ETC, which stands for Embrace The Culture was an indie music and arts festival that took place in Norfolk, VA’s Town Point Park. The event was free and couldn’t have come at a better time since my birthday was right around the corner (Sept. 10th)! ETC featured a lot of local bands, singers/acoustic artists, arts & crafts, and even independent authors! It also headlined famous indie acts, Delta Rae and Ra Ra Riot. There were also numerous food trucks and beverages to keep your stomachs content, and thirsts quenched.
I initially planned to be at ETC around noon to watch Suburban Living (if you’re into that retro-indie, shoegaze kind of sound) because I heard one of their songs on the ETC Facebook event page, and instantly fell in love with the band. Unfortunately, I arrived 45 minutes too late and missed their entire set, but was able to catch the next band set up and play. The Dahus were awesome! They reminded me of some of the bands I was really into in high school, and in my early college years. Although a two-piece set, their raw energy and performance on stage put on a show that was a blast! After their set, I actually got to talk to the drummer for a bit and it was cool to see how humble, yet hard working they both are since they have to compensate with adding pre-recorded bass, electronic and synth hooks.
Since the drink tent wasn’t that far away from the stage, my friends and I took a break from the music and grabbed something refreshing to cool us from the hot weather. I was surprised and excited to find out that the tent served more than just beer! They also had wine and a few bottles of liquor lined up on the table where they prepared the drinks. What a better way to prepare for my birthday week by indulging in a Jack and Coke! Of course while drinking you always have to have something to munch on. On to the food trucks we went where my friends tried some food from the Wrap-N-Roll truck (I tried them at the Eat The Streets 757 event and enjoyed their caprese wrap), and I tried this grilled tuna wrap from the unknown white food tent, which was pretty tasty.
Walking around the festival, we passed by a smaller stage that featured the individual acoustic acts that was presented by the Tidewater Arts Outreach. We also spotted a tent that had pop art of popular films well known by indie and hipster kids alike. I was impressed to see an area of kiddie pools filled with water, and smaller food bowls designated for our four-legged furry friends. If only I had known, I would’ve probably brought my blue-eyed, blue merle colored mini aussie since his hydration levels would definitely be in check, and he might’ve enjoyed the new sights and sounds.
As the hours passed before Ra Ra Riot was to take on the main stage, I caught a few songs from Richmond native band, States. Their set was amazing, and I loved how their sound reminded me of Eisley, and a little bit of Rilo Kiley. While in the middle of their song, we overheard Ra Ra Riot blaring on the main stage’s speakers and had to quickly run back to catch them on stage. Obviously, Ra Ra Riot killed the stage with the crowd favorites, such as “So Dramatic (a song from their latest album release, The Orchard, that was stuck in my head forever)” and “Can You Tell” from their debut album, The Rhumb Line. Their set ended the event and night perfectly especially when they came back on stage with an encore.
ETC was by far an amazing experience and I can’t wait for another festival next year! Hands down it doesn’t compare to Coachella or SXSW (both festivals I hope to attend someday), but I know it’s definitely an event we can make as our own that’s here to stay for years to come.
Written by: Aly