2012 Hyperion Music & Arts Festival

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Rolling up to a festival while both UV Hippo and IndigoSun are playing is an awesome problem to have. And the schedule for the very first Hyperion Music & Arts festival was packed like this all weekend. Basically about 90% of the Midwest jam & electronic scene was there, from top to bottom it covered nearly every angle and carried many heavy hitters. But the awesome lineup was only one part of what made Hyperion such a fantastic festival. There was so much live painting going on everywhere, incredible performance art, the lights at both stages were top notch, and the overall energy was glorious. From the moment of arrival on Friday to leaving on Sunday morning, positive vibes resonated throughout the entire festival.

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Lucas Ellman from IndigoSun

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Joe Phillion from UV Hippo

The two-day format of Hyperion was the ideal way to end the 2012 festival season. A four-day festival at this point would have been exhausting, but Hyperion packed all the awesome into two rowdy days. IndigoSun under the cover of darkness is always a special thing and they continued their rocket-shot summer with another classic set. UV Hippo spread out a trademark walloping festival set as well, with a sliced up “Hey Tommy” and “Words” double sandwich that showcased the deft control they have over songs from every era of their catalogue. Two sets in and the weekend was off to a tremendous start.

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But those were just a warmup for Future Rock, who brilliantly filled the shoes of a headliner. The awesome thing about Future Rock in 2012 was how much material they now possessed after releasing two stellar EPs in just over a year’s time. Their sets always create a rollercoaster ride of tension swells and euphoria releases, but the way they’ve began to meander through the eras this year added a fun new element to their shows. This set in particular seemed to dip into all the pools, from “Tranzmission” from the most recent release, “Nights” from the previous EP, even back to the oldie “Sun Lips,” they polished off every angle of Future Rock power. They seized the energy of the headlining slot, whooped it up & psyched up the crowd at every opportunity, and spread their infectious explosive energy throughout the surprisingly large crowd. For a small festival in its first year, it’s hard to set expectations for attendance too high. But whatever the expectations, they were certainly shattered — the barn was bumpin on Friday night, Future Rock crushed it yet again.

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The Friday fun was hardly over as Strange Arrangement took over the barn next. This almost felt like a headliner set as well: there were just as many people and Strange has become an absolute beast of a band. They showed their signature blend of grace & strength up and down the set, with a mid-stream “Siete” holding down the classics, a bold cover of “Electric Avenue” (with Russ from Hippo sitting in), and their newest powerhouse song “Corner Store” providing some late set explosives. Strange Arrangement has reached a point where they never, ever disappoint, they are always on top of their game.

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Danny Biggins from The Coop

The party moved to the tent to wrap up night one as Psychedelic Elephant Machine Gun (aka PEMG, a UV Hippo side project) and The Coop kept things going until the small hours. PEMG is a stripped down, fully instrumental version of Hippo with a much stronger emphasis on the electro-rock end of the spectrum. They played fast & loose, whipping up a dance frenzy in the crisp air of the middle of nowhere Indiana. After a short intermission, The Coop picked up right where PEMG left off, eventually pushing the energy even higher as the tent remained packed full of music-hungry savages. There’s something completely inspired about The Coop when they get to play late at night, in an environment like this. Their jams got downright sinister at times, creating an electrifying dark energy that caused you to dance a little slower, but much harder. They tore through an hour-plus set, keeping the energy flow moving the entire time, right up until curfew. There wasn’t a single act on this day that didn’t completely kick ass. Day one was a massive success.

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Jeremy Frazier is the editor-in-chief of Soundfuse.