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Archive for the ‘Festival Review’ Category

In it’s fifth year on the musical map, Camp Barefoot 5 provided one of the year’s most positive festival experiences for 2500 music lovers this past weekend at Camp Hidden Meadows, in Bartow, West Virginia.

Welcome to Camp Barefoot!

Welcome to Camp Barefoot!

Camp Barefoot 5 | August 18-20th, 2011 | Camp Hidden Meadows, Bartow, WVIn an ever-growing music festival world, full of mainstream acts, money grubbing production companies, cookie-cutter designs and investors and promoters who are in it for the wrong reasons, we are lucky when we can find a festival that continues to evolve yet keeps a firm hold to its charm.

The best music festivals do not rely solely on their line-up, their location, or their staff.  It is a seamless combination of all of the above that has left a lasting impression on this professional festival goer.   I have attended multiple festivals around the world this year and I can’t get around the fact that a festival so quaint could be so satisfying.

Every year just gets better and better. I love how the line-up changes from year to year but still has the local and regional acts that I have grown to love! This is def. one festie you can hit up by yourself and leave with a ton of new friends. ~ MrHarryHood83 on JamBase

The two main (quaint and perfect) stages @ 4am Thursday

The two main (quaint and perfect) stages @ 6am Thursday

When thinking on how to approach this article, I wrote out a list of refreshing and positive points about the fest that became endless.  The campers, the location, the weather, lack of cell-phone service, the size, the WONDERFUL staff, the vendors, artists and special large and small-scale musical collaborations.  The list went on till I hit about 150 points and put down my pen.  I recognized that Camp Barefoot contains everything one might want out of a music festival and that there are aspects of this event that other festivals can’t replicate.

The Atmosphere

The River that runs along the Main entrance and Family Camping.

The river that runs along the Main entrance and Family Camping. Completely accessible to all who care to enjoy it for whatever reason. Children colored rocks along the water all weekend.

Location, Location, Location: A good drive off the beaten path into the mountains of West Virginia, one of the most important and refreshing aspects of this festival is the location.  Once 30 minutes outside of Camp Hidden Meadows, telephone service shuts out.  This is such a blessing in disguise for those of us who are addicted to their phones and the internet. Five days of uninterrupted country camping. There is a cleansing aspect felt from the disconnection of this addiction that you feel immediately. There are rivers, walking paths, quaint bridges, and lush green landscape to pop up ones tent.

Thank you Camp Barefoot for the most baller end to my summer I could possibly ask for!!!!!! What a beautiful weekend in the valley, hours away from cell phone service, surrounded by some of my best friends, funky music, and an amazing view!!! ~ Danielle Christenson

You can't help but feel wonderfully isolated and country-fried at Barefoot!

You can't help but feel wonderfully isolated and country-fried at Barefoot!

As the name suggests, Camp Hidden Meadows is nestled into a small scale valley which should probably hold no more then 3000 people.  Tickets were limited to a maximum capacity of 3,000 people this year. VIP only sold 40 ticket making it a nice, small space to get to know your neighbors. The location of VIP this year was much more pleasant as well.  Last year, there was cow poop in many of the fields. This year, I heard a rumor that only just the day before did the poop get picked up manually by staff. THAT is dedication! We will definitely be pumping VIP up with more heads next year after the success of this year’s Barefoot.

So down home and earthy 🙂 (giggle!!) I wanna go back!! ~ Aslan Deacon (Jam Cruise Head Cheerleader)

There is a large on-site lake with a make-shift tube slide that functions as a wonderful amenity for those needing a refreshing cool-down from the afternoon sun (which never got TOO hot) or a shower.  Personally, you couldn’t pay me to get in that lake (rumor of leaches and what not) but I enjoyed knowing it was there for fun! It was constantly in use and pleased everyone who entered!

The lake/swimming hole at the top of the hill.

