Why Flipturn s Fanbase is Set to Explode This Festival Season

Summer of 2019, I had a moment of discovery — my indie rock-listening magnum opus, if you will.

There I was at Rough Trade (a now closed and relocated) vinyl store / concert venue, nestled into the side streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Alongside me was my sister, joining to see The Happy Fits perform their first full-length album, Concentrate. Transparently, this was my first indie rock show and I was going in with zero expectations. As we packed into the back of the warehouse-style venue, My Kid Brother (the band, not an additional sibling) took the stage and rocked as a first opener. They commanded (and I mean all caps, COMMANDED) the audience with epic tunes like Native Tongue and Spilt Salt.


Photo: blog.roughtrade.com

Then, following what I thought was a tough to beat opener, came a band that would give me full body chills on three separate occasions. Multiple sessions of goosebumps as an opening act? In this economy?! The group had driven ~15+ hours on moment’s notice from Florida, just for the opportunity to open for The Happy Fits. Who was this hungry, humble, chills-inspiring band, you ask? Flipturn.

My sister and I looked at each other in sheer disbelief during the set. Our mouths remained shut, but our eyes exchanged glances, conversing solely with optics, “are you hearing what I’m hearing?!”

Here’s a video from that night where the band (featuring previous drummer and keyboard player) reviewed vinyl’s before their set!

Know how there’s those generational voices that everyone can easily identify and are ubiquitously impressed by (ie. Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson)? Hearing lead vocalist, Dillon Basse, sing, “Hippies” off Flipturn’s EP, “Citrona” made me realize I was being graced by the presence of  — what I believe to be is — my generation’s vocalist. However, unlike Freddie and Michael, I had the fortune of seeing Flipturn live and seeing them live before they got big.

I was absolutely astonished, awestruck, even. Truthfully, I don’t think an adjective exists in the English language (looking at you, Merriam-Webster!) to accurately depict the emotions I was feeling. My jaw felt as if it had hit the floor. When the set wrapped up I was adding songs like “Cold”, “Churches”, “Hippies”, “Chicago”, “Vanilla”, “Six Below”, and “Nickel” to my playlists, eager to listen on repeat, starting as soon as the car ride home.

I would later realize that seeing My Kid Brother, Flipturn and The Happy Fits for less than 30 bucks in an intimate venue is a, “I was there” moment and gives me ultimate indie rock bragging rights. Despite my ‘early’ encounter with the band, my first-time listening experience with Flipturn is not one that’s unique. Everyone that sees them live (that I know of) has their socks blown off.

From later in 2019 through 2021, the band remained hard at work, restructuring (bringing in a new drummer and keyboard player), releasing new singles like “Eleanor” and “Darling”, dropping the EP, “Something You Needed” and even getting a coveted Jam In The Van session. Fast forward to 2022, the band was gearing up to release their debut album, “Shadowglow”, where some songs of which had already been teased or released such as Playground and Brooklyn Baby.


Photo: jaminthevan.com

Flipturn now had the discography, presence, recognition, tenure, and momentum needed to climb festival lineups and carve out a fanbase at scale. Their limitless raw talent in tandem with an increasing list of accolades was the perfect recipe for conquering the festival scene.

Fast forward to 2022, I was solo at my first Bonnaroo, amped to see Flipturn now taking ~ the big stage ~. Admittedly, the band was so far down as an undercard that I actually hadn’t realized they were on the lineup at all. Truth be told, when I did notice they were on the lineup, I booked an entirely new flight home just to ensure that I would get to see them play live again.

Literally the second to last artist on the lineup^

On Friday of Bonnaroo, two days before their set, I was in the crowd for Briston Maroney (yes, at this point, I’d become a huge indie rock show junkie) and who did I look next to me and see? Madeline Jarmine (bass player) and Tristan Duncan (lead guitar player) of Flipturn. Naturally, I commemorated the moment with a selfie to send to my sister to create FOMO. Does that make me a groupie? A question for a later time. We reminisced of when I first saw them, discussed their upcoming set, and celebrated the approaching release of their debut album. It was during that conversation that I learned they had headlined the Wednesday Night Roo Bus, and I completely missed it. Sorry Pokémon, but sometimes, you can’t catch ‘em all!


Photo: Intense Yogurt

Time flies when you’re having fun — Sunday afternoon came quickly. Right before Flipturn’s performance, I was able to convince my campground neighbors to join me for the show. Dubious, but curious, my newly-formed entourage tagged along to This Tent to see if my seemingly hyperbolic assumptions would be met.

Safe to say, the band completely eclipsed my sky-high expectations. Nobody was wearing socks by the end of the set. Teasing new tracks, playing throwbacks, and engaging the crowd, the band put on a festival set masterclass. To end their show, they played their most popular track, “August”. Unlike when I had first seen the band in a small, Brooklyn venue, the crowd now knew the lyrics. When the end of the chorus came, the audience passionately bellowed in unison, “August, honey, you were mine!” Madeline Jarmine’s face of surprise, delight, and appreciation said it all. Her excitement was palpable and her expression was the poster child for the adage, “Momma, we made it!”

Following the show, my campsite neighbors thanked me for persuading them to join me. Proving that past is prologue, they (just like I had at Rough Trade) went to save songs and add Flipturn tracks to their Spotify playlists immediately after the set. One neighbor — and newly-converted fan — noted to me, “the drummer’s presence is incredible, he’s holding it all together”. I couldn’t agree more with that astute comment. Said neighbor and I then snuck by security for backstage access, in hopes of making pleasantries with the band, but they was busy packing up their equipment, so we opted not to get in the way.

