New Year’s Eve and 2016 are fast approaching, so it is time to take a look back on 2015 and the music events Indianapolis had to offer. No matter what genre of music, there was an outlet for that genre in Indianapolis in 2015. But, in Indianapolis in 2015, it was the ‘mega event with music’ that truly was the highlight of the year.
The Best Event with Music in Indianapolis in 2015 was most emphatically the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24th, surrounded by the Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite in Turn 3 on race day featuring electronic dance music DJs Kaskade, Steve Aoki, A-Trak, Oscar Wylde and Vegas Banger of Caked Up, local Indianapolis standout Sinclair Wheeler, and Milk N Cookies; Legends Day presented by Firestone featuring Frankie Ballard, Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line in Turn 4 infield stage on Saturday; Coors Light Carb Day featuring Jane’s Addiction, O.A.R., and 38 Special in Turn 4 infield stage on Friday; and also including the 2015 KeyBank 500 Festival Snakepit Ball Red Carpet with Straight No Chaser, American Authors, local Indianapolis standout DJ Gabby Love, with sports standouts Oscar Robertson, Andrew Luck, Pat McAfee, Robert Mathis, Dwayne Allen, Gary Brackett, Alan Henderson, Nastia Liukin, and author John Green.
Photographer Elizabeth Lauer and I believed we were originally only credentialed for the Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite in Turn 3 on Sunday race day morning. But, what we were unaware of was that our press credentials also allowed us access to cover the entire 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 race and its surrounding events and from vantage points many race fans would never have access to. Such an amazing opportunity that definitely tops any Best Indianapolis List in 2015!
Imagine, like kids in a candy store, so giddy with excitement we were. And, there really is nothing quite like the grandeur and spectacle of this combination…music and racing; especially on such hallowed ground as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the ‘Greatest Spectacle In Racing’ – the Indianapolis 500. Access to the oval track, photographing the race winner on the victory platform, photographing the winner and team on the famous “Yard of Bricks” at the start/finish line, watching the race from the media center 4th floor balconies, the Pagoda, the victory platform, the garage area, and attending the winning race driver press conference on the first floor of the Pagoda Media Center…so impressive and fun this all was.
Management, staff, and support staff at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway were very cordial and extremely accommodating. Even the kitchen staff in the Media Center were supportive and caring; especially, during very early race day morning, arriving to the Media Center at 6:00am before heading over to Turn 3 to cover the Snake Pit. The food service was not yet available but members of the kitchen staff bent over backwards and scrambled to provide a delicious breakfast. Their willingness to help was incredible. Everywhere I turned, recommendations and sound advice were readily available for this first-time race attendee. Photographer Lauer had previously attended an Indianapolis 500 race as a fan.
Fans who descended upon Indianapolis from all over the world to be a part of the festivities of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 were very appreciative of the music of each day. And, it did not matter if you were a music fan or a race fan…you were literally both when standing in such an historic location on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
There were so many musical opportunities throughout 2015. Whether a fan of Contemporary Christian music with TobyMac at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in October; Indian/South Asian music with award-winning Indianapolis-based singer-songwriter Anita Lerche at India Day at Monument Circle in August and for Christel House at The Athenaeum in October; Pop music with Taylor Swift at a sold-out Bankers Life Fieldhouse in September; Classic rock music with the Rolling Stones at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July; Country music with legend Loretta Lynn at the Palladium Carmel in April; Rap/Hip-hop music with Shelbyville-based Kid Quill at the 2015 NCAA March Madness Music Festival at White River State Park in March; Hard rock music with Indianapolis-based The Warrior Kings winning the Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands at Hard Rock Cafe Indianapolis in March; indie pop music with Echosmith at the Deluxe at old National Centre also in March; or Pop/rock music with Kokomo-based Shiny Penny holding their “Open Out” EP record release party at The Hi-Fi in January, excitement for music was at a fever pitch in the Circle City.
Yes, there were many, many more musical moments that took place in Indianapolis throughout 2015 and in various venues small and large, intimate to the impersonal, including even the outdoor mega-shows. What sets these mega-shows apart were not only the caliber of talent performing, but as any fan of live music would state, the venue setting truly matters as well.
Music has become a necessity in the daily lives of many individuals, every day operations of businesses and, so too, has music become a staple at sporting events. Indianapolis is an internationally recognized center for amateur and professional sports competition and major events where music has been used successfully to enhance the overall experience.