High Water Music Festival

Coming to Charleston in April 2022

High Water Music Festival

Despite cancellation last spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic, High Water Music Festival is going to be held this April, specifically on the weekend of April 23rd and 24th. With a venue of North Charleston’s Riverfront Park, along the Cooper River, the line-up features a more alternative genre of music, modern rock if you will. It has been curated by Shovels & Rope, an American “folk duo” from Charleston that boast a blend of country rock and traditional folk.

The 2022 festival will be featuring My Morning Jacket, Modest Mouse, Black Pumas, and Local Natives among others. In a similar fashion to Shovels & Rope, these artists also take part in the more modern American rock-and-roll genre.

Even if you have never heard of them, you might attend this festival and discover your new favorite band.

My Morning Jacket’s 2020 release – The Waterfall II.

My Morning Jacket was formed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1998. Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Jim James, bassist Tom Blankenship, drummer Patrick Hallahan, guitarist Carl Broemel, and keyboardist Bo Koster, the group amassed a following beginning in the 2000s in part due to their live performances. The band’s name stems from James, who once found a discarded coat with the emblazoned letters MMJ. In terms of what genre they trend towards – Wikipedia sees them in the scenes of “Indie rock, art rock, psychedelic rock, alternative country, Southern rock, jam, and Americana.”

Black Pumas might stand out more, as the group received its first Grammy Award nomination in 2020 for Best New Artist at the 62nd awards. They are an “American psychedelic, R&B soul” band based in Austin, Texas, founded in 2017. Led by singer/songwriter Eric Burton and guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, their fairly recent song “Colors” has over 100 million streams on all platforms. On November 24, 2020, “Colors” received Grammy Award nominations for Record of the Year and Best American Roots Performance, while their self-titled album received a nomination for Album of the Year, at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. As to the band’s name, it was inspired by Quesada’s fascination with jaguars (his studio has a jaguar logo) while simultaneously a play on the Black Panthers. The band has sold out multiple tours across North America and Europe. Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, proclaimed May 7, 2020, as Black Pumas Day. This is certainly one of the bands I am looking forward to seeing the most.

The festival’s graphic advertisement.

Modest Mouse is an American rock band founded in 1992 from Issaquah, Washington. They are now based in Portland, Oregon with current members including singer/guitarist Issac Brock, drummer Jeremiah Green, and bassist Eric Judy. As to how they became one, Brock met Judy when he was employed at a local family video store outside Seattle as a teenager. They later found Green at a heavy metal show, and decided to make music together. Their big breakthrough occurred with the release of 2000 album The Moon & Antarctica, and mainstream success continued with their fourth album – Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004) which ended up with two hits, “Float On” and “Ocean Breathes Salty,” both of which were performed on Saturday Night Live. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album for the year, and “Float On” was nominated for Best Rock Song.

Local Natives is slightly younger. Established in 2005, they are based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. The band is comprised of Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar), Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Ryan Hahn (guitar, backing vocals), Matt Frazier (drums) and Nik Ewing (bass). The band came together when Ayer, Hahn, and Rice were in high school, and a year after graduating from UCLA, they were joined by Frazier and Ewing. The band started to attract the attention of the music press after playing nine shows at the 2009 SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, where initial reviews drew favorable comparisons to Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, and Vampire Weekend. 

After reading this brief summary of a few headliners, you might be wondering, how can I get access to such an amazing display of live music? While the price of a weekend pass is on the higher end ($200), do not distress. The festival requires a significant number of volunteers to operate. It just so happens that local non-profit organization, The Green Heart Project, supportive of “garden-based experiential learning projects and school garden programs to educate students connect people and cultivate community through growing, eating, and celebrating food” (according to their website’s mission statement), is offering a way in. A participant of the “Earned Tickets Program,” you can volunteer 8 hours in their gardens leading up to the festival, and receive a free weekend wristband in exchange. What an opportunity to tackle Magnet’s robust community service requirement for free tickets. If you can’t get the hours in before the festival, they are also offering volunteer shifts at their Highwater Beverage Station. For a four hour volunteer shift, you receive free same day entry. Shifts are first come first serve. For more information on how to volunteer with them, see their Instagram (@greenheartchs) for the link in their bio. Thank you Green Heart!