Sound on Sound is the debut of a new two-day fest that happened during the final weekend of September in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Boasting a strong lineup of Americana, folk, and rock, SoS promises to be a strong addition to the New England festival calendar.
Table Of Contents
Running the Numbers
Dates: September 24-24, 2022
MFW Beer Index: €9.03
Highest/Lowest Temperature: 8C/12C (55F/73F)
Reusable Cups? Yes
Free Water Stations? Yes
Sound on Sound is set up with two main stages situated side by side in an expansive grassy park. It’s a simple setup and you can spend the entire day watching music with minimal effort. The stages face out over the water to Long Island, perfect for sound — except if you happen to place a massive VIP structure right where it can echo back all the sound.
Just a solid lineup from top to bottom with the added bonus that there are no overlapping sets so that if you wanted to see every artist, you did indeed see all of them. There’s also the added benefit that food, drink, and bathrooms were all located nearby which meant even more time with the music. This is also only festival I attended all year that didn’t have a bunch of low-quality DJs as lineup filler.
Craft beers, boat shoes, and rainy weather. Welcome to Connecticut! I don’t spend much time in the deep south of the region, but it was nice to be surrounded by fellow New Englanders. Organizers reported about 30,000 people each day, but the only time it felt overly packed was for Stevie Nicks on Saturday night.
What We Didn’t Love (And How They Fixed It)
The first day saw the festival plagued with a number of issues, the most noticeable being super long lines and chairs everywhere. Organizers responded to the criticism on social media with “we are learning and refining the experience in real time.” To the credit of Sound on Sound, they not only acknowledged the problems (most fests ignore fan complaints), they stayed up all night and resolved most of the trouble spots for Sunday. New areas were set up for up for the chair and blanket crowd along the back and sides of the venue and increased staff meant beer lines that had been over a hundred people long were down to less than twenty.
Acts I Caught and the Unofficial Order in Which I Enjoyed Them
- Band of Horses
- The Lumineers
- The Head & The Heart
- Brandi Carlile
- Noah Kahan
- The Roots
- Gary Clark Jr.
- Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
- The National
- Jade Bird
- Father John Misty
- Spin Doctors
- Jenny Lewis
- The Revivalists
- The Main Squeeze
- Trampled By Turtles
- Zach Byran
Festival MVP: Band of Horses
Kicking off off with Is There a Ghost, Band of Horses tore through their set with wild abandon. Always a solid festival stand-in, it was nice to see them after a long absence from live.
Keep Your Eye On: Noah Kahan
If you are skeptical of Tik-Tok stars, then check out Noah Kahan who rose to fame on the platform over the pandemic. The Vermont singer-songwriter writes beautiful music, but I was unprepared for his comedic banter between songs. “I’ve been called the Jewish Ed Sheeran and the less depressed Keanu Reeves,” is an example along with a long speech about when your partner finally reaches their goals, you need to tear them back down to your level.
MFW Debut: Brandi Carlile
It’s both the name of the band and their dynamic frontwoman is the first thing I learned about Brandi Carlile. The second is that this band rips live. As always, it’s nice to finally put a face to a live performance. Expect to see this gang all over during the next festival season.
Always a Good Time: The Roots
Maybe because they play together five days a week, The Roots are just on point and for a festival dominated by rock, this swerve into hip-hop-funk-rock brought the crowd to their feet.
It’s a bold move to jump off the stage and sprint barefoot through the crowd in the dark at top speed. Pretty sure the two people on the left might have missed it because they are looking at their phones.
The second festival I ever covered for Music Festival Wizard back in 2010 was from the deep crowd with Canon Rebel. I have a few super blurry photos of both Wilco and Dave Matthews. Earlier this summer, I got snap Jeff Tweedy up close and now Dave. I can finally retire.
Balloons for Noah
I try to bring as little as possible to a festival, so impressed that these folks somehow got in giant balloons that spelled Noah. Even more entertaining, he pointed out during his set that due to dancing they now just spelled “ho”.
What’s the weather like? We have a saying in New England – “if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” Autumn is no different and sort of a grab bag when it comes to the weather. Sound on Sound saw a super sunny Saturday, a rainy Sunday, and some chilly evenings.
What’s the prime hours for music? Music started every day just after noon and ended at 11:00 pm without almost no breaks in between.
Where did you sleep? Every hotel in a thirty-mile radius was sold out while Airbnb was expensive and super-shady. I camped out in my car and remembered why I live in Europe.
How do you get there? New England public transportation is always a struggle. For instance, there is a train right from my town to Bridgeport, but it only goes once a day and is prohibitively expensive. Like most people, I drove a car to the festival – the first time in nearly five years. If you are based in New York City, there are a bunch more transportation options so I would look into basing myself out of there next year.
What was security like? Maybe I haven’t been to a US festival in a while, but I’ve had easier times going through airport security. The searches were quite cursory and friendly, but the metal detectors were a bit intense.
First year festivals can be tough and I’m not sure I have ever seen a festival respond so quickly in real-time to legitimate fan complaints. It bodes well for the future of the Sound on Sound and if they can keep that top-notch lineup, I’ll definitely be back for a second year.