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    The Second Year for Moontower Music Festival
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    Will Ford also contributed to this article. 

    Perhaps when hearing the word “moontower” your memory is jogged back to the 19th century; a time when moontowers were used as street lightening because single pole lighting arrangements were impractical. Or maybe you’re reminded of the famous keg party scene at the moontower in one of pop culture’s favorite movies, “Dazed and Confused”. 75 miles east of Louisville, Lexington, has its own take on the word. Moontower means a full day of music, beer, food trucks, and art at Lexington’s very own Moontower Music Festival. Here’s our take on this year’s fest that was held this past Saturday.

    Will: Moontower Music Festival is full of potential. Event company, LexEffect, did the right thing by only growing it incrementally from year one to year two. They doubled the lineup and added at stage while wisely alternating the sets to effectively get the audience’s attention. That said, Moontower needs to take a leap of faith in booking for next year’s festival to get many more people involved. This year’s festival felt like a day-long WFPK Waterfront Wednesday.

    Like Waterfront Wednesday, Moontower allows people to bring chairs and sit under tents. Moontower is a comfortable experience. Food and beer lines were not long and nearly every spot on the lawn has a great view of the stage.

    The lineup was catered well for its area of music consumers. From eastern Kentucky country singer Tyler Childers to Lexington born now Louisville resident Ben Sollee and now two-time headliner Moon Taxi, LexEffect chose bands they expected the area would like. Now they need to bend their genre mission.

    Lead singer of The Weeks, Cyle Barnes, said while on stage, that they knew every band on the lineup and have toured with most of them. I think that is a very wise thing to do. It’s smart to create a band-friendly experience but now, they need to diversify. They have already hooked hundreds of people by bringing this garage/roots rock genre, now for future festivals they should expand their genre choices and bring in more demographics.

    Moontower created a great experience, but my criticism of the event comes from the hope of soon seeing it as a must attend music festival in Kentucky. Last year when I spoke to festival organizers, they said they wanted Moontower to eventually become a three-day festival. This festival has what it takes. It just may take another year or two to get there.

    Katie: In comparison to larger music festivals that are days long with over 40 bands playing four different stages, it was nice to be at a festival where space, lines, scheduling conflicts, and getting lost didn’t exist. the beautiful location at Masterson Station Park, two stages, and 15+ bands provided all the ingredients for a small scale music fest. The crowd size was a little low, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, what makes this festival unique is that it isn’t a massive event. It keeps a small town feel.


    Moontower is a breath of fresh Kentucky air. Unlike Forecastle or Bonnaroo where you get lost in the masses and blur of so many things happening at once, Moontower is relaxed, easy going, and it was impossible to miss anything because artists played back and forth between the two stages. It wasn’t necessary to have a schedule except to know what bands were there. One band would play on the Moon Stage and then after they finished the entire crowd walked to the Tower Stage to catch the next artist. This kind of movement allowed for a greater sense of unity. Earnest connections happened between the artist and the audience. Everyone was more present in the moment. It was like seeing a buddy’s band play a house show. There wasn’t a strange dichotomy. After most bands were finished playing they joined the crowd.

    Part of me wants to be selfish about this festival. I don’t want people know about it because I don’t want it to become another huge music festival. I don’t want it to lose that small-town feel that makes it so special. There is room to grow sure, but at the same time I don’t want to see it become this three-day festival. Moontower is like this rare backyard party you don’t want everyone to find out about. 

    Check out our favorites from the day: 

    Photos by Katie Molck 

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    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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