Grant Eadie easily blends in with the festival crowd as he makes his way through the amphitheater. Eadie is rocking maroon shorts that hang above his knees like Larry Bird’s during warm-ups, a tank-top, and a drawstring backpack. Eadie looks slightly disheveled like the rest of us festival attendees after two days of running off caffeine, camp food, and bass music. Eadie is also known as Manatee Commune, an electronic artist that has garnered a solid following throughout the festival scene. Eadie attended Summer Meltdown as a guest. Eadie is well versed in flying into places for the day just to perform, but Summer Meltdown is too special for a simple work trip. Summer Meltdown is where Eadie fell in love with music and became inspired enough to try his own hands at performing.
“I think it’s one of the few festivals that actually has a heart,” Eadie said. “There’s a lot of love that’s fallen into this place.”
Eadie points out the grace and beauty of Darrington Bluegrass Park and the surrounding area. There isn’t any festival on this side of the mountains that can approach the splendor and serene setting of Summer Meltdown. There’s a glacier is in such proximity that lines carved in the rock from snow runoff are easily visible in the daytime. It’s hard to feel somewhat insignificant partying in the shadow of the giant.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Eadie has spent enough of his time flying in and out of cities for shows to appreciate the chance to slow down at Meltdown.
“Festivals should be a let-go,” he said. “I feel this way about music in general; an experience where you forget about work and the drama in your life with the people that you love.” “That’s the essence of why I make music in the first place.”
There are unfortunate aspects that come with the commercialized success of music festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Bumbershoot. People like to call them “Instagram festivals.” Calling these places Instagram festivals may be a bit extreme, but it does lead credence to the fact that different festivals have entirely different demographics and vibes. The difference between a Summer Meltdown and Bumbershoot or Coachella can be night and day. While Bumbershoot is filled with teenagers conducting Instagram photo shoots; Meltdown is full of strangers enjoying each others company and living in the moment. While there are many young children attending all of these festivals with their parents, some can’t help but feel more settled and mature. Meltdown feels like this.
Eadie thought of the Manatee Commune moniker while he was in college. While under the influence of substances, he came up with a name that was fresh and easy to find on the internet, first and foremost. After swaying back and forth for a while and the validity of his artist name, he came to find pride in the name.
“I hated it in the very beginning, but I’m coming back to love it again,” he said. “It’s a goofy, silly idea the idea of an actual manatee commune.” Eadie continued “it’s a sweet slow-moving animal that I want to represent with my music. It represents getting people in the same room on the same level”
What Manatee Commune does on stage is something to behold. Eadie is a one-man DJ and band combined. Over a 12 to 15 song set, he could use anywhere from 200-300 premade loops from his songs. These loops run through his Abelton launchpad and he tries to combine them in interesting ways. He finger-drums with a drum machine and plays drums, violin, and guitar with a flamboyant-Prince-like energy. His online footage doesn’t convey the infectious energy of a Manatee Commune set.
“I’m still trying to figure out the live set thing. I think it’s going to completely change after I finish up a bunch of now music,” Eadie explained.
After a busy and successful 2017, Eadie found himself at a crossroads with his music career. The business part of the industry wore him down and he took a break. After some soul searching, he resolidified his love for music. With his love for music cemented, Eadie has a bunch of content slated for release in the fall and winter of this year.
“For the last six months or so I’ve been remembering again why I do this and I’ve really fallen in love with it. Especially the new stuff,” Eadie said.