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The Music Scene

Posted: 2:21 a.m. Saturday, April 26, 2014

CounterPoint 2014: Pretty Lights highlights a colorful start 

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Pretty Lights photo
Melissa Ruggieri
EDM star Pretty Lights headlined Friday night's opening of CounterPoint 2014.
Pretty Lights2 photo
Melissa Ruggieri
Pretty Lights performed to a sweaty and enthralled crowd.
Schoolboy Q photo
Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special to the AJC
Quincey Hanley, better know by his moniker Schoolboy Q, performing on the Hillside Stage on the first day of of the Counterpoint Music & Arts Festival at Kingston Downs Friday.
CP photo
Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special to the AJC
Feeling the love.
CP Fans photo
Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special to the AJC
Fans getting it with Green Latern's performance on the Steeple Stage.
CP Fans 2 photo
Melissa Ruggieri
Fans get colorful during Pretty Lights' set.

By Melissa Ruggieri

The music sounded crisp, the four performance stages were easy to navigate and the Friday night lineup spotlighted an agreeable mixture of EDM (Pretty Lights), hip-hop (Green Lantern) and indie rock (Matt & Kim).

But what those traveling to CounterPoint Music & Arts Festival in Rome really want to know is: How long does it take to get there from Atlanta?

Well, if you’re a moron (hand raised) and leave Buckhead during 4:30 p.m. rush hour on a Friday, the answer is three hours.

The more reasonable time frame is 90 minutes, which is what I clocked on the way home from the dirt parking lot at festival site Kingston Downs to my parking garage.

Festival organizers – MCP Presents (experienced producers of CounterPoint) and C3 Presents (known for its work with Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits) – expect about 20,000 fans per day. Friday night’s crowd appeared in that range, and Sunday’s is expected to surpass the number with the marquee attraction of Outkast playing the only show in its home state.

Today’s lineup is stacked with the eclectic offerings of Janelle Monae (5:45 p.m.), J. Cole (7:45 p.m.), STS9 (9 p.m.) and Foster the People (10:30 p.m.), while Sunday’s smorgasbord also includes Roman Gianarthur (3:45 p.m.), Thievery Corporation (5:45 p.m.), Major Lazer (7:45 p.m.) and Sleigh Bells (9 p.m.).

Single-day tickets are still available for both days (head here for ticket info and the full musical lineups).

“We want to create an experience and have people come and feel a sense of community,” said Kevin Earle, marketing director for MCP Presents.

Earle estimates about 85 percent of attendees are camping on the grounds of the race track, which will substantially mitigate weekend traffic into the site.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Cars are thoroughly searched upon first entering the property. If you have a cooler, you’re going to have to open it. Your trunk will get a look-see as well, so no point in trying to hide stuff.
  • There is a very clear list of things that cannot be brought onto the grounds (here is a reminder), but one of the biggest offenders is glass (this is a race track, remember?). That means boxed wine, ladies!
  • Also, no fireworks or objects with major open flames. Lighters are fine. Barbecue grills are not.

Earle noted that the festival producers have a 10-year permit to stage CounterPoint on the Kingston Downs site and an open-ended lease, so take care of the property, kids, or it might not be back.

In the meantime, here are some sights and sounds from day one of CounterPoint 2014.  

Melissa Ruggieri

About Melissa Ruggieri

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on ajc.

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