The Shindig Festival

The Hold Steady performs at the Shindig Festival. (Staff photo by Kaitlin Newman / September 14, 2013)

Ahh, a festival. Just the name inspires a sense of adventure and light-heartedness.

The Shindig — held Sept. 14 at Carroll Park and produced by 24-7 Entertainment — delivered on all fronts.

Featuring heavy-hitters like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Clutch, Gaslight Anthem, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and the Dropkick Murphys, the Shindig came through with an eclectic mix of acts for all tastes.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I missed the first four acts: Victims of Experience, Bad Seed Rising, The Glenmont Popes and Larry and His Flask.

I regret missing those performances.

One of the first things I noticed upon entering the festival grounds was the man in a pig suit, spreading the good word about the surrounding Pigtown neighborhood. His get-up included a tee shirt, but it didn't have pants. Well, it had the pink-felt pig-leg pants, but no trousers to speak of. And the arms and legs were really soiled. Not like comically soiled, but actually stained. Had he literally been wallowing in the mud?

Welcome to the Shindig.

(Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for setlists of every band from Jimmie's Chicken Shack on, according to setlist.fm)

The Good

Beer. Fair prices ($5 for 20 oz.) and plenty of stands (no long lines, even at peak hours) made getting refreshed a breeze.

The weather. Sunny during the afternoon and cool in the evening. All music festivals should be held in mid-September. As Clutch frontman Neil Fallon put it: "How about a big round of applause for Mother Nature? What a beautiful day!" See, rock and rollers can appreciate a nice day. It's not always about boozing and brawling.

The people watching. Half the fun of any outdoor event is, of course, observing our fellow man in all of his drunken glory. It's always fun to watch an inebriated dude walking upright but impossibly leaning at a 45-degree angle, like in those old V8 commercials. That takes skill. Not to mention the amazing outfits and tee shirts on display (scroll to the bottom for a list of the highlights).

The production. The bands were great, the schedule was tight and there were a lot of good vibes.

Honestly, there was a lot to like about the Shindig.

The Bad

Lines. From the hour-plus wait to get frisked to the often unbearably long wait for the Porta Potties, not everything at the Shindig ran as smoothly as the beer service. My guest and I were luckily able to bypass said line though, and head straight for the Press entrance. Nice.

Those PBR hats. Everyone was walking around in these cheapo red, white and blue PBR mesh snapback hats. Not that the hats were bad, I thought they were cool. I wanted one and didn't get one. I did get my hands on some free Cover Girl mascara though.

The Ugly

Suns out guns out. Shirtless folks who should have been shirted.

Spills. Brimming cups of beer were oh-so delicately balanced during nerve-wracking traverses, often unsuccesfully. I witnessed one woman attempt the ill-advised "pincher" technique on two full cups of ale. It didn't go well. There were also people taking spills. At first it was kind of funny, but after awhile seeing someone struggling to stay on their feet in public is just kind of sad. Luckily I didn't see any fights, but I did see someone carted off in an ambulance. Party safe, kids.