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Favorite ThisBackwoods Music Festival dominates the Plains this summer

Published: July 20, 2016

By: Kyle David Rutherford

BackwoodsBack for its ninth year, Oklahoma’s Backwoods Music Festival's lineup and experience seems to grow exponentially each year, with thousands flocking from all over the nation to the 1000-acre Tatanka Ranch just off the historic Route 66 in Stroud, OK

Featuring everything from magnificently designed massive stages to enclosed, air-conditioned club style venues, and even a DJ booth on an island in the middle of a lake, Backwoods pulls out all the stops when bringing you the best in jam, indie rock, and electronic music. The festival even features Yoga & Hoop workshops, helicopter rides, a giant hay maze, and even a 300 ft. Slip N Slide! Even when you’re not dancing to the great music, there will always be something to keep you smiling.

The lineup itself is a masterpiece of diversity, with phenomenal headliners to boot; each being powerhouses in their respective musical realm. Bass music stars NERO are known to destroy every stage they step on. Surrounded by synthesizers and playing the purest drum and bass & dubstep, these UK heroes will rattle the festival grounds.

Also headlining on the electronic side are livetronica juggernauts Big Gigantic. These two dudes have played just about every major festival in the nation and always bring a dance party with their mixture of funk, jazz and heavy bass beats.

On the more jam/indie side comes the legendary moe. These guys have been going at it for the last 27 years and have showed little to no sign of stopping their groovy train. Headlining multiple festivals every year, the quintet has shared the stage with the likes of fellow legends Blue Traveler, Les Claypool, Widespread Panic, and The String Cheese Incident.

Bringing their world music love comes Nahko & Medicine for the People. This five-piece, fronted by the gifted Nahko Bear, draws multitudes of people to the stage with his uplifting music and positive message. If you aren’t at a stage, but you hear crowds of people singing along almost louder to the music from the speakers, it’s almost surely to be Nahko on stage.

The next tier of acts is full of phenomenal musicians that are putting in hard work in their corresponding scenes; both mainstream and beyond. On the electronic side, Tritonal and Audien have got you covered if you like electro house, The Untz Festival star Illenium and Elephante get down with gorgeous future bass, while Styles & Complete and the OG, Liquid Stanger, always keep the bass heavy.

On the jammier/indie side, TAUK has been gaining enormous amounts of traction and support in the scene, while Michal Menert perfects every project he lays his hands on, including his work with the Pretty Fantastics. Also it’s no question that Manic Focus will bring the house down like he always does, while Stick Figure’s rootsy reggae is always a pleasure to hear.

Going down the bill, brilliant names pop out consistently: Filibusta, Higher Learning, and Vibe Street are constantly pushing boundaries, and releasing brilliant music and playing even more brilliant sets, while VibeSquaD, who is performing his final tour under the alias, has been killing the crunkadelic game for years. Wick-it The Instigator is always a crowd favorite for his heavy bass/trap sets, while Irish producer LusiD is just beginning to make a name for himself in the states with his colossal glitch hop and dubstep.

Combining the both jam and electronic, Zoogma’s high-energy sets are always a pleasure for all who witness them. Also throwing down some impressive live/jamtronica will be Sunsquabi and Skydyed, both from the great state of Colorado. Also bringing their jamtronica from the “Highest” State is Greener Grounds. Not household names yet, this quintet has been touring extensively over the last few years, performing at Sonic Bloom, Paradise Music & Arts Festival, and even our very own The Untz Festival!

Backwoods pre-partyNot only is the main lineup insane, but also the pre-party and campground after-hours lineup are just as incredible. Thursday early arrivers will have a magical night with the psychedelic powerhouses Desert Dwellers, as well as East Coast stars Space Jesus and Esseks.

Presented by ThazDope head honcho Spankalicious, the campground after-hours lineup will be keeping the bass pumping long into the AM. While curating this list, Spankalicious brought the many of the best producers in the Midwest out to jam. From (my hometown) Dayton, Ohio, he brings weird bass champion Yheti, along with his brother Toadface and longtime friends/collaborators Mt. Analogue and Tangled Branches. If you aren’t hip to these weird/psychedelic bass up-and-comers, you best be because they know how to bring a party. Also from the great state of Ohio comes ThazDope signee Alejo, whose newest release, Cubix the Polygon: Vol. III – Regeneration, is something you definitely need hear.

Unless you just hate music, there will be something for everyone to enjoy at Backwoods. The Great Plains has never seen a festival this rich in musical grander, and for only $200 for four unbelievable nights of music and camping. Get your tickets now and get ready for amazing weekend!

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Tags: Deep HouseDubstepElectroElectronicaGlitchHip HopHouseLivetronicaProgressive HouseTech HouseTechnoTranceTrap