LouFest 2011: What to Expect, What to See and More

It's no secret we're all aflutter over the return of LouFest, our city's very own large-scale indie music festival. Not only does the to-do feature eighteen bands on two stages over two days, it's set in the green jewel of our city, Forest Park, and attracts national acts in genres from hip hop and folk to hippie-fuzz-rock while celebrating the best of the STL. But all this gushing over the success of the inaugural festival in 2010 has its consequences.

While last year, show-goers could spread out and the vibe was as relaxed as a backyard concert, the second edition of the festival should be bigger on every front (can you say Schlafly Beer Garden?). Expect larger crowds and longer lines, but also the amped-up energy that comes with it.

LouFest Music Festival August 27-28 St. Louis, Missouri

Distance from St. Louis: 0 miles. It's HERE, y'all!

Location: Forest Park, Central Fields (Jefferson Avenue and Wells Drive, behind the Jewel Box)

Cost: Regular passes for one or two days are $38 and $64, respectively. If close isn't close enough for you, you can purchase the VIP Experience for $250 or VIP Full-Access Experience for $450, which features on-stage seating.

Getting There: LouFest encourages green practices by offering free valet bike parking at the festival, sponsored by Trailnet. The Forest Park Trolley, which runs every twenty minutes and stops at Central Field, will offer extended service from 7 p.m. until approximately 10:30 p.m., or twenty minutes after the last act each night. An adult day-pass costs $2, and the trolley drops off at the Forest Park/DeBalivier Metrolink station.

Lodging: This isn't a campout fest, and we don't condone sleeping out in Forest Park. If you can't make it to your humble abode or are coming in from out of town, be on the lookout for bands at the several hotel options on the outskirts of the park, including the Hampton Inn & Suites, or stroll over from the Chase Park Plaza ...and host an afterparty, why don't ya?

Key Acts: The most-talked-about sets are each night's headliners -- for the quality of performance and rarity of a St. Louis show: the obliterating hip-hop funk of The Roots on Saturday, and on Sunday, TV On the Radio, the eclectic indie rockers who suffered the tragic loss of bassist Gerard Smith this spring. We're also extra excited about !!! and its party-starting disco-punk, who haven't played St. Louis since 2007. The ultra-quiet folk falsetto of the Low Anthem was chilling in the confines of the Pageant, but we're curious as to how it will translate in echo-deadening afternoon heat. A strong local lineup includes sets from Jon Hardy & the Public, which we haven't seen in forever, and the new-look Old Lights, fresh off a barnstormer of a 10" release at Off Broadway. It's tough to find low points on this lineup, actually.

Pack: We know, we know: August in the river city, otherwise known as Satan's sauna. Take advantage of the festival's free water refilling stations by bringing your own water bottle: up to one liter, either plastic/metal and empty or factory-sealed. Fold-up chairs are allowed, but we prefer blankets because you'll probably be toting them back and forth between the stages all day. Plus, a blanket is more useful for the nap we plan on taking during Sleepy Sun's set.

What Not to Wear: Combat the inevitable swass by wearing loose-fitting and/or durable fabrics in concealing colors. Sleeves are not your friend. When in doubt, say yes to the grass skirt.

Kids These Days: Kids under ten get in free with a ticket-holding adult, and Area K provides entertainment for pint-size rockers, including activities from the Magic House, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Fazio's Rock Academy and others. The Area K Stage features the winners of the high school Battle of the Bands competition, including Dear Genre and Dubb Nubb.

Contribute: Vote for the official Loufest t-shirt design here. Last year's flower-power-reminiscent winning design was created by Kadie Foppiano of STL-Style - and she's got another horse in the race this year. Polls close this Wednesday, August 3 at 11:59 p.m.

Afterparty: So far, there's no topping the official one afterparty, official or unofficial: DJ sets by Deerhunter (!!) and Questlove (!?!?!) at the Gramophone on Saturday, August 27 at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $17 here. This sounds like the ?uintessential aftershow, but as your friendly neighborhood music blog, we encourage other party planners to come out of the woodwork for Sunday night throwdowns. After all, we're representing our city here, and who's going to show Das Racist a good time?

St. Louis Connection: Talk about "celebrate St. Louis." Four local bands will hold their own in early featured slots: Jon Hardy & the Public and Troubadour Dali on Saturday, Old Lights and recent-expatJumbling Towers on Sunday.

Worth it?: Absolutely. LouFest is one of the major events that crystallizes that explosive trajectory of St. Louis' current music scene. Be there. Be loud. Vive la LouFest.