“You guys are too good to be Spinal Tap!”
With that quality heckle from one of the hundred or so who gathered at the Keep Stage nestled next to the castle in a tree-lined grove of Sherwood Forest, the first Sound on Sound Fest got under way near McDade, about an hour east of Austin.
This Is Spinal Tap certainly did their part, performing a half-dozen classics from the legendary mockumentary — including and especially “Stonehenge,” complete with a tiny styrofoam mockup of the English monoliths and a jolly jester prancing around it.
That set the tone for what’s to come over the next three days, with indie roc, punk, hip-hop and more spiced with jovial Renaissance frivolity in a wooded labyrinthine setting alongside an open field where the big bands will play on the Dragon’s Lair stage.
Still to come Friday are sets from the Descendents, Run the Jewels, Phantogram, Guided By Voices and about two dozen others, with full days and nights also set for Saturday and Sunday. Friday’s weather was overcast and gray but cool and not quite as humid as expected, despite a few sprinkles.
Early shuttles from the Mohawk ran smoothly and comfortably. Passes to board a fleet of nine buses, each with a capacity of 57, sold out before the festival began. Just past noon, the ride was about 50 minutes; the drive will be longer during rush hour, possibly more than an hour. Others were arriving by car as the fest gates opened around a half-hour before the first bands began playing at 1:30 p.m.