Photos by Anna Selle, except Payge Turner, by Nick Howland
Boulevardia: a nation filled with beer, food, music, and beer. Every Father’s Day weekend for the past 5 years, the old stockyards/west bottoms district of Kansas City transforms from a desolate back corner of the city to a thriving, beer-fueled experience. Put on by Boulevard Brewing Company, and a cohort of like-minded accomplices, Boulevardia brings top notch music, world class beer, and more to the people…and you better believe we were in attendance. Here are our five most enjoyable moments:
Let’s cut straight to the chase. An hour and a half into Boulevardia weekend and we were already a hot mess (from the heat, and the literal emotions pouring out of our bodies). There’s something very special about being surrounded by hundreds of people shouting the same lyrics you are. Manchester Orchestra played a perfectly heavy festival set, and Kansas City emos rejoiced.
Every Kansas Citian knows Tech N9ne, and so does much of the world, as being one of the largest independent rappers around. Tech wears his Kansas City pride on his sleeve, making note to everyone he encounters how special this town is. And this past weekend, Boulevard Brewing Company released a new beer in his honor, Bou Lou (based on the banger Caribou Lou). A slightly sweet, not too filling, wheat ale with coconut and pineapple. The cherry on top? For a short time, Tech was personally serving up the tasty brew behind the bar.
A little taste of carnivalesque characters can found roaming Boulevardia. Wild characters dipped in body paint, adorned with intricate costumes, larger than life…something that harkens to memories of some old George Clooney film (you know the one). These wandering entertainers add a little spice to your day (and night) each time you encounter one.
We’re huge fans of Payge Turner here at Playlistplay, but let’s pretend we’re not. Let’s look at Turner’s raucous performance through the eyes of the couple sitting in front of me. I can only imagine they stumbled blindly into Turner’s set, not knowing what was in store. Flashily dressed, and ready to impress, Turner and her band, the Authors, delivered a performance that stunned the growing crowd at the Vineborough Stage. What is traditionally calm, mellow vibes, exploded into an all-out rock and roll show. Turner and company tore up the stage and belted out massive sounds, something we’ve rarely seen Turner do.
Admittedly, the silent disco wasn’t much to excite us during the day, but once the sun drifted below the surrounding buildings, the urge to dance (or the beer) drew people in. Sheppa was spinning, closing out the festival. One station of latin/techno/hip-hop and more, one station of all Rick Astley covers and remixes. Yes, Sheppa Rickrolled all those eager to get their groove on. Perhaps it was heat exhaustion, the copious amounts of beer, or the promise of a good time, but Boulevardians really let themselves go wild at the silent disco.
Catch our BLVDIA gallery here.