A pall of uncertainty hung over last weekend’s Neon Reverb festival, just beyond the sights and sounds and flowing Sierra Nevada on Fremont Street. A few days prior, cofounder James Woodbridge had learned his UNLV philosophy department would likely fall victim to state budget cuts, which would force the professor to look for work beyond Nevada’s borders. “Sorry to hear” replaced “Great festival!” as the typical greeting from Woodbridge’s friends. Bassist Ronald Corso even addressed the situation from the stage during A Crowd of Small Adventures’ Thursday-night Bunkhouse set. Though Reverb co-organizers Thirry Harlin and Jason Aragon could choose to carry on without Woodbridge, it’s sorta tough to imagine the twice-annual Downtown gathering without its most visible and vocal supporter.
Whatever Neon Reverb’s future might be, its sixth edition goes down as a worthy successor to previous installments, another significant musical happening and a reminder that community-driven volunteerism can enrich Las Vegas’ cultural experience. While local and visiting bands continued to draw fans to the Beauty Bar, Bunkhouse and beyond, new festival offerings like a food truck rally and a storytelling presentation produced some of the weekend’s biggest crowds.
Among the many musical highlights: the return of Vegas favorites Black Camaro and The Fremonts to the stage, the headlining Dodos on a new outdoor stage behind the Bunkhouse, Friday night’s hip-hop showcase at Beauty Bar and back-to-back wow-factor performances from Brooklyn’s Asobi Seksu and Montreal’s Braids Saturday at the Bunkhouse. Here’s our photographic look back.