Indianapolis, Indiana’s historic Garfield Park roared to life with an incredible selection of music this past weekend as the first ever Holler on the Hill festival brought an impressive lineup of artists and sounds to the south side of the city. Local promoter Josh Baker was the driving force behind the event, who intends to make the main amphitheater of the park a concert destination for nationally touring artists.
Boasting over 30 acts on the lineup Holler on the Hill jumped right into the fray full of ambition. Not many first year festivals take on such a big lineup, and very, very few pull it off as well as Holler on the Hill did this year. Featuring 3 stages running steadily the event went down without any kind of noticeable hitches. The sound from all the stages was excellent, and most importantly the sound from one stage did not affect the sound of another.
The event was wonderfully orchestrated, featuring more than just the music on stage. Various activities in a common area between all of the stages took place all weekend including volleyball, ping pong, cornhole, a giant connect 4, and many others that event goers could freely come and participate in. Some of the city’s best food trucks came out to the event providing reasonably priced food options. Affordability was an emphasis for the event, and that was achieved with flying colors. $9 bought you a stainless steel event cup that was good for free refills at the soda fountain all weekend long.
The event also organized limited meet and greet packages with nearly all the artists appearing on the weekend, and gave them away to fans attending the event at no charge, and even included a professionally taken photograph courtesy of the event.
What made Holler on the Hill really different however was it’s lineup, and the diversity it offered. There was something here for fans of all kinds, and all of the artists were similar enough that there is no way you could come away from this event and not be a fan of someone new. A rich blend of folk, country, soul, rock, and rhythm kept the park hopping all weekend long, with many fans excited to make their next musical discovery
Of all the events I have covered this year this one was the hardest. The scheduling of all three stages left me with not enough time to see everything I wanted to see. Sometimes I found myself short on time at one stage trying to make my way to another before it was too late, and sometimes there were stages I just couldn’t get away from because what they were offering was just too damn good. So with that said here is the official Country Music Armadillo rundown of the things I saw at Holler on the Hill 2018!
Kentucky’s own Kelsey Waldon kicked off the action Saturday at the “Backwoods Stage” with a set of her own music. The Saturday weather was a little cantankerous, overcast and cold for September, but that didn’t stop Waldon and her band from bringing the heat. The late arriving crowd continued to grow throughout her set, and they gave their best to the ones who made their way back to the stage.
Click HERE to see our full gallery from Kelsey’s Holler on the Hill set!
Kicking off the Main Stage was Jeremy Pinnell. I knew of Pinnell before the event, but I wasn’t what you would call familiar with his work. Seeing him live on the stage confirmed that I needed to rectify that. I was only able to catch a small portion of his set, but his deep, emotion-filled songwriting was on full display. My disappointment that I didn’t get to catch more of his set than I did has fueled me to dig deeper into his work on my own, and get out and catch him again as soon as I can.
Click HERE to see our full gallery from Jeremy’s Holler on the Hill set!
Jonathan Tyler on the Backwoods Stage was the next set on the afternoon that I caught. I had only sparingly heard Tyler, but it was his soulful voice that caught my attention as I made my way towards his stage. Backed up by excellent guitar player Leroy Powell and his latest project the Whiskey Wolves of the West, Tyler made a fan of me with his honest songs and passionate delivery.
Click HERE to see our full gallery from Jonathan’s Holler on the Hill set!
Sam Morrow was one that I made an appointment to see during the event, and he and his band did not disappoint. Accompanied by a hearty mix of country, rock, and folk Sam and his band blazed the Backwoods stage audience with their set. Sam’s skills as a songwriter and guitarist were featured prominently throughout their badass set.
Click HERE to see our full gallery from Sam’s Holler on the Hill set!
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band roared to life over on the Main Stage, and what a badass, high energy time it was. I’ve never see the Big Damn Band, and I am partially ashamed to admit that because we are practically neighbors. We’ve had plans to see them on more than one occasion and it just hasn’t ever come to pass, which is now something I thoroughly regret. It was one of the sets on the weekend I had a difficult time getting away from because I enjoyed it so thoroughly.
Click HERE to see the full gallery from Rev. Peyton’s Holler on the Hill set!
Jesse Dayton was at the top of my list to see on Saturday. I have long been a fan of the Austin, Texas native, but I had not yet been fortunate enough to catch him live. The wait was certainly worth it. Dayton is an incredibly well rounded entertainer, telling the stories behind his songs between them, and then playing them like he lived them on the stage. His set attracted one of the biggest of the day to the Backwoods stage, and in one of the most badass moments of the weekend Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, having just finished their own set over on the main stage, made their way up to sing one with Dayton.
Click HERE to see the full gallery of Jesse’s set from Holler on the Hill!
Amanda Shires was my next appointment viewing over on the Main Stage, another show I had yet to see, and one I can’t wait to see again. Shires is a wonderful musician playing both guitar and fiddle during her show, all while adding her incredible vocals to one hell of a band behind her. The technical excellence of her band is unmistakable, and Amanda herself compliments them well with her own presentation and performance. It’s an enthralling total package show that should be seen.
Click HERE to see the full gallery from Amanda’s Holler on the Hill set!
As the sun disappeared and the cold set in my lack of foresight to bring a jacket and dress warmly became and issue. I made my way to the Hilltop Stage to check out Bigfoot Yancey, a wonderful band I first saw earlier this summer opening a package show headlined by the Turnpike Troubadours. Bigfoot Yancey are an excellent modern day stingband featuring an excellent amount of soul and edge. Their set stands out because of the chemistry onstage between them. I didn’t stay to see it all, but I stayed long enough to solidify them in my own mind as a band worth keeping tabs on moving forward.
Click HERE to see our full gallery from Bigfoot Yancey’s set at Holler on the Hill!
Despite the dreary and cool weather, day 1 of Holler on the Hill was a wonderful success. The music that I saw and heard as part of the event met, and exceeded my expectations. I left cold, and tired but excited to be right back for day 2 which would feature sets by Ian Noe, Emily West, Otis Gibbs, Whiskey Wolves of the West, Hayes Carll, Alex Williams, and Colter Wall.