The lake/swimming hole at the top of the hill. I never made it back up once the festival started. (Sunrise, Thursday morning)

World's largest fully steerable single aperture antenna telescope (http://www.gb.nrao.edu/)

World's largest fully steerable single aperture antenna telescope (http://www.gb.nrao.edu/)

One of the greatest aspects of all is the night sky.  Camp Barefoot is located 14 minutes away from the World’s largest fully steerable single aperture antenna telescope (http://www.gb.nrao.edu/). The placement of this telescope became knowledge to me while trying to figure out why there were no telephone towers in the area.  The placement of this telescope became UNDERSTOOD to me when I looked up into the sky on the second night of the festival. Just…WOW!!

Kids #2

Little ones ran around all weekend. Smiles and giggles abounded.

There are no words that do justice to the spectacular view we were given of the constellations on the second night. I literally hung out by the porto-potties in Family Camping getting lost in the Milky Way and various other galaxies for half an hour until a friend walked by and MADE me move. Another time, I saw five shooting starts in one hour.  Barefoot places you in the stars. Literally, there are layers upon layers of stars.  Seemingly closer, they practically reached out for me in the moments I melted into them.

Sadly, the stars didn’t present themselves in such a manner on the surrounding nights as they did that second night.  However, they still shined brighter and truer then this country-girl turned city-chick has ever experienced.  I lost the stars to the bright lights of the urban bustle years ago and it’s one of the things I miss most of country living. If for nothing else, the vision of the night sky from this venue is worth everything it takes to get there.

Vending Area Art Peice

This monster art piece began at the start of the festival and was finished by the second day. It was also the wall that defined the vendor area's beginning. I tried repeatedly to help them spray paint but alas...

The Dog Element

This guy made sure you had your rager pass before you were let backstage ;)

This guy made sure you had your rager pass before you were let backstage 😉

Dogs are an integral part of the Barefoot experience.  Each year, Camp Barefoot walks away with the Rager Award for Best Dog Population. Hands down!!  I don’t care who you are, dogs make things better and there are hardly any festivals that allow dogs these days.

Puppy Love!!

Puppy Love!!

It must be noted, especially in the bigger festivals, that our scene has lost its innocence in the canine area.  Wookies walk around with aggressive looking breeds on purpose and today’s lot dogs are scary and used for protection and aggressive portrayal.  I love all dogs and I try not to discriminate (being an Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor for NYC PARKS and all) but being surrounded by multiple aggressive looking dogs is not something I enjoy. There is no such thing as a scary dog at Barefoot 🙂

At Barefoot, even my girlfriend who can’t stand dogs was loving up on the sweet faces that ran lose over the weekend.  There was a tie-dyed pug, a mini-pin in a dress, an enormous Great Dane with Dalmatian markings that towered over young children and numerous muts with bandanas around their necks who literally ran free wearing smiles. Yes, even the dogs smiled this weekend.  Barefoot is blissful.

Rolling Stream Rage

Rolling Stream Rage ~ We spent a lot of time by and in this lovely stream 🙂

Activism

Continuing the puppy love, there were numerous activities held throughout the weekend that promoted fundraising for the Humane Society of Pocahontas County.  Currently raising money for their new shelter, this local shelter is in desperate need of donations to provide for homeless pets. Hippie Olympics ($20 a person), Fans Vs Bands Kickball ($30 a person), and the sale of $1 raffle tickets raised over $1000 this year which went toward the building fund.

Hippie Olympics Participants & Winners

Hippie Olympics Participants & Winners

In exchange for camper’s generosity, Camp Barefoot hands out phenomenal prizes. The winner of the Hippie Olympics received:

1st place: (2) CB6 “GOLD” ALL ACCESS package passes for 2012, (2) snowshoe all day ski lift tickets, (1) Chapin Matthews Painting, 2) CB5 stickers, (2) William Walter & Co. CDs, (2) DJ Williams Projekt CDs, (2) Funkuponya stickers

2nd place: (2) CB6 VIP passes for 2012, (1) Kevin Vigil painting, (1) XL Williams Walter & Co t shirt, (2) CB5 stickers

3rd place: (2) CB6 general admission tixs for 2012, (1) Rae Vena Painting(1) William Walter & Co medium t shirt, (2) William Walter & Co. CDs, (2) CB5 stickers

4th place: (1) William Walter & Co. small t shirt, (2) William Walter & Co. CDs, (2) CB5 stickers

Rager...
Precious Rager…

Kickball participants paid $30 and received a backstage laminate (giving you access to the showers backstage and any other adventures one might find back there) and one of the Barefoot 5 Buddha Posters painted by Aaron “AJ” Masthay.  Great stuff if you ask me and even better once you recognize that it’s a small festival and you don’t have TOO much competition against you so the possibility of you winning a prize is large!

