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High Water Festival 2024

Photos and Words by Haley May and Hannah Daniel

High Water festival took place at Riverfront Park in Charleston, South Carolina on April 20 and 21. Nestled in between the oak trees and the boardwalk, looking out into the beautiful Charleston Riverfront, was the long awaited Charleston festival.

Saturday, April 20th

As we waited in line to enter the festival on Saturday, we were greeted by the sight of greenery and nature surrounding us. The growing merch line was right at the front entrance, catching our attention. There was merch for each artist playing that day, as well as festival exclusive merch. While waiting to pick up our merch we saw some of the many pop ups featured at the festival, including the Teva pop up, White Claw Shore Club, and Wicked Weed Brewing. Upon walking further into the grounds, we were introduced to many food options ranging from corn dogs to ice cream to burgers. King of Pops had a few popsicle carts throughout the festival grounds, and we were sure to stop and grab one to help combat the 90° weather. As we moved through the festival, we made our way to the stage to start listening to our first performance of the day. 

Al Olender

Al Olender started the festival off with a bang. Her warm folk sound paired with her enthusiastic energy was a joy to watch. She thanked the crowd for being there, mentioned that there were more photographers photographing her at once than ever before, and was shocked when she noticed her name on the screen behind her on the stage. She captured the audience’s attention with her powerful lyrics and kept them drawn in with her witty humor and infectious laugh. She played some of her songs off her debut album Easy Crier in 2022 as well as some new ones. She truly knew how to connect with the crowd as the opener of the festival. And she definitely made sure High Water started off on a high note. 

Photos by Haley May

Houndmouth

We ran to catch Houndmouth at the Stono Stage, which was a blast. They’re one of the groups that neither of us were super familiar with going into the festival, but they definitely gained new listeners in us! We of course knew their hit “Sedona” but it was nice to get to hear more from them, especially in the perfect setting of an outdoor festival. As we looked around we saw fans sitting on blankets and taking in their surroundings while swaying to the music being played in front of them. It was such a beautiful and relaxing set, but also made sure to keep the energy up just enough to keep up with the rest of the day ahead. 

Photos by Hannah Daniel

Fleet Foxes

We caught Fleet Foxes a little later in the day, and they never disappoint. They have such a unique sound that is always so great to witness in person. The sun was starting to set behind the stage, which made for the perfect view. “Can I Believe You” was our favorite from their set and the crowd loved it just as much. Later in the set, hearing the fan favorite, “White Winter Hymnal” echo throughout the festival grounds was almost chilling.

Photos by Hannah Daniel

Noah Kahan

Noah Kahan took over the Stono Stage to close out Saturday night. He started his set with “Dial Drunk” which had the crowd erupt into screams. He is playing to bigger and bigger crowds yet still keeping the same connection to fans he has always had. He made sure to run and greet the fans at the barricade with high fives. Noah’s set was packed full of songs off his Stick Season album, “False Confidence” for the OGs that Noah made sure to shout out, and even an unreleased titled “The Great Divide.” Throughout the set the energy stayed high as Noah and his band bounced around the stage and interacted with each other. Nina De Vitry recently joined the touring band and was definitely the missing piece the band had been needing. Adding a fifth member to the band behind Noah filled out the stage and allowed for more powerful moments such as her solo during “Stick Season.” Noah couldn’t keep his smile off his face while looking out into the crowd and back to his bandmates, almost as if he couldn’t believe all the fans were there for him (they were). 

Photos by Haley May

Sunday, April 21st

Babe Club

To start off Sunday at High Water, was Babe Club. They had such a fun set, throwing hats into the crowd, telling the recipients that they now needed to be friends, and an overall great energy to start the day on a high note yet again. They are a local act that brought friends and family to support them, but they also gained the support of everyone in the crowd. With an incredible stage presence, lighting, and powerful vocals, Babe Club made sure to bring their all to the Edisto stage. We didn’t want their set to end but when it did, we both turned to each other to say how much fun we just had. 

Photos by Hannah Daniel

The Linda Lindas

The Linda Lindas definitely blew us away. The band is made up of four members ranging in ages from 13 to 19. They are a true rock band and they took over the main stage for their set, even through the weather warning. They had everyone in disbelief as they were rocking out on stage and making sure everyone was having a good time. Being the youngest band at the festival, and at most of the shows they are a part of, The Linda Lindas have such a great stage presence and the music to back it up. They are opening for Green Day this summer and we are super excited that they are getting the recognition they deserve. We hope to catch them again soon!

Photos by Haley May

Briston Maroney

One of the sets we were most excited to catch on Sunday was Briston Maroney. Even though it was pouring rain, we knew his was a set we couldn’t miss. His opening song “Body” is one of our favorites off the setlist and was a great pick to set the energy of the set. After shooting the frist three songs, we ran to stow our camera away out of the rain, and came back to watch  even though it was pouring, and we were freezing. That’s just how good Briston is. “Chaos Party”, “Caroline” and “Small Talk” were other favorites from the set, and the fans seemed to agree. Briston has an incredible stage presence, and it’s so fun to watch him running around on stage having the time of his life. Watching everyone having just as much fun, dancing around in their rain ponchos showed how dedicated these fans were. The crowd was engaged and loving every minute of it despite the downpour they were all standing in. 

Photos by Hannah Daniel

Hozier

Ending High Water on the highest of highs at the Stono Stage, was Hozier. The rain had let up just in time for everyone to enjoy his set, while donning the Hozier hoodies they had bought at the merch stand due to the downpour earlier in the day. I think he knew what he was doing when he brought hoodies as merch. The second Hozier took the stage the fans went wild. He has such an incredible power and hold over the crowd when he’s up on stage, it’s almost otherworldly. One of his newest songs, “Too Sweet” was one of the most fun songs of his set. The entire crowd was having the time of their lives, getting into it and screaming along. Other highlights from the set were “Francesca”, “Cherry Wine”, and “Nina Cried Power”, which was particularly amazing to watch. There’s something special about concerts that take place outdoors, and I think it’s the perfect setting for Hozier. Watching his set and hearing his voice echo throughout the festival grounds is enough to give you chills.

Photos by Hannah Daniel

From 90° weather, to 60° and pouring rain, everyone made the most of every minute spent at High Water fest. Every set we saw knocked it out of the park, and we looked forward to the next one each time. The merch, food, and pop-ups kept the festival goers occupied and happy between sets and didn’t disappoint at all. High Water Fest was a success and we can’t wait to see what it brings next year!

Photos by Haley May

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