Lockn’ won’t fade away, but Block Party will

Next year, it may be time to forego Wertland and just rock out

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 Maybe it's time to trade Block Party for a holistic music festival experience.  

Lauren Hornsby | Cavalier Daily

Yet another summer is drawing to a close and most returning Hoos have survived the two things separating them from the inevitable first day of classes — a sweltering day spent unloading and dragging belongings into a new home, and the terrifying, disturbing boozing holiday that students have come to know and love called Block Party. For first-years, it’s a portal into a stunning new life where freedom and constraint shed their meaning and hysteria takes the reins. Everyone else has pretty much been there and done that. So why not try something different? 

Skipping Block Party will not get you ostracized from the U.Va. social sector. There are plenty of better ways to meet new folks and celebrate better times. Like a place that surpasses the hysteria and the boozing. Where positivity radiates and the true meaning of “Virginia is for Lovers” resonates. Where the townies will offer you a beer and conversation instead of vomit and grand larceny. 

That just sounds like an ornamental Block Party with better vibes doesn’t it? Throw in forty musical acts and behold as Lockn’ Music Festival excites the senses, radicalizes the mind and instantly establishes itself as one of the greatest experiences of any festival goer’s life. And best of all, it takes place in the University’s backyard. Happening just 40 minutes down Seminole Trail on a farm in Arrington, Lockn’ brings together peace, people and music for an undoubtedly unforgettable adventure. Best of all, it’s affordable. Lockn’ offers a student discount at $278.35 for a four-day pass (including fees) — roughly $40 cheaper than normal price. That’s a whole lot cheaper than other festivals of similar size.

Still not convinced that next year you should skip Wertland? Do as Lockn-goers do — turn off your mind, relax and float downstream as these reasons will show you how to turn on and tune in to the wonders of the festival world. 

No one is scared at Lockn’

Are you scared of the limitless mob of drunk teenagers at Block Party, unbeknownst of when a fight will break out, if that glass bottle hurled across the street will hit you, or if this wasted kid is actually trying to flirt with you? Nothing short of peace and love is accepted on The Farm. The closest thing to a fight is two folks arguing over the best musical set of the day. Strangers become friends at Lockn’. Everyone there wants to have a conversation with you, they want to share their resources and stories. No one is there to cause harm. There may be just as many folks who have had so many White Claws that they can’t walk straight, but there’s something different about the way that people express their inebriated selves at Lockn’. The eyes of a concert goer may look as hazy as a wasted student the next morning, but the truth is, that concert goer can feel the music and it feels like the breath of an angel. 

The music

Lockn’ centers around jam and folk bands but expands to include modern and classic acts that encompass the subgenres. This past summer was headlined by Phish’s Trey Anastasio, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. The lineup overall was full of jams, folk, blues, bluegrass, Americana and rock ‘n roll. Filling out the rest of the lineup were some more modern bands like The Revivalists, Vulfpeck, Khraungbin and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and more classic acts like Old Crow Medicine Show, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians and Melvin Seals & JGB. But it doesn’t stop there. The calling card of Lockn’ has always been the once in a lifetime collaborations that are put together. 

This year, there was remarkable harmonizing when Weir played with Susan Tedeschi, intense rock ‘n roll jams when Anastasio teamed up with Derek Trucks and an all-around feel good collective when Oteil Burbridge from Dead & Co. and The Allman Brothers Band brought together Weir, Seals, Duane Betts and several others for a can’t miss performance. Nevertheless any party-goer should be envious of the musical talent they’d miss if they went to Block Party again. Although Brad from Crack Snapple Pi has an aux deemed by his brothers as fire, it’s more than likely that next year, The Chainsmokers will rain down on Wertland and Mr. Brightside will be played so much everyone will wish he would get back in that cage. 

The memories

In 2020, while Block Partiers are fast asleep from yet another night they won’t remember, Lockn’ goers will still be dancing their tails off and making memories inside of Garcia’s Forest. Picture this — it’s three o’clock in the morning and the adrenaline from all the wonderful things you’ve done all day is keeping you awake. You’re dressed to the nines in the night’s psychedelic outfit. All around you, trees are swaying to the music in the night’s breeze, desperate for the power of music to free their roots and let them dance. A dazzling cycle of colorful lights illuminate the leaves. You’re under the giant, cosmic tapestries that cover the stage when someone suddenly grabs your shoulder. It’s your best friend. You haven’t seen them in five hours since they disappeared into the crowd. You’ve never been more excited to see anyone. You embrace each other as the band drops into the most vibrant jam you’ve ever heard. An hour later and the day has finally caught up to you, so you set up your hammock underneath two trees and drift away into music-induced slumber, unable to dream new dreams because you’re already living them. 

No one is saying Block Party won’t be fun next year. It just won’t be nearly as fun as Lockn’. Memories will be made either way, but do you want to look back on the first weekend of the school year and think about the crowded houses with played out music — or do you want to be immersed in what can only be described as another world? A world where peace and music share their power to create something that the real world needs more than ever — a world that runs on love. To quote The Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band, “All I want to know is, will you come with me?” 

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