Yesterday me and Shellz went to the 2013 Hullabalooza Music Festival at Texas World Speedway in College Station, TX. I happened upon some tickets and when I found out Ludacris would be there I was all-in. Me and Shellz also happened to attend the last performance Luda did in College Station when he hit Reed Arena in 2004. Though he was late getting started on that performance, he was great on the stage so I knew he’d be just as entertaining (if not more) nine years down the road.
We got to the festival around 2pm and realized we’d be doing a LOT of walking and standing around. The two stages were what seemed to be two or three football fields apart and the artists were going to be alternating all day. We checked out local rappers The Pilots as they were finishing their set then settled in for the spectacle that is Riff Raff. I’m not a fan of this cat whatsoever but I’m glad I got to see him first hand to witness what people are so crazy about. I will say that some of the beats he was rapping on were straight BANGERS. I mean bass that shakes your eyeballs type bangers. While I couldn’t appreciate his lyrics or image, I certainly appreciated his request for some twerkers from the audience. He pulled a few ladies on stage and they showed off for a couple songs which was fine by me. Lil Mario also did a couple songs while Riff Raff took a breather, but I was excited to see OG Ron C as the MC on stage. I’ve been jammin’ that dude’s work since high school.
The next act on the opposite stage was a group called Radical Something. I’ve never heard of these guys, but the college crowd in attendance seemed familiar with them so they were all jammin’ together and having a good time. I’m a big fan of big fans. Even if I’m not into the music being performed I really enjoy seeing crowds interact and have fun with artists on stage.
After that we made the march back to the main stage where country artist Josh Turner was about to bottom out the low end on an equalizer. I’ve heard two of his songs, but otherwise I didn’t know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. The guy was solid and everything just sounded really good. Plus I think “Baby lock the door and turn them lights down low” is universally relatable.
We then made or way up to the other stage and watched a duo called Cherub who I’d never heard of. They were just two guys with guitars and an MPC or something but they were gettin’ after it up there. I won’t be buying their albums anytime soon but they were very entertaining to watch and to see the crowd get into it with them. I think the next artist was a DJ but I can’t remember. I’m not hating, but I can’t really enjoy watching a guy dance behind a laptop to fist-pump music. Me and Shellz decided to chill out for a bit and wait for the next performer.
Back at the main stage we were hit with Childish Gambino. This was my first time hearing any of his music but what blew me away was the performance. He came straight out the gate with a bangin’ track that had the crowd going nuts. Then he just stayed on the gas pedal for his entire set with a live band providing the music. I was mostly impressed with how animated he was and how aggresive his vocals were but none of it seemed to be weakened by the length of time he was up there. Dude just did not get tired apparently. I get winded after just a few songs when I perform so I guess it just takes a lot of practice and conditioning. I’ll have to go back and listen to his songs now without the influence of stage lights and a screaming crowd. Sometimes those things can mislead you on whether or not you like the real song, but I might just be a fan now.
I think another DJ was setup after this. By now my back and knees were cussing me out for not giving them much of a break in seven hours so again we chilled and just waited for the next performer.
Two or three hours later it was finally about time for Mo Millionz followed by Ludacris. I’d never heard of Mo Millionz and I can’t remember anything he did. It wasn’t that he was bad necessarily, but he just seemed to be a time filler before Luda. Besides I was ready to call it a night and the crowd gathered well before he came on and was quickly growing ancy during his set. Once he was done we all waited…and waited…and waited. For over an hour we stared at Ludacris’ DJ on stage while obnoxious fans began screaming insults, doing Aggie cheers (which made no sense), and throwing glow sticks at the stage. FINALLY Ludacris stepped out and it was game time. After a song or two he told us there was a noise ordnance issue that was causing the delay and that his set wouldn’t be cranked up as loud as he wanted it to be. The only question in my mind was who on Earth would’ve have complained about noise at Texas World Speedway? Or if not that then why would it be enforced by the book? Look it up on Google Maps if you aren’t familiar, but this isn’t exactly in a residential area. Ironically, he was just about as late getting on stage this time as the last time he came here. Regardless of the reason, once Luda got going it was just as good as I expected. He did all the hits, gave some 979 and Texas shoutouts, then walked off stage and took his private jet back home.
All-in-all I’d say Hullabalooza was an experience I’ll remember for a long time. I learned that all-day festivals aren’t really my thing unless they allow chairs to be brought in next time. It also reminded me why I’d much rather be the guy on the stage than the guy in the crowd trying to keep drunks off of me and out of my ear. Maybe I’ll be a featured performer one of these years.
To see all of the photos I took just visit my Facebook page and checkout the Hullabalooza album.