The general consensus suggests that the inaugural Cropped Out event totally ruled. More than that, the three-day festival served as a great teaching tool – if you’ve got complaints about the shows coming through your home turf, do something about it. Close to 50 local, regional, breakthrough, buzzy, and/or heavy hitting acts performed on three different stages over an entire weekend, and it was all organized by two people with intermittent assistance from friends and family. Quit your bitching, take some action. That’s what State Champion’s Ryan Davis and DIY show promoter James Ardrey did after they became disappointed at the disproportionate amount of borecore indie folk and singer-songwriter drivel that tends to frequent Louisville. Sure, it takes a certain gusto to realize a project as mechanical and unpredictable as a music festival, but if you grab the right talent (the type enticing enough to bring people out whilst willing to camp in the Cropped Out Tent City for the weekend and rock hard without demanding a cash grab) and work with your local scene, it’s entirely doable.
Admittedly, Cropped Out showed some of the growing pains of a new festival – late start times, inconsistent turnout, the general trial-by-fire obstacles that tend to rear themselves (not to mention uncooperative weather on Saturday) – but no one seemed to mind. In fact, this is probably the most remarkable point of Cropped Out – there were, on average, over a hundred people fully attentive to wildly eclectic, interstellar music all day. No talking over bands, no milling about the grounds of American Turners (an unusual but totally welcome venue, I might add) – just a herd of rad dudes moving from stage to stage enjoying the jams, subjecting themselves to twelve hours of righteous sounds. Even after Dakota from Animal City smashed his head open, spewing torrents of blood all over his guitar and band mates, he returned from the ER with a bunch of stitches ready to enjoy the rest of the shows. Now that’s commitment, and it’s certainly something you don’t see at Forecastle.
Bands were cool, organizers were cool, venue security was cool, attendees were cool, and the Falls City Beer was rowdy. Grating noise was often coupled with gentle acoustic offerings as a testament to the lineup’s eclecticism. There was tons of blood, and even a couple of dildos. Cropped Out was punk as fuck. Here’s to seeing its return in 2011! Photos after the jump.