My fellow SCampers!
With many of my immediate festival family members driving across the country to Hulaween in Suwannee, FL for what I am considering the official END of outdoor festival season, I sit and ponder to myself what a great season it has been. I review over all of the material I have shot, all of the great music I have witnessed, and most of all the people I have met throughout this entire journey. I am one very happy and amazed festy goer. I don’t really know how I managed to pull off this run, but in hindsight I got nothin but smiles.
Here’s the Pun-Recap of my journey of four major festivals in one summer starting with our favorite festival:
Summer Camp Music Festival 2013
Being a Summer Camp Counselor in training opened more doors for me as a blogger than any past experience has. I feel that the Camp Counselors have an even greater chance at direct impact on the media aspects of Summer Camp than anyone who was official media. They gave me so much opportunity to shine as a blogger and to meet a lot of my favorite musicians on the planet to boot. I got a real good look on the operations behind how things roll and I hope to continue lending a helping hand for years to come. The family of folks behind the scenes that run this amazing event really do a great job at trying to make every year at Summer Camp better and better. It was an inspiring thing and it really brought out some of my best energy this year. It was a rainy year, but it didn’t stop me from running with my camera through a downpour to get to the VIP tent for amazing once in a lifetime performances or to the red barn for Everyone Orchestra shows that blew minds. A lot of love was shared.
Mountain Jam Music Festival 2013
This was the first time I ever drove out of the state by myself to a festival. This was also the longest I have ever driven to enjoy a fest. I truly enjoyed my time and experience at Mountain Jam. It is a very beautiful festival experience being literally on the side of a mountain. It was also another rainy weekend, but everyone still made the best of the weekend. This was the only festival I had no media obligation to. I just enjoyed myself and my friends all weekend long.
Electric Forest Festival 2013
Being from Michigan this is my home festival. I have been enjoying this venue since 2008 at the first Rothbury Festival. Every year since 2011, I have had the amazing opportunity to shoot highlight videos for the people at the festival with photo and video credentials. I attempt to trump myself every year and this year was really special for not only myself, but many of my festival family as well. It instilled an assurance that Rothbury really is one of the coolest venues and it lives up to the crazy expectation of bettering itself every year.
Lockn’ Festival 2013
This amazing festival popped up as a blip on the radar right away for me, as the line-up was just something that couldn’t be ignored. The amazing amount of epic jam they brought to the table sparked my interest enough to apply for media and led me to making the trek all the way from MI to Arrington, VA. I am really glad that I did because it allowed me to really have a once in a lifetime chance as a photographer to get as many amazing photos as I possibly could. The stages weren’t too large for my lenses and it really broadened my portfolio out. I couldn’t have been happier to be shooting some of the most amazing photos that I have to date. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Michael Kang w/ Zac Brown
Overall I couldn’t be happier with all of the amazing experiences I have had this year. With winter approaching quickly, everyone bundles up with anticipation for announcement and dates for what is to come next season. I know I am excited to shoot a few indoor local events to keep my festy gland from tingling out of control. I hope everyone finds a way to keep themselves at bay as we await the amazingness that is festival season 2014!!!
This year I ended my festival season with a bang by making the trek from MI all the way to Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA for the first ever Lockn’ Music Festival. What I found special about this particular event was the stacked line-up of epic jam mixed in with the idea of making the music never end in a seamless fashion. I was determined to not miss this one.
Luckily I got hooked up with a photo pass and had the time of my life shooting some of the most amazing artists all weekend long. In case you weren’t aware, Lockn’ featured three sets from both Furthur and The String Cheese Incident including special guest appearances and collaborations all weekend long. Widespread Panic, Warren Haynes, Trey Anastasio Band, Zac Brown, John Foggerty, The Black Crowes, and Tedeschi Trucks give you a good sense of what the festival entailed.
What made the festival so amazing for me was the fact that it was the first opportunity I have had to photograph many of these legendary artists. I was definitely one of the happiest souls in the photo pits all weekend long.
