The Best and Worst of Innings Festival

Music fans turned out en masse.
Music fans turned out en masse. Kelsee Becker
The first-ever Innings Festival has come and gone. Between the bands, the vibe, and the walking (so much walking), we saw and heard a whole lot. Some people knocked it outta the park. Others? Well, we hope they get traded next season.

Here's a look back at the best and worst of the baseball-themed event at Tempe Beach Park.

Worst Frontloading
Credit where credit is due: The folks behind Innings picked a cool range of acts. From No Depression alt-country heroes to electro-pop stars, there was something for everyone. But it seemed like they had trouble spreading the wealth out over three days. Friday was jam-packed with big-name acts. Having groups like Queens of the Stone Age, Sylvan Esso, Young The Giant, Phosphorescent, and Cold War Kids all on one day had the rest of the weekend looking light in comparison. Ashley Naftule

Best Grumpy Old Men
Something about the Home Plate stage brought out sauciness with the old dude set. On Friday night, a gray-haired man grumpily made his way out of the crowd during Queens of the Stone Age. As he walked toward the exit, he gave them a dramatic thumbs-down. Same stage on Saturday: Another gray-haired man put his earbuds in while Lord Huron performed. The shade, y'all. The spectacular shade. Becky Bartkowski
Best Ambiance
More festivals should have a waterfront. Being able to look out at Tempe Town Lake and watch moonlight shimmering on its ripples while loud music buzzed through the air made Innings all the more blissful and relaxed. And all the trees and lush greenery made wandering the park grounds between acts more enjoyable. A.N.

Worst Going the Distance
We lost count of the number of people we heard grumbling about the walking distance between Home Plate and Right Field. While it was nice getting a chance to rack up some steps on the ol' Fitbit, it also meant that if you didn't leave a set five to 10 minutes early you'd miss the beginning of the next show. A.N.

click to enlarge A massive crowd turns up for Gin Blossoms at Right Field Stage. - KELSEE BECKER
A massive crowd turns up for Gin Blossoms at Right Field Stage.
Kelsee Becker
Best Surprise Turnout
Who would have thought so many people would turn out to watch a 5 p.m. Gin Blossoms set? The hometown heroes drew a crowd size that was almost headliner-worthy for their set. A.N.

Best Gin Blossoms Song for Crying in Public (Behind Sunglasses)
"Hey Jealousy." Just sayin'. B.B.

Worst Victorian Twerking
There are groups whose music demands that you drop it low and to the floor, pronto. The Decembrists, bless their hearts, are not one of them. But that didn't stop a group of girls from freaking the fuck out and dancing like they were listening to the Yin Yang Twins whisper in their ear while Colin Meloy and co. did their thing. A.N.

Best Advice
During a killer set on the Left Field stage, Craig Finn shared a few words of wisdom for political, social, and personal harmony. "I think we've all got to tell the truth to each other," he said. "I do believe it's the key to something." B.B.
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski
Ashley Naftule