with the Killers, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Kid Rock, the Raconteurs, Blake Shelton, Pixies, Doobie Brothers, the Avett Brothers, Warren Haynes Band, Kid Cudi, Gogol Bordello, the Ettes, the Roots, Chris Isaak, Buddy Guy, Gavin Degraw, Iron & Wine, the Silver Fleece and many more
Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, Nov. 13
After nearly a year of anticipation, countless back-and-forth debates over everything from the lineup announcement to ticket placement, and a sizable PR campaign aimed at every demographic imaginable, the inaugural Orlando Calling music festival – the largest of its kind to hit the city in decades – is finally here. If you’re like us, you still have some questions: What ticket package did I actually buy? Which bands should I check out? Why are my parents going, too?
We have at least some of your answers here in this de facto survival guide to an event with the potential to embody everything we wanted out of an Orlando festival but were afraid to ask for. See you at the Porta Potty!
Our minute-by-minute, turn-by-turn guide to maximizing your experience.
12:30 p.m.(Main Stage) – They’re Nashville-based but singer Lindsay “Coco” Hames is a local girl. Most importantly, they’re a powerhouse band that’s among the cream of the garage-rock crop. If they’re cool enough to work with luminaries like Dan Auerbach and Greg Cartwright, they’re cool enough for you.
The Deep Dark Woods
1 p.m.(Stage 3) – If you’re a partier like us, then midday on a Saturday is practically mythical. And this lush, stately alt-country band from Canada is a pretty smooth way to ease into things.
Kids These Days
1:15 p.m.(Stage 2) – Hip-hop and jazz is the music world’s peanut butter and chocolate. But these Chicago youngsters don’t just borrow from jazz; they’re a seven-piece band that actually plays the music themselves.
1:50 p.m. (Main Stage)
Andy Matchett & the Minks
1:55 p.m. (Stage 4)
With their wild, always rousing gypsy punk, Gogol brings some real pulse and character to the event. But irrepressibly bright Orlando power-poppers Andy Matchett & the Minks are famous for their big, creative party performances involving storms of confetti, balloons, beach balls and a big parachute. It’ll be worth seeing how much they can get away with.
2:20 p.m. (Stage 2) – The connection between Orlando and these peerless and rugged Memphis country rockers is deep enough to consider them adopted sons by now.
2:40 p.m. (Stage 4) – This local folk act is still a little green, but there’s a lull in the action, and this is more interesting than the polished mediocrity of Civil Twilight.
3:10 p.m. (Main Stage) – We wish hip-hop was better represented, but this Brooklyn alt-rapper is modestly intriguing.
Iron & Wine
3:40 p.m. (Stage 2) – Sam Beam spent a good part of his college years in Florida and he’s riding a wave of goodwill following his stellar new album. His pastel sounds make for a decent transition here.
The Avett Brothers
4:35 p.m. (Main Stage) – With unlikely but deserved fame, this youthful, progressive outfit is bringing broad relevance back to folk music. After them is a perfect time to catch your breath for a sec.
6:10 p.m. (Main Stage)
6:20 p.m. (Stage 4)
They’re in the reunion moon of their career but, shit, it’s the motherfucking Pixies! If you’re not into the Pixies, you should get your head checked. But to the rescue of even poor suckers like you is powerhouse siren and Orlando ex-pat Kaleigh Baker. She always brings down the house.
7:50 p.m. (Main Stage)
8 p.m.(Stage 2)
8 p.m.(Stage 3)
Next is practically a three-way tie that really depends on your taste: The Raconteurs, the Roots and Drive-By Truckers. Considering both overall quality and infrequency of Orlando visits, DBT is the best pick.
9:45 p.m.(Main Stage) – Judging by the press releases and the cherry slot, the festival organizers seem to think these guys are a bigger deal than we do. There are no other competing performances at this hour, though, so might as well.
All right, geezers, your turn. Up and at ’em.
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
12:10 p.m.(Stage 2) – This outstanding alt-country act shouldn’t really be playing Sunday’s inferior lineup and definitely not in the dreaded first slot. But, whatever, they’re one of the best of the fest so get there early.
The David Mayfield Parade
1 p.m.(Stage 3) – The gentle and sweet Americana of this Nashville outfit is youthful in voice but steeped in tradition.
1:15 p.m. (Stage 2) – This Florida-born neo-traditionalist country artist dishes out the brass with some atypical tendencies.
1:25 p.m. (Main Stage) – This Nashville bluegrass legend represents perhaps the day’s deepest, most legit musical heritage.
2:25 p.m.(Stage 2) – This next wave of sets is a little flat but, appropriately enough, Texas’ Flatlanders will likely nourish the most with their gentlemanly, authentic take on country.
3:25 p.m.(Stage 4) – The patient, atmospheric and wistful indie folk of this young New Hampshire band will appeal to fans of Bon Iver.
3:40 p.m.(Stage 3) – She’s best known for adult-contemporary pop-rock but she’s been honing her country chops for a while now.
4:50 p.m. (Stage 2) – Another legend, only this one specializes in a diverse Chicago blues style.
Justin Townes Earle
5 p.m.(Stage 3) – He’s the son of alt-country outlaw Steve Earle, but the young Bloodshot Records recording artist has quietly been making his own way. After this, there’s enough down time to fully recharge. Grub or beer: your call.
6:15 p.m.(Stage 3)
Thomas Wynn & the Believers
6:15 p.m.(Stage 4)
6:30 p.m. (Stage 3)
Check out the beginning of either Chris Isaak or local Southern soul-rockers Thomas Wynn & the Believers, but then definitely go see the graceful American songwriting of Brandi Carlile.
7:05 p.m.(Main Stage) – Please Lord, keep him on his twangy material and away from rap.
7:50 p.m.(Stage 2) – No, he’s not the headliner, but this shot of unapologetically authentic honky-tonk is the festival’s last call for goodness.
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
9:20 p.m.(Main Stage)
And now, the conundrum of the day: If Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band still does anything for you, it’s probably past your bedtime by the time they go on.