My favorite moment of the weekend was when Trey Anastasio came out and performed with Furthur for the first time ever. He helped finish out Casey Jones of Furthur’s rendition of Workingman’s Dead (the entire album) and played other favorites including Scarlet Begonias and Truckin’
I managed to snap some of the best pictures I’ve ever shot. Have a look and get a feel for what Lockn’ was like.
Do you smell that crisp September air? You know what that means; the sad realization that the 2013 Festival season is coming to a close. But hey, as Dr. Seuss said, ” Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. ” Looking back at the festival timeline from May until now, I have a grin from ear to ear!
If it was possible, I would travel America during the festival season going from one to the next. For now, that is not possible as other life commitments don’t allow for that. These are the reasons though that festivals mean so much to me. They allow you to connect with other like minded individuals and set yourself free from outside worries that life throws at you. The feeling of arriving at a festival is something extremely unique and my whole body craves it.
For me, I was lucky enough to hit up four festivals this summer.
Starting off, I went to Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garretsville, OH May 10-12 for a weekend of Papadosio. The weather wasn’t what you want for a festival; it was cold and rainy. That never gets in the way for me of having a great time. As long as you look ahead and prepare for the weather at a festival, you should be golden.
It was a very enjoyable weekend. Papadosio played amazing as usual, and their new light set up they have been using really zones you out into their sets. Other acts that were there include Broccoli Samurai, Fletcher’s Groove, and Color Wheel.
Check out a clip from Papadosio playing at Spring Dance:
Spring Dance really got me primed up for the most amazing festival experience I have EVER had, being Summer Camp! It was the furthest drive I took this summer for a festival, taking about 11.5 hours and 700 miles! Nothing makes me happier then being on the open road, and even more so when you know where the road leads to.
Summer Camps line up always has something for everyone! My top 5 favorite acts I saw were moe, Umphrey’s Mcgee, STS9, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Gramatik. That’s actually hard to write though, because I did not see ONE bad act at Summer Camp! Looking back, I am upset that I missed out on Nahko & Medicine for the People! Their newest album, Dark as Night, truly has been my favorite album this summer.
Being the Summer Camp counselor was not only an honor during that weekend, but is an experience that has kept on going since then. My best memory of that whole weekend was being in moes trailer and having them along with Victor Wooten perform a private set to my brother, my sister, my girlfriend, and myself. Checkout a clip of that performance here:
I also had the opportunity of announcing moe right before they took the stage for the first time on Friday!:
I had so many other memories from that weekend that keep my soul smiling. Another one that sticks out was being on stage for Umphrey’s McGee on Friday:
The crowd at Summer Camp was amazing too! It’s clear that Summer Camp is a more than a festival, it’s a family! Even during the craziest of rain at Scamp, I held on to my smile because I was with the Summer Camp family and NOTHING could stop us from having a good time!
I had a nice solid month in between my next festival, Electric Forest, which ran from June 27- June 30th.
Electric Forest was another glorious festival. Their line up is a little more electronic, but what really drew me there was 3 nights of String Cheese Incident. I had never seen them before going, and it’s been a mission of mine for a very long time! They blew away my expectations!
Electric Forest was another festival that had a strong community feel. Everyone was very awesome! Even more so then the music, the community can make or break the feel of a festival.
My top 5 acts of Electric Forest include: String Cheese Incident, Lotus, Empire of the Sun, Nahko and Medicine for the People, and Railroad Earth. The only thing I did not care for about EFF, was that general admission gives you a very small plot of camping space. We barely were able to fit everything we had in the area; however I understood the size of the festival and that it was necessary to fit everyone in.
Ah yes, last but not least, my most recent and sadly my last festival of the season, Summer Dance.
Summer Dance takes place at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, and for me, this was the first and last location for my summer of festivals which was awesome! Summer Dance took place from August 30 – September 2. The line up was awesome which included 2 nights of lotus ( 4 sets total ), One More Time ( Daft Punk Tribute ), Broccoli Samurai, Future Rock, Orchard Lounge, The Manhattan Project and more!
