Fortress Festival dazzled attendees with a spectrum of emotional brilliance. The songs were so heartfelt with raw emotions and embellished with a surreal and whimsical array of mystifying lights and mingling of sounds. There was a late start due to foreboding weather conditions, but the festival
was quick to snap into action and bring forth all the talent that welcomed attendees of this two-day
festival. Performances were held at alternating times between the Will Rogers Memorial Center and the wide spread of grass overlooking the mesmerizing waters of the Modern Museum.
It was impressive to see Flying Lotus and Run the Jewels play back to back as well as seeing talents
Peter Hook & The Light, Slowdive, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and Houndsmouth to name a
few. It was a great chance to spotlight local DFW talent: Sam Lao, Sudie, Burning Hotels, So-So Topic,
and many others. Golden Dawn Arkestra and S U R V I V E were two bands hailing from Austin. Flying
Lotus felt like an unpredictable colorful cauldron of magic with its bright, electric waves of changing geometric shapes projected on the screen as they played. All the lights fused together like brilliant
neurons making connections and it was amusing to hear the familiar whistling in “Kill Bill”
intermingled into the music as well.
Dengue Fever spiraled with a uniquely tropical and exotic style of music reminiscent of Cambodian pop music with indie roots. When they took the stage, every gust of the wind that blew through the trees seemed to amplify the entrancing atmosphere with their groovy, tropical influences.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats were a charming wave of breezy southern drawls mingled with upbeat folks tunes that felt like sweet apple pie on your ear drums. Their songs encourage us to take it easy when life gives you trouble and to mellow out. This set a precedence for the festival’s easygoing atmosphere and positive vibes. The festival catered to a variety of musical taste buds, from indie rock to passionate electronic soul music to punky pop.
Everyone was often encouraged to interact throughout the festival, whether it was to clap during
Dengue Fever or to chant a mantra of phrases with Run the Jewels. It was truly a captivating and freeing experience to feel like your soul was uplifted by their uninhibited, primal energy and good vibes. The brightly cosmic and beautifully surreal light show that accompanied many of the performances was truly mesmerizing, drawing the crowds closer together and gathered around the spectrum of sights and sounds like that of a moth attracted to a charismatic, burning flame of passion. Run the Jewels concluded the first day with intense hip hop beats and blunt lyrics inspiring change spiced up with an unabashed bold humor.
Fortress Festival’s final day concluded with the stunning performance by Purity Ring –a dazzling array of pixelated-like endless, radiant rope lights suspended across the stage like flutters of fireflies.
Vocalist Megan James danced among the forest of lights and captivated us with her lighthearted nature while Roddick stood positioned behind spherical crystals that lit up as he struck them with drumsticks. The lyrics were so intimate in response to the ever-changing lights.
Purity Ring’s lights were a mystifying conclusion with emanating warmth, tying together the captivated atmosphere of the festival. It evoked a feeling of being together with all those around you,
like that feeling of togetherness especially felt at Christmas that others around the world are recognizing the brilliance around you simultaneously. Undeniably, the lights radiating out like an iridescent heartbeat of multiple emotions celebrating free expression of heart and soul.