Sept. 21-24, 2011, Nashville was taken over by the music scene and transformed into SoundLand, a multi-venue music festival spread throughout the city. The venues included Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom, the Neuhoff Factory in Germantown, War Memorial Auditorium, Third Man Records, 12th & Porter, MAI, The Basement, The Station Inn and an outdoor block party stage at 12th and Porter. SoundLand specializes in having the best up-and-coming Nashville musicians performing alongside national acts. The 2011 lineup included Yelawolf, Ghostland Observatory, M. Ward, The Black Belles, Those Darlins, Natalie Prass, How I Became The Bomb, Tristen and about 100 others.
Wristbands for SoundLand (priced at $65) included four days of music in the best venues that Nashville has to offer. The consumer could also choose a VIP badge for $150 that granted access to multiple parties strategically scheduled before/after some of the biggest shows of the weekend. From the pregame to the awesome performances to the after-party, the five-year-old Soundland is growing every year, giving everyone more hope for the future of our music scene.
The first night of SoundLand took place in the War Memorial auditorium only and was opened by Jonny Corndawg, a dancing country star with a dark style and sense of humor that can appeal to all ears. Corndawg was accompanied by the extremely talented guitarist/singer known simply as DAWES, who did a solo set after Corndawg. After the Jonny Corn-Dawes show, the headliner for night one, M. Ward, took the stage. Ward’s beautiful songwriting is best known from “She and Him,” a band featuring actress Zooey Deschanel.
Night two (Thursday) featured some big Nashville names like Cherub and How I Became the Bomb playing alongside national acts such as Foster the People and Ghostland Observatory. This was the first real night of Soundland; the music was loud, and excitement was in the air. I was very happy to be there to experience the whole city coming together in the name of great and diverse music.
Night three (Friday) really stepped up the game. Third Man Records (Jack White’s label headquarters) hosted PUJOL and Neil Hamburger. Hamburger’s awkward, disgusting, character stand-up comedy routine consisted of jokes about pop culture, loud outbursts of gross bodily sounds, spilling drinks and yelling at the crowd. His comb-over, glasses and stained tuxedo have been seen with Tenacious D, Tim and Eric and more. Other mentionable acts in Nashville on Friday night were Yelawolf, Natalie Prass, Chancellor Warhol and Wick-it.
The final night of SoundLand 2011 took place mainly at the Neuhoff Factory Party stage. I had the privilege of meeting the owner of the venue, and she told me that SoundLand was the first concert they’ve ever had there. They have opened the doors for celebrity weddings and music video shoots for big Nashville country artists. Neuhoff was the most unique venue of the festival hands down (set in the middle of an old factory) and hosted GREAT bands like The Black Belles, Those Darlins, Tristen and JEFF The Brotherhood.
Next Big Nashville SoundLand is a mecca of great music, incredible venues and people that love original music. Redefining the meaning of “Music City,” SoundLand is a young festival that has many years to come. There really are a lot of amazing things happening within driving distance of Murfreesboro—more than just Bonnaroo, bars and house shows.