Review by Camber Sollberger
Photos by Laura Fox
Ohio-based Elevation Group, creators of the WonderStruck and WonderBus Music & Arts Festivals, presented the inaugural WonderRoad Indianapolis music festival Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12, 2022. The festival featured a wide range of live acts from bass-bumping hip-hop and heavy metal to chill indie rock and R&B. The lineup included headliners Vampire Weekend and Lord Huron, as well as local Indianapolis favorites like The Palace and 81355. As the host of WonderRoad and the oldest city park in Indianapolis, Garfield Park provided beauty, comfort, and community for a fun, music-filled weekend.
The line-up for WonderRoad 2022 was not one to miss, and they have big shoes to fill for future festivals. The beloved local, Indianapolis group, Huckleberry Funk, kicked off the festival on the Music Elevates main stage. Their high-energy performance of genre-bending funk brought attitude and excitement to the stage, getting the crowd moving and ready for a weekend full of live music. The Music Elevates stage later hosted the festival headliners as well as fan favorites Milky Chance and Hippocampus. Next door, the White Claw stage featured amazing artists such as Chvrches, Bastille, and a number of other artists from around the world.
Tucked behind the luxe VIP Lounge in the stunning Garfield Park pagoda, the Hi-Fi stage sat in a shaded area full of food, art, and fun for children. This all-ages event kept kids entertained with large bounce houses, face painting, and play areas, while their parents enjoyed adult beverages and music groups like Reignwolf, John Harvie, and Motherfolk.
People from all over the country came to enjoy their best-loved artists and were met with classic midwestern hospitality from staff and fellow concert goers alike. The crowd consisted of a mixture of those wanting to be as close as possible to the musicians and others preferring the shade and relaxation, listening from afar. The colorful and lively ambience was well received by fans in striking, energy-matching outfits. Hosted during Pride month and on the same day as the Indianapolis Pride Parade, WonderRoad showed its support for its LGBTQ+ fans displaying pride flags and banners, but I do wish they had more openly queer artists featured on their lineup.
WonderRoad was well organized, providing for the needs of their hundreds of attendees. Water stations and misting fans kept music lovers cool and hydrated. The Vendor Village provided numerous ways to get connected to the community, and abundant merchandise allowed fans to bring home tokens from their favorite artists. Facilities were well-kept and numerous, so fans never had to wait in line to use restrooms or washing stations. A wide variety of food trucks, including ample vegan options and an array of different cuisines, kept festival-goers fueled for the show-packed weekend of music, food, and bliss.
No matter how organized a festival is, no one trumps the weather - but WonderRoad sure put up a good fight. WonderRoad handled an intense storm with precision while evacuating patrons and rescheduling acts. This was all made possible by local sponsors MOKB Presents, Hi-Fi, Fanfare Tickets, Eskew Law, Arbuckle Nursery and Landscape and event promoter Elevation Group. The welcoming environment, wide array of genres and peoples represented, and stellar accommodations will bring fans back for years to come. The first of (hopefully) many WonderRoad festivals was a huge success, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for next year.