Welcome to Camp Barefoot 4
Camp Barefoot 4 was held on the gorgeous grounds of Camp Hidden Meadows in the West Virginia mountains this past weekend, providing a wonderful backdrop for almost 2000 music loving hippies to dance, eat and smile to good music. Barefoot also made sure to feature many Virginia-based musicians, bringing a hometown feel to the weekend which I couldn’t ignore and fully appreciated.
Introducing Camp/Team Hardcore
I love that I hang out with Epic Professionals. I am not talking about professionals in the 9-5 sense of the word. I am not talking about professional musicians or production members. I am talking about professional festival goers. Where most of the people in our scene are obsessed with touring with Phish or Furthur or following any certain band, my running crew is addicted to raging music festivals all over the nation and then, during our down time, seeing individual shows in our respective hometowns.
Camp Barefoot 4 (CB4) was a new festival added to my radar this year. I had been looking forward to it all year but was also a tad bit unorganized. (Thank god for the professionals again.) This year, our campsite was dubbed Camp Hardcore, so I will refer to my crew as that from now on throughout the rest of the article.
I left New York City after work Wednesday night to catch my ride to a section of West Virginia that I hadn’t been in since I found out Jerry Garcia died while I was climbing Seneca Rocks. Meeting up with members of Camp Hardcore in Winchester, Virginia, we all caravaned to the festival grounds, arriving at Camp Hidden Meadows around 12:30pm on Thursday. Checking into VIP was cake. This was a first as most times there is always some kind of hold up for one reason or another at the entry gates. We reached VIP camping after only 15 minutes. Lovely!
I arrived with nothing more then a backpack on my back. Living in New York City without a car provided a challenge figuring out logistics of raging a West Virginia Mountain by way of public transportation. I had not yet replaced any of my traveling camping gear that was stolen last year nor do I really have room for all that gear in my Manhattan apartment. Reaching out to members of Camp Hardcore, my professional posse made sure to bring extra everything to set me up with a nice little home in the woods for the weekend.
Let the Barefooting Begin
The music was not slated to start until 5pm on the Main Stage but there was rumor of the No BS Brass Band playing towards the Main entrance on The Courtyard Stage. This stage was quite literally made up of two Eazy-Up tent placed over a large plank of wood. I loved the simplicity of the production…a stage is a stage is a stage…folks don’t really need a lot of flare….sometimes that is the charm. Sadly, the horns never reached the stage. Instead, a three piece string band slowly began setting up as we discussed what to do next. The Barefoot Movement continued to play as Bo and I checked out the Camel Trailer located 100 yards from the makeshift stage….
The Camel Trailer
What the hell were we thinking? The Camel Trailer was actually quite bizarre and more then a little disturbing. We were told that there were options of free cigarettes once you went through the trailer. Liars. We entered the trailer, but not before being asked to extinguish Bo’s cigarette. Oh, the irony. Upon entering the trailer, you are greeted by a tiny cute female in a jean skirt and a button up plaid shirt. They would have been better reaching us through patchwork instead of hilly billy plaid. We are hippies, not rednecks. HAHA!!
Our “guide” proceeded to talk to us about CAMEL SNUS, a smoke-free, spit free packet of tobacco that you stick in your lip. Immediately, Bo and I started pointing out the lack of music (“WHY do you not have music?”) and the stale cool air that was being spewed over us like in a hospital (“Oh man, this staleness is just creepy!”). There were TV screens with trippy blue waves surrounding us (“Whoa, we need to come back in here in a few hours!”).
