Only one music festival turns off the loudness button for a weekend.
Stephanie Leet and I split coverage of the QMF, she attended on Friday and I went on Saturday. It was Steph’s first time and reading through her notes on the evening, it was an imaginative experience for me — she was in The Jungle Book for one set, “Twin Peaks” for another. She caught Lee and the Hannafin duo, and Mary Gaitskill which left her unable to take photos, “mesmerized” by the essayist’s reading.
The festival site stays consistent each year, which helps establish it as a tradition, even if you’ve only gone to three. Blankets, lamps, and pillows make Disjecta feel like a campground of blanket forts that maybe you made as a kid. It is a space for grown ups that manages to be family-friendly, as several kids were in the audience.
Chris Johanson says he started the festival so people could enjoy going out to hear music in a less busy and loud environment that is most rock shows. Even though I wasn’t moved to sleep like in previous years, it was still quiet, in that this setting is closer to how I like to enjoy music. It is all about each artist’s world of sound here in the quiet space, with very little distraction.
Of the three QMFs I’ve been to, Saturday night’s program was the loudest I’ve heard. The performances this year kept your attention, rather than serving as backdrops for your own psychedelic inner worlds to play for a while in a public space. Like A Villain is stirring, so you want to be completely awake, to be with her. Sunfoot is funny, like a variety show — you want to watch their every more. Virginia Dare tells great stories with her songs that you want to hear them, maybe reap some advice from her experience.