PREVIEW: Catalpa Festival @ Randall’s Island, NY 7/28-29

July 18. 2012 | By Olivia Harrington

If you’re going to try and prove yourself, you might as well do it with a 60-foot inflatable church, a fire-breathing military grade structure, and 30+ bands in two days is sure to grab some attention. At least that’s what the folks behind the first Catalpa Festival are hoping. Held on July 28th and 29th on Randall’s Island, the event promises to “provide not only the very best of the basic elements [of a music festival] but also to create a visual and aesthetic overload. [Catalpa Festival] is lining up to be the year’s most unique and original music and lifestyle event.” It’s quite a mouthful, but will the festival live up to its own expectations? Well, from the lineup, you can tell that Catalpa is definitely giving festivalgoers a run for their money.

Taking the stage as Saturday headliners will be The Black Keys, whose year has already seen countless awards, a sold-out stadium tour, and even a televised duet with Johnny Depp. The Akron duo will also share the bill with TV on the Radio, Umphrey’s McGee, Zola Jesus, and Hercules and the Love Affair amongst others. Sunday will host the likes of The Big Pink, AraabMUZIK, Matt & Kim, A$ap Rocky, Girl Talk, Matisyahu, and Cold War Kids. This all leads up to the finale
headliner Snoop Dogg performing Doggystyle in its entirety (no word on if any holograms will be deployed). While the festival seems to be compiling a crew of already headliner acts, bands such as Aunt Martha and The Aviation Orange also look to hold their own.

But the Catalpa organizers didn’t just stop with their booking manager. They’ve also paired with Arcadia, an arts organization that creates sculpture from military refuse, to bring to life an AfterBurner DJ booth, a musical structure that will host DJs and shoot fire. Art installations will also be present throughout the grounds of the festival, boasting creations from the likes of Yoko Ono. The festival even had its own special food vendor lineup, which revealed that eateries such as Momofuku, Crif Dogs, and Luke’s Lobster will all be on hand to feed hungry festivalgoers. And for those who really want time to chill out from the always on-edge city, Catalpa has provided the High Times Magazine Reggae Stage. Those expecting Bob Marley tributes will find them, along with various reggae acts including The High Times Cannabis Cup Band.

Catalpa has covered the music, the meals, and the totally medicinal high, but for those who craving something a bit more reckless, venture on over to the 60ft inflatable Church of Sham marriages. Whether inspired by the High Times stage or just festival grooviness, attendants can partake in real and fake marriages to whomever or whatever they want. For $10,000 you and your 9 closest friends can enjoy the VIP hot-tub cabana festival package. Hey, if you plan on getting Sham hitched, it’s not a bad place for a honeymoon.

Want to see how Catalpa Festival stacks up? See for yourself July 28th and 29th on Randall’s Island. Tickets can be purchased here.

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