Daniel Sydney and Ashley Francis left Orlando at 2 a.m. Thursday to make the eight-hour drive to Atlanta.
The pair was so excited about attending CounterPoint, for which they bought tickets in early summer, shortly after Francis returned from Bonnaroo, that they wanted to make sure they got to town in plenty of time to get to the three-day EDM festival on a 350-acre piece of land about 20 miles south of downtown Atlanta.
Francis, decked out in an Indian headdress that someone gave her at a Sleigh Bells concert last year (which she planned to pass along to someone else at CounterPoint), said the fact that CounterPoint was new and probably smaller than Ultra Music Festival in Miami appealed to her.
Added Sydney, “They have a good mix of music with some indie electronica and rappers. It’s like an Ultra Bonnaroo.”
The pair, who are most interested in seeing Friday’s Crystal Castles, M83 and Bassnectar and Saturday main draw Skrillex, plan to camp out on site through Sunday morning, adding that they appreciated the affordable $15 camping fee.
Early Thursday evening, thousands of electronic music fans streamed through the entrances, some already donning colorful wigs and animal pelts, others in paisley skirts and baseball caps.
Organizers expect between 16,000 and 20,000 attendees throughout the three-day affair.
While CounterPoint doesn’t fully kick in until Friday, on Thursday night the “Beat” tent was pounding with the sounds of Nobody Beats the Drum and Adventure Club. Across the field, the “Point” and “Counterpoint” stages stood side by side, primed for use starting Friday at 1 p.m.
Spread throughout the grassy terrain were rows of food trucks (Champion Cheesesteaks, The Mobile Marlay among them), food tents (DBA Barbecue, Rev Coffee) and vendors selling the usual assortment of clothing, sunglasses, and, in a handy turn, a “general store” proffering candy, batteries, sunscreen and many other forgot-to-pack items. (The majority of vendors are cash only; ATMs are on site.)
Those who wanted a diversion from the music could wander around and check out the live art displays, being created by 10 artists.
Greg Mike, the art director for CounterPoint, worked with spray paint on his own portrait of what initially looked like a squirrel, but soon sprouted antlers. Mike, of Atlanta’s ABV Gallery, said he’ll work on the design all weekend, letting it develop organically.
Nearby, towers of white cardboard boxes with random squares of sod on top presented another opportunity to say, “Huh.”
For a full schedule of performers at CounterPoint, check out http://www.counterpointfestival.com/.