Review: 2018 AURA Festival was a high-kicking good time

The 12th iteration of Coastal Rock Productions’ All Underground Rock All Day Festival (AURA Fest) was arguably its most successful.

Yeah, it was a time-traveling journey for sure with Evergreen Terrace, Darkest Hour and Bury Your Dead headlining. But, no one was complaining. In fact, AURA Fest hit a record in pre-sales this year with 300 tickets sold. By the end of the day, there were over 500 people in attendance. Coastal Rock added a VIP experience, which included a grab bag, private sitting area with private bar and band meet ups, as well this year. The 50 VIP tickets sold out more than a week before the show.

It’s the best sales have ever been for AURA Fest, according to Coastal Rock Production founder/CEO/head head-banger Timothy fucking Walls. Who, by the way, puts on one helluva show. The people working around him were all top shelf as well. At one point during the day, the entire festival, with 15 bands playing on two-stages, was 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Ask anyone who’s ever put on a festival, that rarely happens. Top notch production value. Also, food trucks, merch tables, and various vendors created a fun isolated festival atmosphere right near the middle of the Historic District.

With the exception of that wee break, the music was literally nonstop all day. Admittedly, I did miss several acts due to work and a lunch date. But I did catch an estimated 6 hours of metal, while somehow avoiding getting punched and kicked.

Admittedly, karate is not my instinctual reaction to metalcore. Head banging? Sure. But for some, they like to get their kicks out with their jams. I suppose dancing dangerously to music that sounds dangerous makes sense. Shoutout to the guy wearing a Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again” official tour t-shirt, who kicked a guy in the face while moshing. Courageous. Fashionable.

The pits at AURA Fest were dangerous. Lots of karate. Some young man decided that since I sat down beside him during a smoke break that we were friends. He told me his sad story. He was sitting outside, brooding, because some guy punched his three best friends in the face, in sequence. Cool story bro. I am sorry about that, but not terribly surprised by it kiddo.

All-ages shows are fun. I enjoy seeing a variety of younger people, with more energy than I have, at shows. Savannah would be cooler if we had more all-ages shows, IMO. (which I recently learned means In My Opinion. I am old.)

Moving onto the headliners: Evergreen Terrace and Bury Your Dead played the hits. Everyone sung along. The day’s biggest draw was Bury Your Dead. Not too surprising, since they haven’t played a show in a while and have, apparently, a lot of fans.

It was a rowdy show that ended with members of Great American Ghost coming on stage to take over bass and guitar duties for the final song. Frontman Mat Bruso was really into it and pretty much made out with everyone at the front of the stage. He was feeling the love. The show ended with everyone chanting “Bury your fucking dead,” in unison. It was a shit-show of a show. By the end, the gate by the main stage was much like our nation’s infrastructure, on the verge of completely broken.

The crowd thinned for Darkest Hour, which surprised me a bit considering their latest album garnered such high acclaim, and is really good. Suckers missed a killer set.

I took a lot of (mostly bad) photos. In my defense, I don’t really know what I am doing with a camera, and shooting moving objects in low-to-no light is brutal. Those are my excuses and I am sticking with them. There were ‘professional’ photographers there—I could tell because their bags were very professional looking—so maybe check them out if my photos piss you off, or whatever.