In my heart of hearts, I believe that Flipturn is capable of ascending to the top of the charts and are the most undiscovered band to exist today. Even with their perpetually increasing street credit and general love they have received, I truly think they’ve only begun to scratch the surface as far as career trajectory goes.

I’d now seen Flipturn crush at a small venue and on the big stage at a culture-defining music festival. Weird flex, I know. Speaking of music festivals, in 2022 the band played Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Shaky Knees, Levitate, and Playground (their own festival!) just to name a few. In addition to pioneering their own tour with the release of their debut, full-length album, “Shadowglow”, the band spent time opening for the likes of Rainbow Kitten Surprise and Mount Joy. City by city, at each stop on the road, Flipturn collected ravenous fans, captivating people the same way they did to me in 2019. I went on to see the band not once, not twice, but three more times in 2022 following their set at Roo. I had too.

In fact, just weeks later, I was looking at their tour dates to see when they’d next be in the NYC metropolitan area. “Oh my lanta” I exclaimed to myself, realizing they had a show that night, starting in two hours in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Like any spontaneous modern scholar would, I bought a ticket, frantically called friends until I found someone that would let me borrow their car, raced to grab their keys, then took off solo for another round of Flipturn. Arriving just in time for the opener, The Haunting, I wandered into Asbury Park’s Wonder Bar. Before the show I ran into drummer Devon Vonbalson in the bathroom where I told him of my Bonaroovian neighbor’s high praises. Then for the 3rd time (greeted him at Rough Trade, in the crowd at Bonnaroo, then Wonder Bar) I encountered Dillon Basse and Mitch Fountain (keyboard player), where I asked if the band would be playing one of their older tracks, “Nickel”. Cool as a cucumber, Dillon said, “guess we’ll have to see”.


Photo: Intense Yogurt

Sorry Sis, I had to do it again!

For their song, “Whales” Devon removed the symbol from his drum kit, handed it to a crowd member, and began the percussive intro measure by “playing” said crowd member. The evolution of the band’s stage presence was easily observable, highlighting just how far they had come as a group since the last small scale venue performance of theirs that I had seen. Personally, I was stoked to be back in a more intimate setting, one where when you jump up and down, you question the structural integrity of the floorboards below you. I can’t explain why almost violating an OSHA standard is an indie rock fan’s daydream, but it is, trust me. #iykyk

Sure enough, to round out the encore, Dillon announced into the microphone that they would now be playing their final track, followed by the words, “this one’s called Nickel”. Holy cannoli. Then and there, I may have peaked. To finish the song, Dillon jumped into the crowd to sing the repeat of the bridge, spiraling in circles, where I screamed the lyrics until my larynx went hoarse. I ascended the human form. Another awesome show in the books — that’s the Flipturn experience. Following the set, I got back in my friend’s vehicle to discover that the car battery had died facepalm, but that’s a story for another time.

Later that year I bought tickets to both of their sold-out sets at Bowery Ballroom. This time I went with company in-toe. I bought 4 tickets (Ticketmaster won’t let me buy more in a single transaction, or otherwise I would have) to both shows and brought friends, my treat. I felt it obligatory to onboard new listeners, to show them the light — or, the shadowglow, if you will — of Flipturn.

Like clockwork, before the set, I ran into none other than, you guessed it, Dillon Basse, for what was now my 4th time. We made small talk about the band’s pursuit of stardom, where he humbly declined my comments about the group having ‘made it’.

That Bowery Ballroom set was unreal. The crowd danced and sang, operating like a single cell amoeba. “You were gonna sink yourself… baby it’s not that deep”. My eyes brimmed with tears during — my personal favorite song — “Halfway”. The performance was like vicariously seeing my friends (that don’t know me by name, or even face for that matter) make it in the world, doing what they dreamed of. Unsurprisingly, all three friends that I brought with me — you know, the ones that actually know me — became instant fans.

flip 5.webp

Photo: Amanda Laferriere 

See a pattern here? I was turned into a fan instantly, as were the festival going friends I made, as were the cronies I brought to Bowery Ballroom.

Good news for me, I still had a second Flipturn set that same week. Back for round two at Bowery Ballroom, I ran into Dillon for the 5th time, where he recognized me now by face and said to me in amazement, “Back again?!”

Why yes, yes I was back and fully prepared to jam out equally, if not harder, to what would be an identical setlist, joined by a new batch of friends. Before parting ways with Dillon, I insisted they add their acoustic cover of Stevie Wonder’s, “Isn’t She Lovely” to Spotify. The show was, again, wonderful. Heck, had they performed a third night that week, I’d have gone again and brought yet another crew to experience Flipturn, full force.

Flipturn, Isn’t She Lovely (Stevie Wonder Cover)

The year is now 2023. Flipturn remains on tour and is tearing up the festival scene, having already played Okeechobee and Hangout. They have upcoming sets on the docket at big name destinations like Gov Ball, Electric Forest, and Moon River. Between their tour dates and festival sets, they’re poised to onboard new fans at every turn (hold the flip!) and transform their fandom into fanatics.

They announced an after hours, 11pm Sunday set at New York City’s iconic venue, Mercury Lounge while in town for Gov Ball. You already know I bought four tickets, am geared up for what could be my 6th time running into Dillon and what will be another unforgettable Flipturn set.

The best time to start listening to Flipturn was yesterday. The second best time is today. I predict that in the near future, you’ll be hearing them on your favorite playlists and seeing them on your favorite lineups (if you haven’t already). Buy some tickets, secure your socks, and be the one on aux that has your friends asking, “yo, who is this?”

Your answer should be two, matter of fact words.

It’s Flipturn.


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