Finally, as always, the event is kid and Earth friendly featuring a KidZone and waste reduction programs.  Over the weekend I saw little one in the river being washed or running across the fields with a towering dog and leash in their hands. There was also Car Pooling movement that numerous friends took advantage of.

A nice Hammock City set up by EMO in the audience field for campers to relax and watch the music! The stages are behind me as I take this picture.

Weather

Clothes Line

Clothes Line - simple art piece strung from the tree tops near the third stage. Feel that country vibe yet?

The weather is strange in the sense that it feels as though you run through every season in a matter of hours when the sun goes down.  The days are stunningly bright and perfectly sunny but once the sun goes down, within the hour a brisk intense chill takes over and the dew is close behind leaving everything covered in a thick layer of moistness. For those of you planning on attending in the future I suggest you don’t make the mistake I did and be prepared for these changes in the climate. Tank and bikini tops during the day and hoodies and layers for the night!

Just wanted to say thanks to the vendors last weekend also. Great food, clothing, art, and everything else! So much cool stuff to check out, thanks again! Thanks again for my favorite weekend of the summer! Such a great eclectic group of people, music, and art. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work, and thanks to all the bands for bringing it this weekend! Can’t wait to do it again!!! ~ Sean Reville

I am not going to lie, when it rained the second morning a crew of us went to the closet Hilton hotel one hour away for an adventure, a shower and some bad game show network TV until the sun came out.  This hotel run was in the plans for a friend of ours before we knew the rain would come.  It worked out perfectly as we were able to stock up on things from Walmart for a few vendor friends who needed supplies and campers who threw in a few orders before we left!

Vendor Row Shot From Hill

View from top of the hill near third stage looking down at Vendor Row! You can FEEL the country in this picture 🙂

Specific Highlights of the Weekend

DESISEL MEAL!!

One of our many delicious in-camp meals! Breakfast: Sliced Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon with Potatoes, Scrambled Eggs w/ Red Peppers and Cheese. Tortillas and salsa not shown!

Crazy Arrival & THE HIPPIE DOME! There was lengthy debate as to what might greet us upon our arrival. Hillary Dovel, my traveling partner in crime, and I arrived at 4:30 am on Thursday morning.  We were greeted at the VIP entrance with a big vehicle blocking the only way onto the grounds.  Leave it to me to show up when no one is on duty. I had to snicker at the high level of security. I felt like I was home again. The sense of safety in the South felt good.

We left our car and walked down to the venue which was totally dead except for a few Wooks in the mist that hadn’t gone to sleep yet. It took us some time to figure out which campsite was ours because everyone was asleep and the layout of the grounds was different this year.  We found our WONDERFUL hippie palace that had been erected but where were our Ragers? They COULDN’T be sleeping? We tried peeking in tents but that got weird pretty much before we began and so we just assumed this pimped out spot was our home for the weekend and our friends had waited up long enough.

OUR HIPPIE DOME for the weekend! Thanks to John and Eric Way for thier hard work!

OUR HIPPIE DOME for the weekend! Thanks to John and Eric Way for their hard work! This was the living room and there was a kitchen and dining room off the sides. Epic! Epic! Epic!

Hillary and I choose not to sleep that evening. We spent the hours of 4:30 am to 8:00 am wondering the quiet camp grounds, checking out the space that would be taken over by raging hippies in a matter of hours. It was blissful watching the sun rise over the mountains and casting its golden glow on the green tree tops that create this lovely little dip in the serene The Blue Ridge Mountains. At 8pm, we finally crashed for a few hours.  The music began at noon 🙂

Cuddle Puddles Puffathons ~ Lil B

Kickball: Hillary Dovel has been setting up Kickball games quite literally around the world for our wonderful jam community over the past few years.  My first experience with her Kickball games was Camp Barefoot last year (EPIC!) followed by Jam Cruise Kickball in Jamaica (SERIOUSLY EPIC).  This year, Camp Barefoot Kickball was supposed to take place each morning at dawn (if players were awake) and there was a Fans vs. Bands game scheduled for Friday which ultimately moved to Saturday.

