Bowl in a China Shop: X-Fest lineup poor representation of modern music

Our friends at X103 are slipping.

I hate to say it, but the avant-garde and once fairly controversial radio station has gotten soft.

Case in point: This year's line-up for X-Fest. The eighth-annual event, scheduled this year for Sept. 29, couldn't be more pathetic. Don't believe me? Let's start out by examining the second stage.

On the stage we have Trust Company, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, Extra Blue Kind and Birdmen of Alcatraz (who was at X-Fest '95).

Who are these people? I admit, it's been several months since I listened to the station any later than 9 a.m., so maybe that's why I've not heard of these bands. Due to my own ignorance, I'm willing to let the second stage slide.

But the main stage line-up makes me cringe at just the mere mention of names. Not only has X103 gotten soft with its choice of alternative acts, but they've also got acts lined up that have nothing to do with alternative music.

Take a read of the line-up and try not to get sick.

Uncle Kracker will take the stage first, followed by Earshot and Stone Temple Pilots (this is the silver lining around the dark cloud of the main stage and the headliner for the main stage at X-Fest 2000). And guess what monstrosity the station has chosen to headline this year's X-Fest.

Drum roll...Kid Rock.

Sound familiar? That's because he headlined X-Fest '99. I thought maybe we had outgrown his vocal glorification of white trash by now.

Apparently X103 doesn't think so. How many times can you listen to "Wastin' Time" without wanting to take a metal ball bat to your CD player?

For me, not many.


And Uncle Kracker performing at any X103 event is a joke. Please! He's not even alternative rock. He's a freakin' R&B guy! Last time I checked X103 didn't even play Uncle Kracker's music (if you can call it that). Why would they want him at X-Fest? Beats me.

Maybe I'm getting too old for all this anymore. Or maybe my tastes in music have changed. Maybe you feel the same.

But I don't think it's our tastes that have changed. It's that the world of alternative rock has changed from the days of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Bush and Creed to whiny slam-bands like Limp Bizkit, Blink 182 and Puddle of Mud. The truth is, the music has changed but we haven't.

Don't get me wrong. X103 is still one of the best stations in the state, and it is because it keeps up with the newest music trends and gives its listeners what they want to hear. The station is willing to change to please its listeners. I, however, am not willing to buy into today's alternative rock, not if it's headed up by Uncle Kracker and Kid Rock.

I miss the old days of X-Fest. I miss when bands like Stabbing Westward, Toadies, Goldfinger and Seven Mary Three graced the stages of what was once Deer Creek Music Center. Spending anywhere from $30 to $50 on such a pathetic line-up just doesn't seem worth it to me.

I'd stay home if I were you.

Write to Laura at


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