We were not the best people to be guiding as we really were not interested in what they were giving us and by the end, even more offended by their presentation. We were shuffled along and forced to give our information to a computer, then semi-forced to pick out a container of Snus. Bo kept telling them he didn’t want one and they couldn’t get that through their heads. I just wanted it for the cute tin it was wrapped in. Eventually, Bo had one in his hand. Finally, the last leg of the “tour” consisted of a “guide” opening up our SNUS tins and attempting to get us hooked on it right then and there by forcing it up up our lip before we went into a room with a presentation on a screen. Bo and I both argued that we didn’t want that crap up our lip and so they left us alone and we proceeded to watch the subliminal message being thrown at us in the video. It was a 4-D experience as our seats moved, air was blown in our face and we were thrown out of airplanes, skiing down slopes, biking down mountains and so much more. It took a minute for Bo to even turn his head and look at it as he thought he was being brained washed. He was right. As we left, we were blown away by what had just occurred. How insane, how forceful and addicting was that? Bo and I made a point to tell all our friends not to bother going in that trailer. It was crazy how they attempted to lock you into the product before you even leave the trailer. WOW!!! Personally, I think all these stupid trailers should be banned.
VIP PERK #1: Only members with VIP passes were able to camp with their cars so the process to get general campers inside the venue was a fun one to watch. Basically, a “shuttle” would come to the pick-up location and scattered hippies cold be seen running from all sides just chucking their gear onto the trailer in the back before the next hippie could. No lines, not much organization but I never heard anyone complain, just laugh. More of that charm…. It was so nice to be back home, away from New York City, seeing these smiling faces and knowing that we were going to be having a safe and wonderful time with my mountain pals this weekend. Nothing better…
Cartwright Brandon – Drums
Drew De Porter – Guitar and Vocals
Taylor Hellhake – Bass
Theremin Charlie Nimitz – Guitar
Around 5pm, the music began. I walked back to camp, taking in the lovely festival grounds along the way….all while listening to Cinder Cat, an experimental/rock/electronica band out of North Carolina. They drew me to the stage. Their sound was trippy and spacey. Made me wish that they were playing later on in the evening when I would be prepared for them. However, I could wager that the members of this group would probably want to be raging to the later bands along side me instead of playing for me. There is potential for this group to be a raging late night band if they continue practicing and get tighter. Just a fun group that looked like they were enjoying themselves. There is nothing wrong with that.
Setlist: Intro>, Broke >,Sample >, Twlight >, Swamp, Temple (Part I and II), Saucer face >, A1, MJ
(Waiting on recording from band – definite)
VIP PERK #2: The beauty about the size of this festival and the location of the VIP section, we could hear every single note from the two main stages without ever leaving our camping chairs or in my case, the hammock. One thing I have to say I noticed, the bands that performed earlier on in the day had one underlying similarity that had me losing focus most mornings. Most would just change directions before truly hitting their jams on a given song. Just when things would start getting interesting, just when our ear would perks up, many times, the band would flip into a new style in the middle of the song or just not complete the rise into the rage that they were building up to. Styles in the song would change, directions just changed and it would deflate us completely.
Murphy’s Kids tunes were catchy and I found myself stopping in the middle of pitching a tent to ask who I was listening too. However, there was just too much going on to truly give their set listening justice. I hadn’t seen some of Camp Hardcore for over 8 years. There was quite the reunion this weekend for sure. I did make a mental note to check out Murphy’s Kids again if they had another set…alas, they did not.
Community Art Project
Art and expression through mediums other then music is nurtured at every musical festival. Most times, there are giant sculptures created as a base for community art project that allows every member of the festival to be play a part in its final creation. This festival was no different. It was actually cute how the scale of the art project mirrored the scale of the festival. Mountain Jam, a 15,000+ person festie, had giant towering sculptures and mazes to paint. Camp Barefoot, what seemed to be no more than 1700 person festival, had various sized mustaches made out of wood, the tallest, coming level to my chest.
Why the mustaches you ask? Instant Mustache was a proud sponsor of Camp Barefoot. They provided oodles of entertainment for silly hippies late night by passing out mustaches on a stick that we could hold up under our nose. It provided hours of entertainment. Thank you Instant Mustache!
Directions for FUN: Print and cut out the ‘staches below and use some tape to stick them to your favorite face and take some pictures ‘cause I and the whole world wanna see, “How you sport your ’stache!”
