By Regan Shanahan
For Unwind magazine
The first thought in walking into All Things Go Fall Classic for many was, “I wish I wore my rain boots.”
The annual music festival hosted by local Washington D.C. radio station “All Things Go,” that for the past two years had been held at Union Market in Washington D.C., switched its venue this year to the Navy Yard Park. The change in location, although lending a more traditional festival atmosphere to the event, meant that the daylong, rainy weather left concertgoers with slippery fields and muddy, ruined shoes, and reduced festival attendees’ style to plastic ponchos and umbrellas.
The weather also managed to ward off many festival attendees until later in the evening, which meant early slot performers played to smaller crowds.
Ace Cosgrove, a 25-year-old rapper who performed at noon, even ventured into the crowd during his performance saying, “There’s only like 50 of us y’all, lets hug each other. I’m serious!”
In an interview later that day, the up-and-coming artist said the move was “meant to bring the crowd closer together,” and that even though the turnout was smaller than expected, “playing in the rain has always been a dream of mine and the fact that people are still here in the rain is dope as sh*t.”
Around 5 p.m., when the rain finally stopped, Sylvan Esso took the stage. With quirky dance moves, a lively sense of humor, and sultry, coffeehouse vocals set to well-mixed tracks, the duo Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn drew a large audience that rebuilt the excitement just in time for headliners Passion Pit and Empire of the Sun.
While the set by Passion Pit left something to be desired due to the fact that poor microphone volume made it nearly impossible to hear singer Michael Angelakos, and the band gave the impression of being eager to finish their set and leave, festival headliner Empire of the Sun closed the day with guests belting lyrics and dancing barefoot in the mud.
Passion Pit played fan-favorites like “Sleepyhead” and “Carried Away,” but Empire of the Sun produced the most visually entertaining set of the day with colorful, extraterrestrial-themed costumes, props and an impressive light show. These exciting visuals, however, did not distract from the unique voice of lead vocalist, Luke Steele, and the talented guitar backing by Nick Littlemore.
Between sets, festival-goers listened to the DJ, who seemingly managed to excite the crowd more than some scheduled performers and could have had his own show.
Several activities kept guests entertained throughout the rainy day. Food vendors catered a diverse selection of meals and beverages from companies such as Buredo and Beefsteak. Tarot card readings–free with a purchase of ice cream at the Milk Cult tent, a game at the Notion Theory virtual reality tent described by vendor Steven Dashiell as being “like Dance Dance Revolution but with your hands, and it’s got songs from the festival,” and a booth sponsored by Heineken that allowed concert goers to graffiti the ATG logo were all dotted across the festival.
At the Heineken tent Levan Cahsee said he was “pleasantly surprised by Bishop Briggs, but was most excited to see Christine and the Queens and Passion Pit.”
Unfortunately for Cahsee, Christine and the Queens did not show up to play their scheduled set, and the slot was given to a host of artists who had gone on earlier, including Sofi and Tukker and Ace Cosgrove. This performance resulted in an awkward and confusing 45 minutes.
However soulful songstress Bishop Briggs, who brought a welcome change in pace to the sonic style of the festival, lent an unexpected highlight performance.
With an edgier, louder and bolder sound than those who performed before her, Briggs was the first act who truly managed to liven the crowd with her infectious energy and impressive vocals.
“She’s doing her thing live—she’s not lip syncing,” Cosgrove said, praising Briggs.