FESTIVAL REVIEW: Middlelands Festival – The Land Before Grime
Before Middlelands Festival, Todd Mission was known mostly for the nationally acclaimed Texas Renaissance Festival. Things will never be the same. Middle Lands was a dynamic festival experience, to say the least, definitely a festival to add to your repertoire for years to come. The festival took place on a well-known grounds for Medieval celebration, the land where the world famous Texas Renaissance Festival takes place.
Over 60,000 beautiful spirits united for nights of music, activity, laughs, and memories that will last forever; Middlelands raised the bar with this insane themed festival experience. People were dressed in a variety of Medieval garbs spanning from knights, goblins, fairies, and queens, to two-man Horse and joust get-ups (perhaps the most interesting sight). Insomniac and C3 really hit the nail on the head with this one, adding an initial layer of community and free-spiritedness with the unique theme. Let’s take a deeper look into what made Middle Lands Fest 2017 a festival that will continue to light up the Todd Mission, TX Sky for years to come.
As you’d imagine the main stage was the most impressive, dynamic stage of them all. Imagine a massive smoke filled castle with blazing pyrotechnics, lanterns, insane visuals, confetti, and a sound system heavy enough to shake the ground and uproot forestry ten miles away. This is Castle Norwoods, where the most world renowned artists gave the crowd everything they paid for. Personally, Marshmello showcased the best performance at Castle Norwoods, taking the crowd on a magical journey through the kingdom. I literally recall witnessing two lovers look into each other’s eyes and cry before kissing to Marshello’s “Alone” ballad. The Castle Northwoods stage was easily top 10 Festival stages that I’ve experienced.
Trinity Vale was a great area to vibe out in passing. It had great light visuals and featured acts such as Billy Kelly, Left/Right, Sage Armstrong and a host of vibe pushers that kept the fest rocking.
The Wench’s Bay
The Wench’s Bay was an eclectic ship stage that boasted house and disco acts rocking out pirate-style. This was a great area to vibe as well and release your inner pirate to the likes of Morpei, Deuce Parks, and Closed Caption.
The Middlelands Arena
The Middlelands Arena was a huge arena in a jousting ring with an enormous “Middlelands” visual backdrop. Insomniac and C3 did a great job with this festival bringing the theme of the festival into a seemingly real renaissance getaway. This is where I saw the two-man unicorn tandem raging the night away to a variety of musical selections. Acts such a Pouya, Getter, Slander, and Snails assaulted a rage-ready crowd and CO-2 and bass waves engulfed the atmosphere.
The Stronghold was a true partier’s area. Located in a pit and open area, it was the area that held no protection from the elements. With the sun beating down this was a stage set for mosh pits and dehydration, but inversely was one of the best music experiences of the festival. The lineup was stacked and the sound system was noticeably more powerful than most of the other areas. The beautiful festival weather made this cage theme with hanging light fixtures a very pleasurable viewing and interactive experience. Crywolf and Herobust set the bar on the Stronghold as far as performances are concerned, leaving fans in awe and begging for an encore.
Most of the sets at Middlelands were exceptional. Marshmello, Slander, and Big Gigantic had particularly notable sets by the way that they engaged the crowd, dropped new exclusive festival tracks and led the crowd on a journey. What particularly stood out was Griz’s performance that had to be delayed because of a crazed fan who stalled the performance by climbing to the top of a tree and having to be brought down by a crane. Although no one was harmed, this could have gone either way. Hats off to Insomniac and C3 for handling the situation in a timely and effective manner. Although it was a nuisance to festival goers, I think we’d all agree that situations like this, when handled effectively, make festival memories and YouTube headlines for a lifetime.
The camping experience at festivals is hands down the arena where festivals get a thumbs up or thumbs down. Middlelands gets a definite thumbs up; let’s dive into camp.
The campgrounds were kept clean and safe; port-a-potties were clean and there were enough available to avoid extremely long lines. The showers, although there was a bit of a wait, were clean and sanitary and in general and the people were in an amazing mood. There were lots of activities going on and a 24-hour party was a reality for some festival goers that I met, citing that they never actually went into the festival because there was so much fun to be had outside of it.
The rides and attractions outside of the festival were a great addition to the overall experience; there were hooping classes, yoga sessions, open talk, magic classes and other insane experiences, but the element that set Middlelands apart was the Sound Camp area. I expect to see a lot of festivals adopt this concept of splitting the nonstop parties from the festival goers that want to catch an early break. The Sound Camp was a non-stop rocking out of like-minded music lovers, local artists, and people looking for new squads to unite with. The great first-year weather was a blessing from above that allowed festival goers to experience this in its totality.
All in all, Middlelands was an amazing experience that the music community and fans alike will enjoy for years to come. From the stages to the unforgettable camping experience, there isn’t much to complain about in the medieval weekend getaway. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s festival, this will be a hard one to top. Let’s hope that nobody decides to take tree climbing to the next level and that Todd Mission continues to get blessed with great weather for the coming years.
Words By: Patrick Toone Adeleye