It was an awesome way to close out the festival season. One of my favorite parts of Nelson Ledges is they have a quarry in which you can swim and jump off into! It’s so refreshing and it’s awesome that you can swim and listen to music at the same time.
Here’s a clip of Lotus raging this year at Summer Dance:
And with all that awesomeness, that’s all she wrote for this year in my book! It was an awesome ride and I can’t wait to do it all again next year hopefully adding even more into the mix!
Although this is the end for me, there are still tons of other festivals happening this season, including Catskill Chill, Lockn’, Night Lights fall Music Festival and more!
Even though it’s all coming to an end, there is something we can all agree on that is fun in the fall; MORE MUSIC! All of the fall tours are starting to flow out every day and I’m liking what I see!
I hope everyone else’s festival season was as good as mine! Until next year…
-Camp Counselor Kyle
With all the gallantry and smackdabbery of Christmas behind us it was time to get down at the first of three nights with The String Cheese Incident in The 1stBank Center. It has been fifteen years since SCI has played a New Year’s Eve show in Colorado; this run marks the first time ever that they are ringing in the New Year on the Front Range. The first night saw a continuation of their momentum from the summer tour. They put a huge effort into practicing prior to these runs and it showed when they hit the stage.
I took the opportunity to hop on the Quixote’s bus. At $24 after fees it seemed a bit expensive, but how can you put a price on a safe ride. I arrived and quickly made my way inside. With temperatures in the single digits, it didn’t make much sense to hang out in the Lot. Inside, the kids adorned in capes and glittery accoutrement swooped about in anticipation of the night’s show. The first of a three-night run usually calls for a lighter turnout, and at the height of the evening the floor was full, but there was still plenty of seats available throughout the venue. They opened with a tasty “Round The Wheel.”
Set One: Round The Wheel, Sometimes A River, Yo Sé, So Far From Home, Born On The Wrong Planet, Betray The Dark, Close Your Eye > Black Clouds
Set Two: Rollover > Out On The Road, Give Me The Love, Eye Know Why, Jellyfish > Kashmir, Rivertrance, Sirens > Rollover
Encore: Time Alive, Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
String Cheese continued with a floating rendition of “Sometimes A River” before the show exploded with an excellent “Yo Sé.” Kyle Hollingsworth’s fingers danced on the keys and showcased his Latin flair. Jason Hahn too stepped into the spotlight blasting away on the bongos. Billy Nershi took the helm on the rockabilly bluegrass number “So Far From Home,” before the highlight of the first set came in the form of “Born On The Wrong Planet.” SCI chilled out the crowd with a funky and brooding “Betray The Dark.” They closed the set with a one two punch “Close Your Eye” into a massive “Black Clouds.” Other than the set stretching out a bit, it was fairly standard, with somewhat restrained playing. The second set would be their chance to really let loose.
They opened with an unfinished “Rollover,” that many fans assumed would come on New Year’s Eve. String Cheese transitioned smoothly into an extended rendition of “Out On The Road,” again showcasing Kyle’s dirty organ tricks. Michael Kang’s vocals gave a gentle feel to “Give Me The Love.” Kyle busted out one of his tunes with “Eye Know Why.” The crowd was slightly stunned with the intro to “Jellyfish,” again thinking this would come later in the run. However, Nershi found himself fumbling with the lyrics before restarting the song and settling back in nicely. The audience laughed it off, as this song saw some of the best jamming of the night before they ripped into Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Kang again took the microphone and belted out this song intensely. It was a quick but solid version.
Cheese brought a bit of that old-fashioned dance party whomp with “Rivertrance,” but again it was tasteful and I found myself focusing on Kang’s fiddle anyway. They again ended the set big with “Sirens” into “Rollover Reprise.” The band seemed to be gushing a bit over the crowd, having mentioned several times throughout the night how happy they were to be in Colorado for New Year’s. They encored with a Travis-fronted song entitled “Time Alive,” that came off as rock opera-esque by the end. They followed up that with a short take on the bluegrass standard “Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.” It was a solid start to the three-night run with the second set coming out on top. They got more comfortable as the night progressed and it manifested itself in the interplay between the musicians. With two more nights to go it would be interesting to see if they can keep up this pace.
