Music fans from near and far learned to dance in the rain at this year’s Freakfest. The annual Halloween-themed music festival in downtown Madison — this year, held on Saturday Oct. 26th — saw constant showers throughout the duration of the event.
Despite the subpar weather conditions, event goers still showed great enthusiasm for the performers at each of the three stages in the State Street area. A Madison Police Department Incident Report stated that about 20,000 people bought tickets to the event, which is in line with sales for the past couple years.
The Frances Street Stage featured Wisconsin natives Rob Hicks, BrightViolet, Yung Sum, Landon Devon, TeawhYB and Jayne Joyce. The local artists each put on a great performance, proving that Wisconsin’s talented music scene is here to stay.
The Ian’s Pizza Stage at Gilman Street drew a sizable crowd for headliner Gin Blossoms. The singers of “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You” faced the challenge of performing for an audience younger than many of their songs. Even so, the American rock group was greeted with cheers from both young and old concertgoers.
Other notable performers on the Gilman Street Stage included the Madison locals No Love Dog, Heavy Looks and German Art Students, as well as Milwaukee-based Buffalo Gospel.
The largest and most well-attended stage of the evening was the Mountain Dew Stage at Capitol Square. Hip-hop artists Alexander Kain, Djay Mando and Mic Kellogg set the tone for the evening. Next, the highly anticipated up-and-coming hip-hop/rap artist WebsterX took the stage. The Milwaukee-based rapper wowed the drenched, costumed audience with his charisma and stage presence.
As the performance went on, college students, visitors and locals alike packed together tightly to get the best view. WebsterX mixed in some playful banter with the audience in between songs to elevate the energy. The crowd would need this momentum to last through the cold, rainy break that lasted nearly an hour in between WebsterX and headliner Lil Yachty.
As soon as Lil Yachty finally walked on stage after midnight, the crowd erupted in cheers. Shouts of “Lil’ Boat!” and “Yachty Yachty Yachty!” filled the air. The 22-year-old rapper knew how to hype the saturated crowd, performing fan-favorites “Broccoli,” “Minnesota” and “iSpy,” along with his lesser-known songs.
The singer’s voice was a bit different from the one he presents on the radio, but the audience did not seem to mind. Yachty’s strategic use of props, lights and even loud horns helped mask the times when the singer was slightly off key. His relentless commitment to giving the crowd a good time made the event worth every drop of rain.
Lil Yachty blared one final horn after performing for over an hour, indicating that Freakfest must draw to a close. Everyone made their way home, ears ringing, to trade their wet masks and costumes for dry pajamas. Once again, the legendary Halloween celebration provided Madisonians with an unforgettable way to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year.
Anna Patterson is a writer for The Daily Cardinal. To read more of her work, click here.