LaureLive gets bigger, younger in third year

By the metrics that determine success in the music business in 2018 — social media followers, streams on services like Spotify and Pandora — the third LaureLive lineup is the most popular yet.

It also should have a younger appeal, according to Elevation Group President Denny Young, after they made a conscious effort to add acts like Lauv, Flor, Daya, X Ambassadors and Saturday headliner Foster the People.

“We haven’t changed. We know who we are musically,” he said. “It’s going to be pop, alternative, jam bands, a little reggae — all that is holding true … (But) I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll see more 18-to-30 than you’ve seen in previous years.”

Young said there will be more people this year, regardless of age. The size of the festival has essentially doubled since its inaugural event in 2016, forcing them to add additional parking.

That won’t be the only change past attendees will notice.

The third stage on the south end of the Laurel School Butler Campus is larger, and the acts playing there are all national and international acts, with the exception of musicians from the northeast Ohio classical ensemble Apollo’s Fire. Beer sales also will be available at the third stage for the first time.

In the field between the two main stages they’ve added a “Shade Oasis.”

“It’s a significant tented area to get out of the sun if they would like,” Young said.

And with a chance of rain in the forecast for both days, that tent may provide protection from more than just the sun.

Other changes implemented last year will continue. Organizers upgraded the food offerings in the second year by featuring northeast Ohio food trucks. Many will be returning and additional ones have been added, like Akron-area burger chain Swensons. Catering for the performers and the VIP tents will be provided by Burntwood Tavern.

“I’ll be shuttling between the Swensons food truck and Burntwood Tavern in the VIP tent and dabbling with all of the others,” Young said.

Most of the acts will be playing the festival for the first time, but Magic Giant is returning from 2017, performing on Sunday and also participating in a free yoga session that will open the second day.

“We felt they were a show stopper last year,” Young said. “You wouldn’t believe how much feedback we got from fans.”

Red Wanting Blue and X Ambassadors are returning to the festival after appearing the first year.

“That was a combination of them wanting to come back us wanting them back” Young said. “They’re strong supporters of the event. They were there when there were half as many people, and they’ll be there this year with double the people. They’ve both grown with the event.”