Excitement rises as Soundset nears

Hip-hop fans gear up for annual festival

Ethan Brown

Each year in late May, Nick Harkness dons his hat, applies his sunscreen and hits the moshpit. Festival season in the music world is an electric time, and Soundset is no exception.

The Soundset Hip-Hop Festival is an annual gathering of hip-hop lovers and artists to celebrate the genre. Rhymesayers Entertainment, an independent record label, runs the event and Atmosphere, a Minnesota rap group, backs it.

According to Soundset’s official Twitter page, Soundset 2014 sold out all 30,000 tickets before the day of the festival itself. Harkness, a senior, has attended Soundset three times and although it’s a hip-hop festival, he said he goes for more than the music.

“I really enjoy the atmosphere they bring to Soundset,” Harkness said. “Also, they always pull some underrated acts like Vic Mensa into it.”

Jason Cook, Soundset’s chief operating officer, said he believes students should look to Soundset as a place to become more of themselves.

“The first time I went to a festival like this was when I knew what I wanted to do in life,” Cook said. “We really hope students come for the whole experience and culture that surrounds Soundset.”

Cook, who has helped organize the festival since it’s inception in 2008, said he believes the other attractions at the event are just as important as the acts.

“Of course we really want people to come and see the music,” Cook said. “But I hope that while they’re there, they’ll check out things like the dance competitions or the live painting. It’s all about broadening your horizons.”

Sophomore Eli Haddorff first attended Soundset last year. He said he hopes to get as good of an experience out of this year’s festival as he did last year.

“I’m not as excited for the lineup as I was last year. It’s missing a huge name like Wiz Khalifa, but I do hope someone like Clockwork Indigo surprises me,” Haddorff said.

Soundset takes place 11 a.m. May 25 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. Tickets, which were priced at $72, sold out on May 22, according to Soundset’s website.