Cropped Out 2013 in review

“Cropped Out” 2013 – a review of the festival by Sam Wilkerson

In Louisville, it’s not the color of the leaves or the brisk air that indicates Autumn. It’s the weird alien that flips you off upon your arrival at Cropped Out music festival.

Me and my White Reaper boys


Every year since 2010, Cropped Out has brought numerous musical riches to Louisville (e.g., R Stevie Moore, Jandek, Scratch Acid, Chain and the Gang, Lil B, and too many more to mention). God bless the messiahs of this deadbeat congregation, Ryan Davis and James Ardery. They picked the prettiest days of the year to hold the fest, brought in the prettiest people, and hung the gnarliest tapestries. In short, they each deserve one hundred pats on the back.  If you didn’t go to Cropped Out this year, here’s what you missed:

1. Surprises

Cincinnati’s Tweens

Many people I’ve talked to tell me that they think Cropped Out is the best music festival in the country. Based on my experience, I can’t disagree, as no other festival has thrown me as many curve balls as this one. Every band I saw exceeded my expectations in one way or another. There’s no YouTube video that can really do justice to the pummeling force of Cincinnati’s trash-pop trio Tweens, nor has any hard rock band I’ve seen deliver as much persistent energy as Human Eye — that alone doesn’t include the few other bands you’ve never heard of who end up making your night. Cropped Out rules the roost because no matter who you are or what you’re into, you’ll walk away happy with at least a few performances.

2. Shitty (free) Tattoos & Haircuts 


See that trooper to the right? That’s Adam Hussein of Globsters stardom. He got the indie pop band Beat Happening’s logo tattooed on his ankle. There were a decent amount of shitty tattoos given, but I’d liked to have seen more shitty haircuts. Such is life.

3. Secrets for a Dollar

 Later, I bought a secret from this guy Dakota. He gave me the option between mild, spicy, extra spicy, and mystery. I chose the latter, and he told me about the first time he was fellated. I walked away feeling like a terrible person (I’ll spare you the rest of his story), but I’d never felt so close to someone so quickly. I guess that’s the power of the dollar.

4. “What’s up, dude?”

Jake Philley and Sam Benanti
The last few years I’ve gone to this fest, I’d experienced a revelation of dudery. This includes a heck of a lot of how you doin’s, good to seeya’s and what’s up’s. Most that attend are like-minded people and are extremely easy to get along with. It’s great to see friends and make friends – I did a lot of both.

 5. Babes

Where do I begin? Cropped Out is a babe sanctuary. 

6. Hanging Out with Seasoned Vets 

Steve Rigot of The Endtables and his buddy Brian Abrams

It’s awesome to see that local bands from 20-30 years ago are still at it. When’s the next time you’re gonna be able to stage dive during ’70s punk contemporaries The Endtables, or tap your party shoes to longtime surf rockers Juanita?

7. First Rate Headliners

Mayo Thompson & his band

The best are saved for last at Cropped Out. Alt-country outfits Lambchop and Freakwater consecutively killed it, and it all happened a day after Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Matt Sweeney played through their Superwolf album. Mayo Thompson showcased his ’70s full length, Corky’s Debt to His Father, and provided an unanticipated classic rock sound with a backing band. Wolf Eyes performed a loud and droning “set” with a total ebb and flow about them, and Endless Boogie stayed true to their name with what was a constant union of psychedelic riffage and a rock-solid back beat. The overall succession of acts was ideal, because the next band never sounded like the last, i.e., sonic q-tips.

8. Owner of Astro Black Records, Jim Marlowe, Wearing a Dumb Hat

Where else are you gonna see this?


  1. e
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    i thought i was there to like, listen to cool music and shit, but i guess i was just a “babe,” huh?

  2. sam w
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    a babe that listens to cool music!

  3. Hilary
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I bartender the first croppedout in 2010 and had a blast. I saw a little of everything that weekend including Dakota (the guy telling secrets for $1) having one of his guitar strings snapping and cutting open his head (he didn’t stop playing and later had to get stitches). I was fortunate enough to be able to bartend again this year and experience it all over again!

  4. Shit and shine
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    BRAV-fuckin-O to Ryan and James!!! Total geniuses ,TOTAL lovely guys! Guys with a VISION!
    Easily the best festival in America and most likely the rest of the world. Other festivals might get a few cool bands but cropped out gets a LOT of cool bands and no other festival
    Can touch the vibe and location of cropped out. Sitting there by the fire, listening to blues control, watching the river boats twinkle past .
    My god. It was sublime.
    My band shit and shine were absolutely honored and thrilled to be able to come back and play for a second time. It was easily one of the most enjoyable show experiences we have ever had and that’s down to the vibe being so totally sweet. SO SWEET!!!! I’m still on a buzz from that show and weekend even after our hellish hungover 16.5 hour drive back to Austin. Totally worth it. I’d do it again if they ever have us back.i’ll do it again anyway.

    and I mean LOVE

    Shit and shine

    Ps. Louisville -such a nice place.

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  1. By Cropped Out Review | Louisville on October 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    [...] Berkowitz has posted a review of the Cropped Out Festival, which is not an insignificant acheivement – reviewing it, that [...]

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