On Saturday, September 23, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Cayuga Sound Festival with a press pass. The festival, a collection of performances to celebrate Ithaca, took place in Stewart Park and was packed with people from around upstate New York. The performers were all talented and well-renowned, and while the festival had a similar vibe to Grassroots, it felt far more intimate and community-oriented. Unfortunately, one band ended up cancelling their performance, which threw off the schedule, but the organizers did a good job to make sure that everyone still had a good time.
The X-Ambassadors, the band that helped create the festival, was the headlining act of the night. They drew in the audience with heartfelt stories about attending Stewart Park Day Camp when they were growing up, and explained the connections to Ithaca in their songs. The X-Ambassadors also debuted two songs that they had never before played in public, a thrilling experience for all involved. As they moved along to their bigger hits, they encouraged the audience to sing along and start dancing. The X-Ambassadors had a strong stage presence and definitely lived up to my expectations.
The Roots followed the X-Ambassadors, and were the last act of the night. Although they performed well, I did not find the performance to be as engaging as others had been, and it was clear that others felt the same way as the audience slowly shrunk throughout the performance. However, because the performance was the culmination of a whole day’s worth of festivities, many people were simply too tired to stick around for the final performance.
Overall, the festival was a blast and a great tradition for Ithaca residents to begin embracing. The festival will take place again next year, and I would highly recommend that any music lover buy tickets for next year.