Wild, Weird & Wonderful: How Sound Haven 2021 Electrified the Underground

All the best things in life are worth waiting for. In the case of Sound Haven Festival, the best thing was the ability to finally (and safely!) gather with friends to vibe out to mind-melting bass music.

Sound Haven Festival 2021 absolutely slapped. The sold-out event brought 3,000 people to the Tennessee hills for four days of music, visuals, and all-around good vibes.

Festival Site

Sound Haven 2021 took place at Jaceland, a 200-acre plot of privately owned land 100 miles southeast of Nashville in Gruetli-Laager, Tennessee. The site included two main stages: The UFO Stage and Planetary Stage. The larger UFO Stage hosted some of the biggest experimental bass acts in the scene such as Mersiv, Jantsen, and The Widdler, to name a few. Music played nonstop from mid-afternoon to sunrise the following day. When the music stopped at the main stage, the party continued at two renegade stages located in the GA camping area.

Food and Vendors

For a relatively small festival, Sound Haven offered an impressive array of food options—a good deal more than what was available in 2019. Fans chowed down on rice bowls, grilled cheese, fruit smoothies, pizza, and more.

But what happens when 3,000 people all get hungry at the same time? Answer: lines, lines, lines. Lines were an unfortunate reality at this festival, with wait times at some vendors exceeding one hour. Of course, serving thousands of people all at once takes time. The vendors worked incredibly hard to get food out to the hungry masses.

The Wild, The Weird & The Wonderful

The Wild

It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. On Thursday night, a male festivalgoer climbed—and promptly fell off—the scaffolding of the main stage. The individual in question climbed 30 feet up and swung from the rafters like a spider monkey jacked up on Four Loko. As the crowd watched on in horror, the guy lost his grip and fell straight down onto the stage. The man survived, but sustained some injuries, including a shattered leg. His fall also damaged some equipment.

The Weird

It wouldn’t be a proper festival without something weird happening. In this case, it was a technical mishap on the UFO Stage. About 15 minutes into Ternion Sound’s Thursday night set, a table flipped over and broke the CDJs. The Minnesota trio was able to restart after a few minutes. But not long after, the climber came in and caused further chaos.

Ternion Sound put out a statement in response to the incidents:

The Wonderful (Top 5 Sets)

Ravenscoon

Ravenscoon didn’t come to mess around. His Thursday night performance set the bar high for the remainder of the festival. His epic drops got the crowd bumping, grooving, and vibing. Necks were not safe. Neither were knees, ankles, or backs.

Angelic Root

One of the standout sets from Friday night was Angelic Root. When Father Root took the stage, he brought the audience along on a magical journey through time, space, light, and sound. He weaved mystical sounds through layers of soul-shattering bass, keeping the crowd hype until deep into the night. The whole thing felt like an ayahuasca trip (minus the vomiting and paranoia), and Angelic Root was the shaman guiding us to self-discovery. (Disclaimer: I have never done ayahuasca)

Smoakland

Another standout from Friday night was West Coast duo Smoakland. Smoakland’s set destroyed the whole world in the best possible way. The Oakland-based duo, who just hopped on tour with Peekaboo, brought amazing visuals and the hardest bass drops. Please enjoy this video taken from backstage.

Mersiv (“Throwdown” set)

Mersiv’s Saturday night “throwdown” set was the highlight of the festival. The Colorado-based producer came in strong with the energy, the excitement, and the wubs. He started off with “NO!”—his collab with Conrank—before transitioning into other favorites like “Mind Sounds.” He even blessed us with some of that new-new from his upcoming album, Pretty Dark Loud. The explosive Mersiv set was a culmination of energy from throughout the weekend, and finished just in time before a thunderstorm forced the main stage to evacuate.

Supertask

Whoever curated the festival lineup clearly knew what they were doing. Oregon-based producer Supertask’s set was the perfect transition from Mersiv’s downtempo dusk set. Supertask went hard enough to inject new energy into the crowd, but not so much as to kill the Sunday night chill vibes. His visuals slapped, and his beats hit even harder.

With diverse food options, a positive and helpful staff, and a stacked lineup, Sound Haven 2021 did not disappoint. Despite the longer lines and a stage mishap or two, the festival was an overall success by its contribution to the underground bass scene. Sacred Hive blessed us with an unforgettable live music experience—something EDM fans desperately missed and needed. We can’t wait to be back next year!

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