Old Dominion University oceanography graduate student Andrew Lindgren keeps his soul in balance by bouncing between scientific data and musical grooves.

“In more of an abstract way, they do support each other,” said Lindgren, who plays bass in the folk-influenced band The Warm Hug. “Having the creative outlet of the music helps me stay focused on the more scientific, academic pursuits.

Andrew Lindgren on a research vessel off the Florida coast. The ODU oceanography grad student is doing research on groundwater discharge in continental shelf environments. Photo courtesy of Andrew Lindgren

“I need some artistic and some more concrete things in my life.”

Fronted by Andrew’s mandolin-playing sister, Erin Lindgren, The Warm Hug performed Saturday, Jan. 13, as part of YES Fest, a two-day celebration of emerging indie musical acts from a variety of genres.

The festival took place at ODU’s Gordon Galleries and Goode Theatre on Monarch Way.

Lindgren described it as a huge success.

“I was blown away by the musicianship and the presence that everybody brought,” he said. “I heard such a wide range of music across both days … I’m beyond happy with the whole experience and hope that YES Fest continues for years to come.”

The Warm Hug’s music mixes the traditional with the experimental. Erin Lindgren’s compelling vocals create a mood reminiscent of folk music from the British isles. But songs also include synthesizers and electric bass, so the band’s sound is hard to categorize.

“We’ve gotten some medieval or Renaissance era comparisons,” the bassist says, smiling. “I’m not sure if that was the intent so much or what it happened to turn into, but everyone likes it.”

Lindgren said playing as part of a festival is ideal.

“I like being able to interact with a lot of other musicians and share a crowd with them,” he said. “We get to show off our music to people who would otherwise never have come just to see us. And you get a broader sense of the scene as a whole.”

His academic experience at ODU has taken him to coastal Florida, where he spent weeks aboard a research vessel collecting samples of ocean water near the continental shelf. His master’s thesis will be on groundwater discharge in continental shelf environments.

Now, he’s stepped on stage at ODU as a musician.

Playing music helps keep the analytical part of his mind refreshed. It’s like a reset, he said. “This is the best way that I’ve found to recharge my brain.” He exercises one side so that the other can rest. The cycle continues.

“Through doing both, I am able to do each one better,” he said.

YES Fest was presented through a collaboration between Arts@ODU and Norfolk-based concert and event promoter LAVA Presents.

This video offers a look at some of the action from YES Fest 2024.

This photo gallery also shows scenes from the event.