For the Bands Vs Fans game, each Fan put up $30 with the proceeds, totaling $300, going directly towards the Building Fund for the new Humane Society of Pocahontas County Shelter. In return, players received a backstage laminate (accessing you to the showers) for the rest of the weekend and a beautiful Camp Barefoot 5 poster.  I encourage everyone to sign up for kickball next year. It’s so worth it 🙂

Time Machine...

Sadly, this didn't work at the end of the weekend when we all wanted Camp Barefoot to start over!

This year, there is no doubt that the event was disorganized and this wasn’t anyone’s fault but our own.  Being Hillary’s wing lady, I take partial responsibility for literally dropping the ball!  We raged it so hard that we failed to promote kickball properly and have already discussed ways to eliminate this problem next year. Last year we were in the same state of rage but we promoted it much more with megaphones and people not liking us so much in those wee hours of the AM.  We are trying to find a middle ground to this promotion for next year!!!

Disorganization and lack of energy aside, there was one Dawn Kickball game that found campers sliding in the dew shortly after the sun came up one the first night.  As well, a pick-up game on Friday occurred which ultimately took the place of what was meant to be the Bands VS Fans game Saturday. Multiple fans and members of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Segway and The Mantras squared off in a no-rules game of Kickball that had silly hippies giggling from beginning to end.  Well, there is one rule…the only rule: NO BUNTING!

Thanks to all the members of the Bands who offered their time to give us such a great laugh as they kicked our butts. There is something really hilarious and wonderful about this event. I hope it continues on and really becomes an integral part of what makes Camp Barefoot a special experience.

Night Lights

The two main stages at night lit up by the wonderful 81 Productions!

Live Painting:  I have never seen so many live painters in one spot then I did this past weekend.  Jon Blake (Crazyredbeard) (a personal favorite and whose work we just purchased in April at Rock N Roll Resort), Chapin Mathews, Shannon Mordhorst, Jamie Morgan, Amity Dewey (one of my favorite new found artists), G. Scott Queen (who brings an edge and urban flavor to this his art), Kevin Vigil, Rae Vena, Carter Roach, Danny Phillips, and Aaron “AJ” Masthay (creator of this year’s Barefoot gorgeous poster) were all on site and are inspirational to the environment in the moment while painting. It really is amazing and a wonderful treat to buy yourself if you were so inclined and touched by a specific performance.

I think what keeps me painting at shows is the true love I have for the music and for the act of creating art. And what better place to do it then at a concert with a million kids jumping around? I love being able to inspire people with my art; my hopes are that they will go out there and do the same. Everyone is an artist. ~ Jamie Morgan

Live Painting - View of four of the artists!

Live Painting - View of four of the artists!

However, it was entirely too much. Don’t get me wrong, the art work and watching it be created during a live performance is actually very stimulating.  In fact, I suppose if I didn’t have a VIP Pass I might just have set myself up in the front row of the general audience near the painters to watch them create. I suppose, the amount of painters didn’t bother me so much as the location they were set up to paint. Set up in the VIP pit, we were forced to dance around them and try not to fall into them. I don’t even drink and I was falling into them at times when I wasn’t raging the rail.  It was just cumbersome and slightly annoying because you don’t want to harm their work or their toes. This might be the biggest issue I have with the entire festival and it’s not even something I TRULY care about so that just goes to show ya how great this weekend truly is!!

The beginnings of an audience forming for the music start on Thursday! Just look at that stunning blue sky and green mountain backdrop. Perfect weather also!

The Artists Care: Camp Barefoot is the ONLY musical festival I have gone to where members of other bands playing throughout the weekend are set up within the camping grounds mixed in with the fans.  Camp Barefoot is also the ONLY festival where I see members of other bands making their way to the front row to completely rage the rail for their favorite sets.  I watched the bassist for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong immerse himself in the culture of the festival all weekend playing kickball and wandering around engaging new people around their camp grounds. Segway’s manager did the same.