Doug Fisher – Vocals,guitar
Holt Nicholas – Guitar,vocals
Stephen Tuzeneu – Saxophone, keys, and percussion
Casey Sanders – Bass
Miles Kimbrough – Drums
I stopped to listen to Caught In The Rift for a bit, having notice them covering Eric Clapton’s After Midnight. Reminded me of College…Frat Rock type music. Lots of guitar jams in the middle of catchy little tunes that were backed with lyrics. Similar to Vertical Horizon or something of that nature….I remember really liking the singer’s scratchy voice. But, I couldn’t stay there for too long and I hope to catch them again soon to really get a feel for their vibe.
(Waiting for recording and setlist from band~hopefully)
We spent the rest of the early evening putting together our schedules for the weekend, cooking dinner for the group and just catching up. The fun hippy toys made their way out under our massive Tertris-like Tent City. One friend had welded two 5-gallon propane tanks together and cut teeth making a gorgeous sounding drum. This provided a gorgeous musical outlet for my friend Paul who gave it the best play since it’s creation. I am always amazed at sounds, no matter where they come from. There is beauty in each and every one.
David Ashby – Bass and Vocals
Matt Walton – Guitar and Vocals
Geoff Bakel – Drums, Cymbals, Percussion, and Vocals
Ben White – Keyboards, Vocals
There was a third stage, the SKU Stage proudly sponsored by Instant Mustache, located about half a mile away from VIP camping and up a large hill. We finally took the hike up there to see what was going down. Sadly, the entire time I was thinking that The Former Champions was this fusion Jazz group I had in my ITunes. I was wrong but not upset by this fact as Former Champions were hitting the stage hard when we arrived. (Got to love The Instant Mustache banner behind them.)
Former Champions got the party started right. The guitar was jammy, the spacey keys provided that synthy sound that got everyone dipping into their toes and getting their bodies moving. The drums raged it. It was a great group to start the night off. But, soon it was time to hit the main stages for the real rage of the night.
(Waiting for recording and setlist from band~hopefully)
* Special Guest: Tim Palmieri
Originally, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine and Ekoostik Hookah were slated to play Camp Barefoot 4. However, due to contractual issues both bands were pulled from the line-up. I feel as though the removal of these two bands sealed the deal for people on the fence on whether or not to attend. I imagine the turnout would have been much larger with the inclusion of Kimock and EH in the lineup. I have no complaints now but I was seriously bitching earlier in the summer.
Right! So, I hadn’t seen RAQ since attending All Good Music Festival many moons ago. Or perhaps it was the Haymaker Music Festival. Either way, I CERTAINLY have been missing out on some major musical growth within this band. I absolutely couldn’t believe it. I never remembered them being so damn good. And I mean they were damn good!
This was the set that started a theme of rage throughout the weekend for sure. The energy of the mountain was radiating through every hippy standing around me. Their faces were lit up and everyone was in party mode. At one point, Tim Palmieri, of The Breakfast & Kung Fu, joined the stage. This would be the beginning of Chris Michetti and Tim Palmieri‘s love affair that would continue on throughout the weekend, providing some AMAZING guitar rages and battles. I mean, WOW!!
Todd Stoops on keys is what drew me to the stage at Gathering of the Vibes and what kept me in front of the stages most nights at Camp Barefoot 4. Just a man of so many talents and styles. Only negative, his voice. I am not a huge fan of that voice and would prefer he stick to playing the keys and leave the singing to another. Alas, this is not the case most times and luckily the singing doesn’t last for very long. (FYI – TODD – Make yourself a personal myspace page…we need it.)
(Waiting for recording and setlist from band~definite)
Did somebody say they were hungry? CAUSE WE GOT FED!!! Yes, I know the cheesy cliches are just that, cheesy…but man, they had me screaming out things I never would have said other wise. The Breakfast picked up right where RAQ‘s rocking performance left off. HOT DAMN!!
Tim Palmieri is a BEAST on that guitar. Just shredding his way through all the sets that night. By the end of the weekend I was screaming his name as MVP and I was not alone in this decision. They started their set off with a trippy 18 minute Metropolis and ended it with Tood Stoops joining in on Buquebus. Both Todd and Jordan each raging a keyboard and sounding on point. The singing during the set, again, turned me off. I don’t understand why people sing when they don’t sound good doing it. Their instrument play, however, was AWESOME SAUCE!!
