FORMAT Festival 2022: Day 3

The third and final day of FORMAT Festival 2022 started much like the second…with extremely high expectations. The first two days of the festival had gone off without a hitch and everyone was eager to see if the festival could go three-for-three.

There was a weird energy in the air when I arrived at the festival grounds for the final day of music and art in the Ozark wilderness. It was hot today and you could tell the people were saving all their energy for when the sun went down.

And, once that happened, things got weird.

I started my day with The Lemon Twigs’ sad, yet punchy jams on the main stage, which was a great way to get the day going. Adding to the bizarre energy on Sunday were the numerous performances by Nick Cave, featuring JLIN and the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Drumline. The iconic sound suits that Nick Cave created had been featured in several unannounced sets over the weekend, but on the final day, they were out in full force for the fans who had missed them earlier. Crowds formed in the middle of the field as the silly suited dancers moved to the beat of the drums. There ended up being three of these types of performances in between sets throughout the day.

Next up on the main stages were two amazing acts. First up was Genesis Owusu, who controlled the stage with a Michael Jackson-like energy. Next, following another Nick Cave act between sets, was Chicago-based singer and songwriter Jamila Woods, who seemed to be having the most fun out of any of the performers I had seen so far.

After her set, I ran over to catch the hilariously fun Disko Cowboy in the Drag Me to the Disco barn before making my way back to the main field to see the final performance by Nick Cave and the UAPB band. The next show on the agenda after that was GRAMMY-winning piano legend Herbie Hancock, who blew everyone’s minds with his band as they powered through his epic catalogue of famous songs. At this point, I was committed to the main stages for the rest of the night.

The bands they had scheduled were back-to-back-to-back powerhouses.

The day’s festivities also ended slightly earlier on Sunday, since it was the last day of the festival. Starting the procession of mind-blowing bands on the mainstage was the British EDM duo Jungle, who melted the audience’s minds and retinas with their insane visuals and production. Then, the stunned crowd shuffled over for an hour of brain-bending guitar shredding, courtesy of Thundercat. Bringing the trifecta — and the festival itself — to an end was Khruangbin, a musical trio from Houston. The ending of their set meant that thousands of people had to shuffle their way out of the festival gates one last time and get on the shuttle rides home. Everyone on their way out had a smile on their face and the air was buzzing with the residual excitement from the weekend’s events. The end of the festival also meant that FORMAT had made it cleanly through its first year without any obvious hiccups. This might have been the most shocking thing of the entire weekend. If they did such a great job with the first year, imagine what they’re going to have in store for next year!

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