Virgin FreeFest 2011: Hip enough, but lacking hip-hop

THE GOOD: Similar to last year's lineup, there's a lot to like, especially if you take pride in keeping up with music just-outside the Top 40. TV on the Radio, Black Keys and a set from LCD Soundsystem head honcho James Murphy are the big names committed. Dance-enthusiasts Cut Copy and Empire of the Sun will sound particularly fitting in the sexual heat (Sept. 10, Merriweather Post Pavilion). Prepare to sweat it all out. Also, an obvious good: the price.
THE BAD: No glaring mistakes here. It's obvious the festival's curators are paying attention, at least to popular indie-rock websites and Spin. Big Sean replaces Wale as the token blog rapper, and their talents are comparably mediocre. Your reaction to Cee Lo Green's inclusion most likely depends on how you're handling his pop-culture ubiquity. (I'm not interested.) My only non-nit-picky complaint is the lack of hip-hop artists (last year had Ludacris and T.I. until Tip canceled due to legal trouble).
BOTTOM LINE: I.M.P. chairman and FreeFest's booker Seth Hurwitz told the Midnight Sun blog that he "tried to catch a snapshot of what's going on in music in 2011." It leans heavily on Pitchfork-approved acts, but that's a signifier of "what's going on" as much as any other. Extra points for the separate stage devoted to dance music -- house/electro/dubstep/insert-whatever-other-subgenre-here fans will want to rage on their own and non-interested parties won’t have to complain about the constant four-on-the-floor thump.

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