On Saturday May 21st, my friend Kelsey and I headed over to St. Louis in a spontaneous day trip to see the 105.7 Pointfest – a rock festival at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights. I had heard about it for weeks but hadn’t considered going to until the night before. All I wanted was to see Bring Me the Horizon, an English band who wasn’t going to be back in the States until next year (as far as I know). Luckily, I got to experience even more than just BMTH, making the whole day absolutely worthwhile.
The doors opened at 11:30 AM, but my friend and I didn’t get there until about 2:30 PM – sadly, that meant we missed most of the local bands who had won contests to play on Pop’s Stage. They had earned their place in the setlist; missing these guys (Conquer As They Come, One Day, OATM, Soundtrapp, City of Parks, Disguise the Limit, The Judge, As Earth Shatters) including Isabella, who has been around since 2008 and has played at this festival before, was probably my only regret of the day.
Luckily we made it in time to see Sick Puppies, who we’ve wanted to see for a while now. Not only did they sound really solid, they successfully amped us up for the rest of the day’s festivities – and at the end of their set we even managed to snag their autographs! What a cool group of people; I’ve always respected female musicians, but to see Emma Anzai rock out that bass guitar and actually get to meet her (if only for a moment) was pretty sick.
Another highlight of the afternoon was watching Story of the Year perform. Another St. Louis native band, they’ve played at Pointfest several times through the years. I remember people listening to them in high school, and Kelsey knew the lyrics to all the old stuff. Watching her scream along hoarsely to Dan Marsala – “UNTIL THE DAY I DIE, I I’LL SPILL MY HEART FOR YOUU” – was awesome; even more hilarious was the fact that this little girl next to us watched Kelsey with big round eyes, full of respect for her talent (or lack thereof… *wink*).
Here’s a few more rapid fire highlights before you get bored:
- Flogging Molly stellar performance (as always), complete with acoustic banjo, fiddle, and a mosh pit that acted more as a demented version of “ring-around-the-rosy” as people slammed into each other with smiles on their faces.
- The Struts sounded even better live than they do in their recordings. Luke Spiller (the lead singer) effectively channeled his visual Bowie-esque glam-rock appeal.
- Claudio Sanchez absolutely shredded Coheed and Cambria’s “Welcome Home” on his double-neck guitar – and even played with his teeth. Or tongue. (It was hard to tell which from my seat.)
- Bring Me the Horizon. It’s still sinking in how great they were live, but Kelsey and I bought TWO of their albums on CD, and we don’t buy hard copies of music very often anymore. I’m convinced that I will 100% see them next time they’re within 200 miles of here.
- Chevelle played a really solid set. I didn’t grow up on this band like a lot of other people, but they’re definitely a great three-piece rock band who I didn’t expect I’d like.
I would recommend going next year to anyone, even if you have kids. All of the kids I saw were actually into the music, if not more so than their
parents, which was a neat phenomenon. Just be sure to get tickets underneath the awning around the Main Stage. All of the main speakers are near the stage itself, so if you get a General Admission lawn seat, the sound becomes muffled and unbalanced. It’s definitely worth the extra ten bucks or so to move up to the actual seats.
Or if you’d like to stand in the pit of the Main Stage, be my guest! It’d be a great time, except the pit looked like a really small, packed area. I myself like that sort of thing, but if the crowd starts moshing up front, it could get even more jam packed while everyone else avoids the few people darting up to the front and center. Looked like a sweaty time.
Overall, Pointfest was a pretty chill day. There wasn’t an overwhelming number of people, so it wasn’t too intense to stand in the crowd out in front of the Black and White stages. By the time the headliners hit their own stages, I was still pretty pumped and ready to keep going, unlike past all-day concerts where I’m completely worn out by 6 PM. No, this set up was really nice. Also, it was a nice plus to be able to park for free and bring in my own food and water, which doesn’t seem to be a common commodity anymore. And as a warning, a tallboy Bud Light was $11.50 and a Strawberrita was $15. If you’re interested in drinking at this sort of thing, I expect the prices could be even higher next year.
My only complaint about the whole day was that I wish there had been a map or an explanation of some sort so I could understand the layout of the four stages. I had been to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater before, which only has one stage normally. Thus, I was under the impression (maybe naively) that all four stages would all be set up within view of my seat. This was not the case, as the White, Black, and Pop’s stages were spread around the walkway to the Main Stage. Long story short, I ended up with a sunburned left shoulder as I watched the afternoon’s performances. Ah well.
Next year, definitely take a trip down to Maryland Heights! And if you can, surround yourself with people who know the music. It always makes for a great time if you can rock out beside others who already know all the words!
See more images at 105.7 the Point’s website. And as a final note, it’s important to support local radio and local bands, like Story of the Year, who got their start performing at this festival. Seeing them return as successful musicians was even a little inspiring. Who knows where your local band will end up? You could say you knew them way back when.