Kashmir Video – http://youtu.be/-HUCymKySVM
Kyle Hollingsworth has taken part in a wide array of events at Summer Camp. From sitting in with moe. on “Happy Hour Hero” to hosting a seminar on brewing beer, he’s definitely a welcomed guest at the festival. Back near his home in Boulder, Colorado it’s becoming a winter tradition that Kyle takes a trip down the Front Range sharing good music and first-class beer. This year he upped the ante by including Soulive as well as a couple fresh brews. He warmed up for two nights in Denver by bringing Eric Krasno to sit in for the show at Hodi’s in Fort Collins. Kyle also brought a variation on Avery’s dry-hopped Winter Day IPA that he collaborated on with the brewery. It was a spicy ale, balanced by an abundance of hoppy goodness. It’s definitely a nice holiday beer.
Video Link – http://youtu.be/tJdcdEImhEE
Whew, what a weekend in Asheville with Warren Hayne’s beloved 24th annual Christmas Jam! Coming into the hometown holiday jam-off, many people were surprised by the seemingly random line-up with a few oddballs thrown into the mix of a jam-themed Christmas show- Sheryl Crow being the main one. And many were seemingly disappointed with the last minute announcement of pop folk band, The Avett Brothers, as their sounds continues to spiral down into pop love ballad abyss.
Surprisingly for most however, a little soulful love song mix-up fit nicely into the predominantly jam and funk breakdown. After the killer horns and jazzed up set of Trombone Shorty, the Avett Brothers tore it up, breaking out a few older tunes and picking like they did pre-Rick Rubin. Sheryl Crow then took the stage and crooned her sexy heart out, jamming the classic Crow favorites we all know and love.
But the real funk began when String Cheese Incident took the stage, breaking down old favorites like Joyful Noise and Can’t Wait Another Day before pulling up the meanest sax player on the scene, Mister Karl Denson, to join in on a mean Rosie then blowing the crowd away with Phish cover Quinn the Eskimo. What a night. I think perhaps a little Cheese in the 2013 Summer Camp line-up would truly bring the scamp house down and make Scamp 2013 an epic summer to never be forgotten. You with me?
I headed down to Bohemian Nights on Sunday around 3 PM for Widow’s Bane. Widow’s Bane is not a Summer Camp band, but maybe they should be. For those that don’t know this self-proclaimed “Zombie-Death-Polka” band performs adorned in face paint and blood. Led by Mortimer Leech who was poisoned by his wife a few hundred years ago, The Widow’s Bane does not shy away form playing to the crowd. They invited a friend to serve cotton candy to the mass as they performed. They were the surprise of the festival, playing up their characters and making for an intriguing blend of rock, folk, and cowpunk.
The rest of my afternoon was filed with a pair of Summer Camp Alumni, Great American Taxi, and Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Both Vince and Kyle have had interesting positions at Summer Camp over the years. Vince Herman played the role of master of ceremony in 2006 and Kyle Hollingsworth lead a discussion on home brewing and sat in with Everyone Orchestra in 2011. I took my time heading back over to the Old Town Square Stage for Leftover Salmon side project Great American Taxi. It had been two years since GAT had played at Bohemian Nights and they definitely drew in the people. The highlight of their set was a beautiful rendition of “Silver Fiddle.” With Vince Herman at the reigns this band never disappoints.