The smaller bands are humble and kind and there as much to learn and digest the music as much as they are to perform for their fans.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE SEEING this type of involvement.   I will always be a fan first and I know how that rail riding feels.  But to see other artists doing the same, that is something special.

Music, Sweet Music

Rage!

Musical Mustache Rage!

Everything at Camp Barefoot screams simplicity and value through it’s small scale.  Barefoot delivers the best music their region has to offer by way of the Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland jam band scene with a few special nationally recognized gems thrown in the mix.

Emphasis is on the reflection of the region vs the country’s staple Jam Bands that generally find their way headlining large-scale festivals. It is for that reason I love attending these small festivals. I love finding new talent and recognizing new musicians who are going to open up on our world.  I love writing about these groups that never get the coverage they deserve.

The lineup for Camp Barefoot is always littered with wonderful, small scale groups who leave a large impression on all their new listeners.  Here are this year’s stand-outs (in my humble opinion).

The Jeff White Band opened up the festival at 12pm Thursday on the main stage. His cover of Paul Simon‘s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” is what greeted me as I awoke in our wonderful campsite. What a lovely, funky way to rise.

Sol Flo

Garry: Guitar and Vocals
Alicia: Guitar and Vocals
Tasha: Stand up Bass, Clarinet, mandolin
David Moo Young: Drums & Percussion

Sol Flo's surprising bassist Tasha Bear

Sol Flo's surprising bassist Tasha Bear

From Ashville, NC, Sol Flo was the first band that made me stop and take notice on Thursday afternoon. Originally an acoustic/folk hip/hip trio, Sol Flo has recently taken on a drummer from Central America named David Moo Young which seems to have rounded out their sound.  This weekend happened to be David’s first music festival.  Gotta love the virgins….

Sol Flo Guitarist Garry

Sol Flo Guitarist Garry

From where I was standing in VIP Camping, they sounded like a young soulful college band with attitude, delivery and some gnarly funky bass. I prefer a bass guitar line for breakfast so I took myself over to the stage to investigate. I was shocked to see a much more mature band.  Siblings Garry and Alicia Bullard provided the positively youthful, soulful vocals and guitar play while Tasha Bear played one mean bass.  She surprised me the most.  With the utmost respect, she kind of reminded me of my mother, only my mother can’t slap a mean bass like Tasha Bear can!

Family Tree:  This rock group reminded me of Guster. Their songs were catchy and fun.

The Judy Chops sisters...

The Judy Chops sisters...

The Judy Chops

Molly Murphy – Vocals, Guitar, Kazoo,
Sally Murphy – Vocals, Tenor Guitar, Kazoo
Jess Bergh – Percussion, Vocals, Guitar
The Reverend Bill Howard – Vocals, Electric Guitar
Terry Newman/ Remy Duguet/ Lorie Lichtenwalner- Bass

Stanton, Virginia’s The Judy Chops was the first group that got me truly excited. Rightly so, as they are talented members from other bands who have come together to purely entertain.  Reminiscent of Django Reinhardt styling one moment and bluegrass hip hop another, The Judy Chops have a refreshing sound and fun concept.  They mash songs together or rather “chop” them up and piece them back together to create an exciting musical experience.

In their song “Sex Monster,” I caught at least 15 songs beginning with Bloodhound Gang‘s “Discovery Channel” to Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance” to the Talking Heads‘ “Psycho Killer”. Then there was a mix of a Michael Franti‘s “Ganja Babe”, Keller William‘s “Boob Job” and a David  Pollard song.  After that insanity, they went into a swing-y Ella Fitzgerald tune. It was all over the map.

I gotta say off the top of my head The Judy Chops and Crucial Element were my new favorite find!! ~ Aslan Deacon

Their set was fun, danceable and full of chopped up pop tunes that had the thin crowd smiling ear to ear. As their set progressed, the crowd grew as the music called to them.  It’s been a long time since something fun and fresh like this has been put in front of me musically.  Their 3-part harmony was smooth amongst the chaos. This band would be killer to hire for a wedding and I mean that in the most positive way! So much fun!