By the second song, Tim Palmieri was just in a full throttle open rage. The rock vibe of the music was bumped up with Chris DeAngelis on bass. Adrian Tramontano seemed to be having a fun time with his beats which provided the guitarists a wonderful platform to rage against, and rage they did…..check out their set.
Setlist: Metropolis, Dougboy>, Psygn, Wake Up in a Coma>, Pygmy, Twylyte>, Jam>, May Fly Disarray, Buquebus
David Pransky – Electric Bass
Drew Heller – Electric Guitar, Soku
Justin Perkins – Kamel Ngoni, Kora, and Electric Guitar
Luke Quaranta – Percussion
Teal Brown – Drums
There was just a fire on that stage at Barefoot that never went out once RAQ started it. At 1am Toubab Krewe hit the stage with a vengeance. With as much electronica as we would be hearing this weekend, I was looking for that sound that would stand out against the rest and Toubab Krewe was just that sound.
This was BY FAR THE BEST Toubab Krewe set I’d seen all year and I can’t find it recorded anywhere. I am so upset by this as I write this section out. Having seen them four times so far, starting with Jam Cruise, forward to me hanging out on their tour bus for Valentines Day and ending with a full rage with them in NYC, it goes without saying I am a HUGE fan. It’s just a phenomenal group with such an interesting sound.
The standout elements of within the group are their West African Influences. Justin Perkins commands the front stage with his various ethnic instruments, leading the jams. He is such an interesting character. You can almost NEVER get his eyes looking at a camera, he will always look away. Luke Quaranta might be one of the best percussion players I have ever seen live. His speed and facial expressions are off the charts. He literally looks possessed while playing then stands up and thanks us like nothing happened. Their sound is driven by the beats through a African vein and Drew Heller brings it back to America with his rock guitar.
(Waiting for recording and setlist from band~hopefully)
Dominic Lalli – Production/Sax
Jeremy Salken – Drums
*Special Guest: Chris Michetti
And it just kept getting better. Big Gigantic capped off the night with a raging dance party. Just two guys on stage who brought multiple layers of music to our ears. With dirty beats backed by live drums and a saxophone, I almost started to like this group better then Break Science…I said almost. But I am telling you, the addition of that saxophone…it just upped the level for me. Being a funk junky, that shouldn’t shock anyone of yall.
I was anxious to check this group out as they had earned a spot on Jam Cruise this year and I always love my late night dance parties on the boat in between Jam Room rages. Man, this group is going to fit on the boat PERFECTLY!! The horn is always a big plus, bringing the funk right up in your face. Big Gigantic dropped it full rage until 5am….I think they actually kicked it a little later because we just couldn’t stop dancing.
Chris Michetti of RAQ added a whole other dimension, coming out to join the group a few songs into the set. I mean seriously….see for yourself.
Until Tomorrow Barefoot…
I never made it to the SKU stage for Silo Effect. For those of you hoping that I had, here is a video for your viewing pleasure as to not disappoint.
And I can’t say goodnight, because I never went to bed. All but one of my friends had passed out so Paul and I roamed the small festival grounds hanging out with people we found who were also awake. I met so many wonderful people that night, talked about so many great musicians with some great southern hippies, my vein of people. And I mean REAL HIPPIES…not these New York hippy-wanna-be’s. Man, I missed this so much. The whole charm of being in the mountains. The whole Southern vibe was reeling in me hardcore. My eyes grew heavy until a friend came by and took care of that situation for me. Pretty soon I heard the word “KICKBAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL” being shouted through the camp grounds. I hadn’t been to a Southern area festival since All G0od 2006 and my yearning to move back home got very strong during these down times. But my yearning for dawn kickball was even stronger. The sun would be coming up shortly and my boy Gator had just given me my second wind!!!
Click for Camp Barefoot: Friday (08.20.10)