The fourth annual Pot of Gold Music Festival has come to a close, leaving a slew of deflated glittery and green top hats, glow necklaces, and cigarette butts in its wake. Also? A lot of happy – and hungover – fans.
Held over St. Patrick’s Day weekend at Rawhide in Chandler, the three-day music festival brought together a variety of acts from different genres, including rock, hip-hop, country, and reggae. Headliners included Atlanta-based rapper Russ, Grateful Dead alum Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band, and reggae act Rebelution.
Here’s a look at some of the highs and lows from 2018’s Pot of Gold.
High: The Venue
Rawhide’s not a bad place to host a concert. The short distance between the indoor and outdoor stages made it easy to get back and forth to check out bands playing simultaneously. Each area was spacious enough to have plenty of room to get away from crowd clusterfucks as needed.
Why not just include parking fees in ticket prices? For festival attendees, an extra 10-spot a day is kinda crappy after forking out big bucks to attend.
High: Russ v. Rowdy Idiot
Russ and crew cut their first song short when it became apparent that a person had passed out on the ground near the front of the crowd. He called for security and, because they had to work their way through a packed crowd, it took a minute. During the lull, Russ was concerned if people had enough water. Turns out, they were thirsty. He had his team bring some water out and he started tossing bottles into the crowd.
Some jerk took this as an opportunity to lob a bottle at the rapper, hitting his midsection. Russ invited the anonymous tosser to identify his or her self, “Why don’t you come up here and make yourself known? Come on stage and be about it.” When the guilty party chose not to own up, Russ followed up with, “Yeah, you won’t come up here, but you’ll go home and talk shit about it on Twitter, from your room at mom’s house, using mommy’s phone plan." Burn!
Low: Fair Food
We get it, deep-fried food is delicious. We’re not psychopaths. But geez, a day at Pot of Gold is a long one – noon to midnight. And while a person can live on corn dogs alone, should they have to? Or nachos, fried cheesecake, cheesesteaks, or chicken tenders, for that matter? While the variety of fries was on point, with choices like pizza or carne asada, it would have been nice to see a few lighter, healthier options in the mix.
High: G. Love Getting Convulsive on the Harmonica
Fronting his namesake band, G. Love and Special Sauce, it wasn’t a high for some fans that the band didn’t play fan favorite “My Baby’s Got Sauce.” But whatever. They put some soulful style into a cover of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” which went through the roof with Love’s wicked harmonica run. His entire body was shaking as he harmonica’d the fuck out of that tune, with his band keeping the beat behind him.
High: Surprisingly Clean Bathrooms
At times, the lines were long. There were many moments where those very ready to pee were doing some fancy footwork and uncomfortable shifting to hold it in while waiting. The payoff, though? Cleanliness. Two available restroom areas catered to huge crowds, and the staff kept the restrooms from turning vile. Bless them.
Low: Drunk Bros with Giant Backpacks
Two words: Watch it!
High: Elliot Peck
This lady has some pipes! She performed with Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band. Her voice was soulful, twangy, and often both. (Peck's also in Midnight North with Grahame Lesh, Phil's son.)
Low: Vendor Section
The back half of the indoor area was home to vendors, and it could have easily been expanded to include a few more browsing and buying options. There were the medical marijuana peeps, a couple of informational stands, and your requisite clothing and accessories dealers. But there were just too few, especially of the latter. Additions to this area could have made it more engaging, especially when there was lag time between sets.
High: Pouya for Keeping Crowd Energy Through the Roof
Miami rapper Pouya’s Friday set on the indoor stage was slotted for an hour. But it felt a lot longer, maybe because of his relentless delivery. At no point did the crowd waiver. Pouya had heads moving and hands up the whole time, with many fans dropping every single lyric right along with him.
Low: Inflatable Fun
A bounce house is one thing (there weren’t any at Pot of Gold), but fuck a beach ball. They’re annoying, and we’re bringing pins next time. Sorry not sorry.