Hyperion Music and Arts Festival was perhaps one of my favorite events this summer. It was over September 6-7th   at Stable Studios in Spencer, Indiana.  Perhaps I am biased because I love the grounds so much and it’s only an hour from my home, but there is no other festival like this one. The love that this place holds is something that needs to be felt in person. 

The grounds are decorated unlike any festival I have seen. As you walk through the main path to the camping area, everywhere you looked there were intricate art works. There were signs that reminded you to always wear a smile and to love your neighbor. There were huge jellyfish made by local artists Alexandra Lamb and Aaron Griffin, trees with painted arms, and booth after booth filled with art work. At the end of this path there was a large inflatable stage that looked like a sea-shell where many of the DJ acts played.  At night walking back up this path, towards the main stage, everything was beautifully illuminated and the artwork came to life. It was almost like walking through the ocean, and as the trees opened up to the stages there was one of the most perplexing and beautiful light installations I have ever seen.  Projected over a small pond and into the tree line, was a delicate light pattern that can hardly be described and must be seen. You are reminded that you are at the festival of the god of light, Hyperion. 

I arrived late on Friday night, unfortunately, but just in time to see Ultra Violet Hippopotamus play a power packed set.  This band has such a great stage presence and one of the best fan bases in the Midwest. Their set started off with “Hey Tommy.” Keyboardist Nate Karnes never ceases to impress me. Eventually Marcus Rezak, guitarist from Digital Tape Machine, joined them onstage to play “Yin Yang.” Overall, it was an up tempo show and the crowd loved every single moment of it.  

Friday night ended up being jam packed with some great music. After UV Hippo, I followed the crowd over to the second stage in the barn for Dopapod, another Midwest favorite that consistently plays an awesome show. The crowd then flowed over to Papadosio for some transient, spiritual tunes. They brought a full lightshow, including their LED screens. I could hardly keep my eyes from the talented group of fire spinners that added to the tribal feeling Papadosio creates. 

This was a night of Midwest favorites with Eumatik, Cosby Sweater, P.E.M.G. (a UV Hippo side project), DJ Solo, and Kaleidoscope Jukebox all getting some stage time. The night closed with a bluegrass set that went way into the twilight hours by the New Old Cavalry. I fell asleep in my tent behind the sea-shell stage to a cover of “Midnight Moonlight” by Peter Rowan. I couldn’t have asked for a better Friday night. 

I woke up to an awesome breakfast Saturday morning and went down to the family picnic. There were the Beer Olympics, bounce houses, featured artists, and a dunk tank. This is one of the parts of the festival that makes it stand out from the rest. You get to spend some quality “Phamily” time with each other. 

On Saturday I caught the first part of one of my local Indianapolis favorites, Hyryder. They play sets made up of original tunes and mostly Grateful Dead and Phish covers. People played Frisbee in the green grass, danced to the feel good music, and sat on blankets to eat breakfast. It was a great vibe all around. 

There were so many great bands Saturday as well, it’s hard to know where to start.  First there was an awesome set by winner of the Battle of the Bands, Broccoli Samurai, followed by MT Nasty, a D.J. out of Lafayette, Indiana; Indigo Sun, The Main Squeeze, and the Coop also played great sets. Snarky Puppy took the main stage right at sunset. They brought in the night with their jazzy, electronic fusion and left the crowd begging for more.  

The Twin Cats played their last set together as a band, and it was a great one. Everyone danced so hard in that barn that the dust they kicked up put a thin cloud in the air.  They were followed by equally energetic sets by Break Science, the Floozies, and Future Rock. Once again the festival closed to the sounds of blue grass from Flatland Harmony Experiment. It was a perfect way to end a perfect weekend. 

I will repeat this once again: this festival is like no other you will ever attend. The family atmosphere is unmatched by any other place in the Midwest. The lights are amazing and must be witnessed to truly appreciate. It is truly a gem of the Midwest festival scene, and I suggest you put it on the top of your list for next year.



Written & Photos by: Cassidy Maley   

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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