I went to see a bit of Sunday headliners Gipsy Kings before ending the weekend at Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Kyle of The String Cheese Incident has assembled an all star side project including Garrett Sayers on bass and Dave Watts on kit. They played everything you would want to her from them including an epic set closing “Rosie.” I left the event happy to have covered it, and elated with how well it came off. It’s impossible to live in Fort Collins and not make it down for at least a day or two of Bohemian Nights. Even if you don’t like many of the bands there is always plenty to see and do. I took the opportunity this year to pick my very own 10-show weekend, which is easy to do given the fact that so many bands played the event. It was well run and a great time, now let’s see moe. headline a night next year. Thanks to the Bohemian Foundation and the Downtown Association for all the hard work.
The long awaited two-night run of Game 7 was billed as the MusicMarauders Two Year Anniversary Celebration. Having been writing for MM for close to a year now, which has been a great experience overall, I was very excited to join in the festivities. Writing for MusicMaraudes was just one of my qualifications that helped land me the Camp Counselor position. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of coverage for both Summer Camp and MM.
I arrived early enough to catch a bit of Wisebird’s opening set. They were a foursome of wide brim hat wearing, bearded jammers who looked like they walked straight out of a Kerouac novel. Wisebird dabbled in bluesy song structures with a rockabilly twang. I would say the most striking thing about their playing was the distinct cleanliness of their sound. While not necessarily incredibly complex the music of Wisebird was tight and well thought out. They were an interesting juxtaposition for the night’s main event. I headed backstage with J-man for a quick interview with Magner before they took the stage around midnight.
This was the third outing of supergroup Game 7. A jam hybrid with Araon Magner of the Disco Biscuits, Michael Kang from String Cheese Incident, Particle’s rhythm section Darren Pujalet and Eric Gould, as well as Pete Wall from the Motet. Playing together for only the third time live this nascent collaboration showed incredible promise. All of the members save Pete Wall (who is a member of The Motet whom I wrote about in my prevoius post.) have played at Summer Camp in one band or another. As fans filtered in, many from STS9’s Fillmore show, shouts of Kang and Magner could be heard from the enthusiastic crowd. They opened with an original jam entitled Multiball 2. Here is the rest of their setlist.
SET I: Multiball 2, Chicago> Mike’s Outro, Run Like Hell, La Femme, Time To Pretend, Howl At The Moon, Skyscrapper> MIA Jam> Da Funk> Feeling Older, Mind Over Matter, Neck Romancer, Come Together
ENCORE: Multiball 1
(Taken from onstage setlist.)
Game 7 was a fusing of styles as diverse as the members who made up the group. With the often-subtle mannered Michael Kang playing bandleader he passed around the jam like a hot potato. Scantily clad Bisco chicks and a random girl dressed in a bear suit danced passionately as the band eased into their two-plus hour set. It would have been easy for them to be an untz-fueled monster given the Particle and Bisco backgrounds, but honestly they were a fluid organic musical experience with an electronic edge. Their version of Pink Floyd’s Run Like Hell was an inspired take with a trance-y bridge before they went right back into the tune to close. They performed a jam on MGMT’s Time To Pretend, which had been played the night previous. However given the fact that they are a newly assembled endeavor still working on original material it was to be expected. The show flowed quickly with covers from Air, Daft Punk, as well as a version of Disco Biscuits’ Neck Romancer.
The show was incredibly balanced and it really displayed the musical prowess of everyone involved. It’s collaborations like this that reaffirm my faith in the jam scene. Unlike other musical realms, the amazing talent of the members of this community allows them to play with anyone, anytime. On a Saturday night at Quixote’s we witnessed some serious musical ability. Most notable of which may have been Pete Wall who seemed to blast off about midset. He brought a new dynamic to his sound and was virtually evolving right before a captivated audience. Magner did what he does best all night killing it on the keys and adding his own sonic flair to the sound. Pujalet was a human metronome on the skins with Gould giving a pinpoint precision to his bass playing. They bookended the show with their Multiball 2 jam finishing around 2:30 AM. As the crowd spilled out in the streets I smiled to myself knowing that I got to see this sick lineup at the beginning. They have so much raw potential that I can only hope that they continue to find time to play together in the future. Happy Anniversary to MusicMarauders and I look forward to another amazing year of live music coverage.