SOUTHERN COMFORT: Lovin’ Life Music Fest in Charlotte drew patrons from all 50 states and seven countries, according to officials with Southern Entertainment, the event producer. Next year’s dates are May 2-4. (Lovin’ Life)

VenuesNow reporter’s daughter shares experience

The inaugural Lovin’ Life Music Fest took place May 3-5 in Charlotte, North Carolina, produced by Southern Entertainment. Forty acts performed over the three days, topped by headliners Post Malone, Stevie Nicks and Noah Kahan. From all accounts, the event ran smoothly after a sad week that saw the tragic shooting deaths of four local law enforcement officers. VenuesNow Senior Editor Don Muret’s daughter Madeline attended the fest with her boyfriend, Matt Bues. Both are graduate students living in Wilmington, North Carolina. Maddie’s father interviewed them to review the event.

VenuesNow: What drove your decision to buy tickets?

Maddie: It was the first multi-day festival for both of us. I liked that they had different artists for everybody. They had indie, pop, rap and released the lineup pretty early, so we could see who was all there. There were multiple artists that we wanted to see and that’s why we bought tickets for all three days.

Matt: I wanted to check it out and see what a music festival had to offer.

How much did you pay for tickets and do you feel was it a fair price?

Maddie: We found a coupon for college students with a code for 20% off tickets, so we paid $220 each for all three days. It was a fair price.

Tell us about your experience. Weather was a factor on the weekend, but the promoter reported total attendance surpassing 75,000, a strong number for a first-time event.

Matt: Friday was great, beautiful weather. Saturday and Sunday, they had an issue with the grounds because of all the rain. Everything got so muddy that they were having to lay straw down to counteract it. It was hard to get around because of the amount of people and the ground was (mushy) from the rain. You were kind of stuck in one spot when you found your spot and that was a little difficult to navigate.

Maddie: At first, they weren’t offering water stations and I saw on social media a lot of people were upset about that. (The promoter) came out and said, ‘we heard you, we are putting water stations in place,’ but they were at the (entrance) to the festival. Halfway through a set, if you wanted water, you had to leave where you were at the main stage and walk all the way back to the front. My suggestion would be to have more water stations surrounding the festival, so we wouldn’t have to leave and walk 10 minutes back to the front of the grounds.

How were concessions? Were there places to sit down, eat and rest?

Matt: The variety was good. There were bars everywhere, two or three by the main stage and more toward the food (court). We didn’t have to wait in a line to get a drink, but the lines for food were bad in some cases. I saw on social media, some people waited for more than an hour at some food stands, which I didn’t experience. There were a bunch of picnic tables to sit down, which were packed for most of the fest. We were lucky enough to find a small cocktail table to stand closer to the stage where we spent a lot of Saturday, which was nice. It had an umbrella, but shaded areas were few and far between.

How was the sound production?

Matt: Overall, the sound was good; however there was a problem with the Northwood Ravin Stage and the Coors Light Main Stage facing each other. There was a lot of distance between them, but artists were overlapping sets, so you could hear both (at the same) and ended up not being able to hear either one. There needs to be a little bit more time between sets; that would help. We were standing for DaBaby and Maggie Rogers was on the main stage and we could hear her set, which was louder.

Maddie: The sound was clear. When there was only one artist playing at a time, you could hear the music throughout the festival. The sound from the main stage was significantly louder, because it had a greater area to cover, so when there was another artist at the other end playing, there was conflicting sound. It wasn’t annoying, it was just difficult to hear the other artist. I understand why they did that; it’s hard to find a schedule that works for everybody.

FESTIVE: Maddie Muret and Matt Bues attended their first multi-day festival at Lovin’ Life in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Courtesy Maddie Muret)

Was there a particular artist that you didn’t know much about beforehand that you enjoyed at the festival?

Maddie: Jessie Murph was really good. I didn’t really know who she was, just knew a few of her songs. They put her on the main stage and she was phenomenal. Came out in her high cowboy boots. People enjoyed her.

Matt: I liked the Deaf Andrews. They were the first band we heard after we got into the festival on Friday.

How were the restroom facilities?

Matt: It was portable toilets. There were a lot of them, but we ended up having to wait in lines almost every time toward the latter part of the day. That could be improved.

Maddie: They were clean for the most part. They had hand sanitizer inside the port-a-potty and a little handwashing station outside, which I liked. If you had to go, there was one (port-a-potty) reasonably close.

What about security? There was reportedly just one arrest. Did you feel safe at the festival considering the tragic events of the past week?

Matt: The policing was pretty good. A lot of the artists mentioned what happened and paid respect to the (fallen) officers, which I liked. On the medical side, that was a little worrisome. There was one girl who fainted a few feet from us during the Dominic Fike set, and it probably took them 10 to 15 minutes to get to her because of the big crowd. I don’t know what they could do to improve on that time, but it’s a little concerning.

Maddie: Everywhere we went, there was a small cluster of three to four security officials. They were nice and dancing to the music, so you could tell they were having a good time, but they were ready if something happened. I felt safe, that I knew where I needed to go if something were to happen. It’s a personal responsibility that you need to stay hydrated and keep track of how much (alcohol) you drink. The girl who passed out, it was very clear that she was intoxicated.

It appeared the festival organizers were thoroughly engaged on social media and got the word out on information you needed to know. Would you agree?

Maddie: I first heard about the festival on social media and followed their accounts. I sent a few direct messages and emails before the event, asking them clarification questions, and they responded for the most part. A lot of people were commenting on (the lack of) water stations. If they didn’t do that, they may not have (taken action).

What about connectivity in general?

Maddie: There was no Wi-Fi and the (data) service was bad. You couldn’t send text messages and social media wasn’t loading, so you were in the dark a little bit on your phones. You just had to enjoy the music.

They’ve committed to holding the festival again next year. Would you consider going again?

Maddie: If I liked the lineup of artists, then I would go. It’s a big time commitment and it’s difficult to stand in the heat and the rain for three days straight. It’s expensive. We spent a few hundred bucks on food and drink alone.

Matt: It depends on who they have next year and if they’re willing to make improvements on this year’s event, but it was a ton of fun.