Soundset 2009 was held on May 30th, and I’ve wanted to do a recap for quite some time. Since, I see they’ve announced Soundset 2010, I thought this would be a good time to let you know what it’s all about. You can check out the official site here: http://www.soundsetfestival.com/
First of all, I’d like to recommend that if you are in the Midwest, or can get here, and you remotely like hip-hop, get your ass to the Twin Cities Memorial Day Weekend.
Parking/Traffic – Traffic sucked heading out to Canterbury, so plan accordingly. There’s plenty of parking once you get there, but leaving, well, as I so eloquently stated before, sucks.
The Lineup/Cost – The lineup was sick. It doesn’t get too much better than this:
Eyedea and Abilities
Tickets cost about 30 bucks, unless you get them through Ticketmaster, where you pay convenience fees, taxes and 2 more bucks for just being assholes (so, about 40 bucks).
The Setup – In 2008, the show was in Minneapolis in the Metrodome parking lot. The beer situation was a joke, as they had 2 lines for beer and the servers were extremely slow. I was convinced that it was some sort of conspiracy to keep people from drinking. It was a hip-hop show, we might start shooting the place up, right? Anyway, this year it was in the ‘burbs at Canterbury Park and they had a much better set up.
There were 2 stages with staggered start times, so if you want to see Blue Scholars and Brother Ali, you can at least catch part of both acts. All starting times were listed once you got in the venue. The B-boy/DJ tent was stationed in the middle of the action and it featured some top notch DJ’s, such as Prince Paul and DJ Nu-Mark. I actually spent a good half hour in the tent just watching Prince Paul, and I may have missed some stuff on the stage, but I was cool with watching a hip-hop icon do his thing.
The sound on these is crap, because it’s from my phone, but here are a couple videos of Prince Paul rocking the DJ/B-boy tent:
The interaction with the artists is one of the big pluses at Soundset. From the artist meet and greets to the merch booths, you have the opportunity to interact with some of your favorite MC’s and DJ’s. Generally, Atmosphere does an early meet and greet to entice fans to come early and catch a lot of the acts that people would normally skip to just come and see some of the headliners. Various other artists have meet and greets throughout the course of the day as well.
If I had to guess, I would say there were at least 50 different merch booths for fans to peruse. There were also merch booths for artists that weren’t even scheduled to perform. It’s a huge promotional tool for unknown artists, or artists that have new material coming out. A couple examples are the booths I saw for Keelay and Zaire and The Grouch and Eligh. Both duos had new music out, or on the horizon, but neither were actually performing. I can’t claim to know a lot about Keelay and Zaire, but I saw The Grouch at his respective merch booth, so it wasn’t like they sent some schmuck to peddle their wares, they were actually there. If you are someone that likes to speak with artists and shoot the breeze, then this is your place to do it. Myself, I’m unable to force conversation with anyone even remotely famous, so I watch from afar.
CunninLynguists performing “Lynguistics” on the second stage (crap sound again):
There were also a couple other attractions featuring skaters and pimped out cars. So, there are a couple alternative entertainment options, should you choose to do so. I checked out some of the skating stuff, which was cool to check out for a little while, but I’m not much of a car guy, so I didn’t really look at that stuff.
The only major con involves the food and drink booths. First of all, they use tickets, so you have to buy tickets for a dollar a piece and then you use your tickets to pay for food and drinks. You always end up with extra tickets, and they only let you buy tickets in increments of $10, so it never works out. I understand the concept of using tickets instead of paying cash and giving change, etc., but you should be able to buy any damn combination of tickets you want. I don’t care if it’s a pain in the ass for you to rip 1 ticket off. Or, if you want, let me cash in my tickets in on the way out.
Anyway, it was a hell of a show and you get good bang for your buck. I would suggest a little sunscreen and a crap load of water and not just pizza and beer, because you’ll get a tad dehydrated. Which may have happened to me.
Here’s a sample from the Soundset site from the stage that gives you an idea of the amount of people at the show:
Here are some clips from my phone from within the crowd. You can really see the amount of people.