Their light show is also fantastic, brilliant flashes of white hot light bouncing off Chromeo’s chrome (obviously) guitar, beaming into the audience. He definitely played for over an hour and in a deep pocket of the amphitheatre boys and girls with LED hoola-hoops and other swingable trinkets finally got to show-off the tricks they were practicing at Hidden Beach for the entire summer. If you’ve been to Hidden Beach in the last two years you know exactly what I’m talking about.


Written by Sam Howard

Photos by Sam Plasch