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HOCO Fest Review – 2018

ACTS: Giant Sand, Negative Gemini, Patsy’s Rats, Sasami, The Dream Syndicate, Sur Block, Robyn Hitchcock, The Rifle

DATE: September 1st, 2018

GENRE: Alternative, Indie, Dance, Rock, RPM

LOCATION: Hotel Congress

This festival was completely different than what I expected. However, going into it I did not have many, if any, expectations. If you are looking for a lowkey festival to chill and listen to some out-of-the box music, this is your festival. The event takes place at the famous Hotel Congress. There are two stages where they feature completely different types of music. The outdoor stage is surrounded by lush green trees and rustic furniture that creates a calm vibe. Outside the bands ranged from somewhat country, to indie rock, to beach vibes, and old school classic rock. It truly seemed as though, the outdoor stage was directed toward the older attendees of the event.

However, the indoor stage was the complete opposite. The verdict is still out on how I feel about the layout. This stage was in a smaller closed off section of the hotel. The stage was lined with an elegant and dark red decor. While the acts in this room were extremely experimental, younger artists. I can’t say that I was in love with all of the artists from that stage but I can say that I respect their passion and willingness to test the boundaries. There was everything from punk to techno and almost all of the artists in that room were young and still trying to break through and make a name for themselves. Both stages ended the night by having a DJ come in and play their best remixes of popular songs, and that was my cue to head out. This stage was definitely aimed more towards the younger crowd, which is definitely what they achieved.


I will say thought this festival did change my perception of festivals. I have always been the type of person to go above and beyond for festivals–I even drove 26 hours to a concert once. I waited about 24 hours overnight to get front row and stood for 8 hours in the Arizona sun just to keep my “good view” for the last act. Coming to this festival I was extremely nervous because I was going alone and did not know a single artist. However, I left this festival with the realization that it’s refreshing to just casually enjoy music. I had gotten so caught up in the moment and worrying about having a good time at other events that I somewhat ruined the best part: the music. HOCO Fest was a challenge for me. I went empty handed, by myself and re-evaluated what it meant to just chill and enjoy the live music for what it is. I learned to try new things, like listening to Spanish punk rock–which was amazing! The event was a culture shock and I kind of loved it. If you read this and you feel the same way or are looking for something new, this is the festival for you. As the night went on I saw people of all ages, genders, and races and heard so many different genres and styles. There is something for everyone at this event!

Watch the 2018 HOCO Fest recap video at HERE.

RATING: 6.5/10

REVIEWERS: Aubrie Buechting

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