Excellent music, good food, and five and a half hours of fun are not things you expect from a rather unknown music festival, but that is exactly what festival goers got at the first day of the Détente 2003 music festival. The Katzamore Productions crew came through with a myriad of sounds from both local bands and national acts alike.
Midpoint Misfortune, out of Buffalo, NY, was only the beginning of the night which had a tough mission: to have a single day devoted to Christian music, and have it live up to the hype of the rest of the event. Midpoint Misfortune was pleasant, but didn’t have anything that made them stand out as the other acts did. They were similar to many other punk acts, from the clothes they wore on stage to the music, which could be compared to Two Thirty Eight. Following Midpoint was Jaded Thorns (Word of Mouth Records), a band that at first glance might not expect to rock as hard as they actually did. With their strong vocals and different array of tempos, they boosted the energy of a rather quiet crowd.
That energy continued over to another Word of Mouth Records band, Mending Point. With harmonies galore and not as heavy rock as the first two bands, these guys gave everyone a little hiatus from the hard-pounding sounds. A hometown favorite at this show held in Batavia, NY, Mending Point didn’t necessarily have much stage presence, but sure were a great band to listen to musically.
I think the biggest surprise of the night happened when Last Tuesday (DUG Records) hit the stage. Hailing from Harrisburg, PA, this band has nothing but talent. Not only did they have total and complete energy, but the crowd involvement just blew up the energy of the crowd as well. I managed to squeeze a question or two in with Carl Emmons, the bassist of Last Tuesday, while he signed autographs and talked to the fans. I asked him whether the band likes the larger crowded festivals or the smaller and he told me, “We like to play smaller venues, they’re more personal. We’re all about getting to know people.” Last Tuesday shined in so many ways, and stole the show.
With a tough act to follow, Cool Hand Luke (Floodgate Records) from Tennessee hit the stage with a bang. Cool Hand Luke also lowered the energy of the crowd with the mellow sounds and relaxing beats, but still kept everyone interested. True to their Christian background, the band shared their message of love and hope with the crowd. “Even selling a shirt is not why we are here,” they told the crowd toward the end of their set. “It’s for Jesus Christ. We have a deep respect for his sovereignty and supremacy.” That drew close to the loudest applause of the night.
Concluding the national act section of the night was Holland (Tooth & Nail Records) from Nashville, TN. For many concert goers in attendance that night, Holland was the main event. Every song I looked around and saw so many people, young and old, singing along. Kicking off their set with “The Whole World” really summed their performance, “And the whole world/ just sings along/ to every word and song/ to every word and song.”
Even after the crowd diminished the music kept on going. The final band, from Rochester, NY, didn’t hit the stage until around 10:30, but those who stuck around sure had a show. LastPageFirst fused energy with punk-pop beats that raised the energy of even the sleepiest of those in the crowd, and the sugar from the Gummi Bears didn’t hurt at all.
Overall I see positive things happening with the Détente festival in coming years. This event, in only its second year and first year with a Christian Rock Night, drew close to 200 people on this night alone. In a time of secular bands getting most of the festival time such as Warped Tour and Summer Sanitarium, it is comforting to see that people are still turning out for Christian events and festivals. The fact that a whole day was devoted to Christian music really shows how this genre is being accepted, and Détente gave it a chance.
Ashley is a 17 year old high school senior from Hilton, NY