Music, mud, tents, cars and Grateful Dead apparel flooded The Venue as Hoopla in the Hills rocked the weekend.
Headlined by Papadosio, the event featured three stages — Mainstage, Side Stage and Artist Village Stage — and kicked off with a performance by Bees Trees at 3 p.m. It was a non-stop parade of live music, camping, smoking and drinking until things wound down with a performance by The Spikedrivers at 3 p.m. Sunday on the Mainstage.
“It’s been great; it’s been a wild success (and) the bands had a great time,” said Curtis Manley, CEO of Big Events Presents Inc., which organized the festival. “We were able to have this new venue with some early obstacles and have gotten some great responses about the noise. We’re trying to clean up until the party is over. It’s been a really successful, really fulfilling event.”
Though Saturday’s rain and snow seemed to scare away at least 10 percent of the audience, Manley said, there was still an estimated 3,000 people in attendance. This was the first time Hoopla in the Hills, previously titled Hookah in the Hills, took place at The Venue. Last year’s event was at Poston Lake Music Park.
The new location allowed for more Ohio University students to be in attendance, although the crowd varied, with fest-goers coming out from various cities in Ohio and beyond.
“I’m super proud of (Curtis); he should be proud of him with what he’s accomplished,” said Andy Hershberger, of Columbus, who spent most of his time at the festival controlling a flying rig in the sky with a GoPro Hero3, taking pictures every two seconds. “This is off the hook.”
Hershberger said he has gravitated to Hoopla and other music festivals because of the “off-the-hook” lineups.
“I’ve watched and heard some of the best music I’ve ever heard in my life here,” Hershberger said. “Nobody’s ever heard of these guys, maybe nobody ever will, but Jesus Christ, they rocked tonight.”
Manley and his company hope that they can bring Hoopla back to The Venue next year.
“Every year you go in with an idea, and there are a number of things that you want to improve on, and there is always something to do something,” Manley said. “I’m always going to continue to do better, and if we’re not, we would stagnate.”
Overall, as the people, including the bands, reflected on their time there, there was one quote in particular that expressed everyone’s emotions.
“Awesome, and you can quote me on that,” said Edward Quackenmeyer, bass player of Manitoa, which started its set around 5:45 a.m. Sunday.