Uprise Festival 2011 was certainly an experience. From where I live it’s roughly a three and a half hour drive, so we packed up and took off around 1 or so and made our way to the fairgrounds in Shippensburg, PA. Very easy to get to and the parking was great, very close to the grounds where the stages, food, merch, and everything else were set up.
After making our way onto the grounds and checking out the merch we went over to the main stage to check out the bands scheduled for that night. The grounds were a bit muddy, but not too bad, especially considering the rainfall that PA went through last month. First up was Reilly, a band from Philadelphia, PA known for their violin rock style. The band opened with the violinists coming out playing the Beatle’s “Eleanor Rigby” which I thought was pretty cool. I’ll be honest, I’m not very familiar with Reilly, but they seemed to have a good number of fans out there to see them and they did pretty well. I would have liked to seen a little more, but their set was cut down to only 3 or 4 songs due to technical difficulties resulting in the band’s set starting more than 2 hours past their scheduled time.
Next up was Decyfer Down. These dudes remind me alot of a Christian version of Sevendust, more so on the first album (End of Grey) though than the second (Crashings). Their set seemed to be mostly songs from their first album which was just fine with me. They did an awesome job and I’d definitely head out to see them again at some point in the future.
Tony Nolan brought the Word next encouraging the audience to put their lives in Christ instead of simply saying we do. A much needed message today and it applied to both those already in the church who might need a little encouragement as well as those who might not know the Lord yet to start that relationship.
Fireflight was the third band of the night. If you’re unfamiliar with them they are a female fronted hard rock group. Kicking off their set with the song For Those Who Wait we knew we were in for a sweet set. With a good mix from all their albums and some encouragement that we can do all things through God who gives us strength the set left the audience rocking and encouraged. I’ve never known this band to disappoint and once again they left us with a great show.
The headliner of the first night was Skillet. Though I’m more a fan of some of their earlier albums, the newer ones still have a few tracks I’m really into and their set was really well put together. I’d challenge anyone who may not even like Skillet to go to a show and not be completely blown away. From front to back this is a band that could write a book on how to put on a live show. Between the lighting, the pyro, the fireworks, the live stringed accompaniment, the props, the stage in motion (yes, the stage MOVES), and the sheer heaviness of their live sound it’s an experience I’d recommend to everyone they need to get in on at least once. They concluded their set with Monster (complete with a HUGE monster head prop that shot off steam, and lit up) and Rebirthing. I may have said it once already, but it bears saying again…if you can see these guys live, do it!
This was the end of the first night of Uprise Festival 2011.
The next day we got to the grounds fairly early, hours before the first band we planned on checking out, so we spent some time putting the kids on the inflatables they had set up. They also got to pet some goats and a horse. It was cool that they had free Rock Star energy drinks there (not bad!) as well as free Starbucks (if you like their coffee and tea). The CD table could have had a little more in the way of selection, but they made up for it in having the new Leeland album available 4 or 5 days early, lol.
The first band up on the itinerary for Saturday was I the Breather. I the Breather was a last minute addition to the line up because Manafest had to cancel. I was really looking forward to seeing these guys and despite technical difficulties resulting in a later start time I really liked the 2 songs I saw them do. I left their set early to go see KJ52 since I haven’t seen him in years and was looking forward to the chance to get to see him again.
So we walked on over to the main stage to see KJ52. Got there and we waited. And we waited some more. And then we waited again. I never got to see KJ52 because Flatfoot 56 was going on by the time KJ was going to start and I really wanted to see them, so I ended up missing most of I the Breather and all of KJ52 due to…technical difficulties. My wife however DID see a good bit of KJ’s set and said he had a good set chock full of 80′s goodness.
Flatfoot 56 was up next at the Rock Star stage. Flatfoot 56 is a Celtic punk band from Chicago and if you are a fan of punk you need to check these guys out. Their set was electric and my personal highlight of the festival. You could sense the crowd was really into what they were doing and they really engaged them. They also had a really good sized circle pit going at one point. I even saw the dudes from Hawk Nelson hanging out off on the side enjoying their set. High energy, great music, great dudes. I spoke with the singer for a bit after their set and he made mention that they were looking to release their next album in the Spring, so make sure you don’t miss out on that and don’t miss out on seeing them if you get the opportunity!
From there we headed over to the Wired stage to see Ivoryline. The band kicked off their set with “Instincts” which kind of surpised me, I more expected that to be the song they closed with, but their whole set was just awesome.
After Ivoryline we went and grabbed some lunch and headed to the mainstage where we would spend the remainder of our day and we got their just in time for Superchick. Dude walks out on the stage to introduce them…”these guys will melt your faces off…here is…Remedy Drive!” We just kind of looked at each other at this point. It was 4:15 and on our schedule it said Superchick, yet the 3:20 band Remedy Drive was just introduced. They were running an hour behind. To kill some time we went back to the merch booths and this time REALLY got back in time for Superchick.
Despite the absence of one of the bands members the set was pretty good if you don’t count the numerous times the mic didn’t work. A mix of songs from all their albums the crowd seemed to enjoy their set and I especially enjoyed the worship song that was done at the end off Tricia Brock’s solo album, “The Road”.
Next up was Hawk Nelson. Their set started off with “Your Love Is A Mystery” and went into a few acoustic songs “Everything You Ever Wanted” and “Take Me”. The set was energetic as you’d expect from the band and was a good addition to Uprise’s lineup this year.
Kutless followed Hawk Nelson and opened with “It Is Well” and followed suit with their set doing mostly worship. Always a good band to see live.
After Kutless I headed off to my car to power nap (didn’t wanna fall asleep on the drive home, lol) and that was the end of my Uprise Festival 2011 experience. We listened to David Crowder from a distance who sounded great (we could hear REALLY well from the car) and then headed out making it home by like 2am.
All in all the bands that were there did a great job and really made it worth all the difficulties and delays that occurred due to more technical issues than I’ve ever seen at a festival before. The festival however did a great job with scoring some good vendors who gave out free stuff, making rides, games, and animals available for free to the kids who’d attend and booking some really great bands who once again, did a great job. Will I go back to Uprise 2012? Maybe…