Here is the Sex Monster video.  At the very end of the video Jess announces the name of the song and you can hear me scream my response 🙂 I was energized by Sex Monsters.

Crucial Elements

Joshua Crenshaw – Keyboards
Billy Austin – Lead guitar/vocals
Gregory Haynes – Guitar/vocals
Chuckie Luv – Drums/vocals
Jason Jarrell – Bass
ButtaFly Vazquez – Lead and backing vocals

Crucial Elements: Stage Shot

Crucial Elements: Stage Shot

Crucial Elements:

Crucial Elements: Greg Haynes

Crucial Elements singer ButtaFly

Crucial Elements singer ButtaFly

A member of my camp made friends with the keyboardist’s girlfriend and so we decided to check out this Richmond, Virginia band first thing Saturday morning on the Mustache Stage.  Bringing the best Roots and Reggae vibe heard over the weekend, Crucial Element is made up of five musicians who truly get into their music and message as they sing three and four part harmonies with that Reggae fire.

Their female vocalist, ButtaFly Vazquez, was phenomenal!  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize true talent.  She was absolutely born to sing. Like many bands at Camp Barefoot, Crucial Element handed out CDs, in this instance, Grow, Crucial Element‘s latest CD showing off the newest line-up of the group.

Kings of Belmont

Kings of Belmont

Kings of Belmont

Ross van Brocklin – Vocals, guitar
Max Collins – Vocals, guitar
Aaron Ahlbrandt -Vocals, keys
Chris Coleman – Bass
Sam Cushman – Drums

Kings of Belmont's Drummer

Kings of Belmont's Sam Cushman

I have to be honest with you friends. I have one live recording from this well-known Charlottesville, Virginia band on my computer that was given to me by someone whose musical opinion I value greatly. I attempted three individual times to listen to the show and each time I was turned off by various things.  I just wasn’t connecting with them in the right way.

I have heard such great things so perhaps I had to hear them live? Who knows, but it is specifically for that reason that I made myself go to their set and watch it in its entirety 11pm Thursday night on the Mustache stage. And guess what….I loved them!

They are anything but predictable and that is a great quality to have in a group. High-energy raging rock with some jamming musicality.  This is a great thing considering that the bassist on stage was making his debut with the band. With a solid sound, they bring a friendly feeling that one might vibe on from a house band.

I loved how super appreciative they were. They kept saying, “Thank you! We appreciate you guys coming up here. We know we are up against some pretty heavy hitters [Perpetual Groove]. Not only that, we are up THE HILL!!” ~ Hillary Dovel

Personally, I was stoked that this band was playing because I have been losing my grip on Perpetual Groove since last year.  The highlight of The Belmont set for me was when they broke out with a stellar cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall”. Wookies slowly emerged from the mist in every direction. It was killer. Their energy was unmatched that night and I was so happy that the option against Perpetual Groove was Kings of Belmont.

Click HERE for Kings of Belmont Live @ Camp Barefoot 5

The Mantras

Keith Allen – Guitar/Vocals
Marcus Horth – Guitar/Vocals
Justin Loew – Drums
Justin W. Powell – Keyboards/Vocals
Brian Tyndall – Bass/Vocals
Brent Vaughn – Percussion/Vocals
CAMP BAREFOOT MVP’s BABY!!! Only in backwoods West Virginia can you allow a psychedelic rock band to play till 6:45 in the MORNING!!! That is how Camp Barefoot closed out its wonderful four day hippie fest!  The Mantras are SO much fun!

A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation ~ Thanks WikiPedia

The Mantra's Keith Allen

The Mantra's Keith Allen

Hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina, The Mantras, led by guitarist and vocalist Keith Allen, had two sets over the weekend.  Their high-energy first set was during the day, under the sun.  I don’t own any Mantra Cds and so I had forgotten about the sound of Keith Allen’s voice. It reminds me of Les Claypool in the way that he has an unusual inflection in all the right, quirky ways. Les Claypool, however, uses a microphone to create his sound.  Keith Allen just brings it naturally. His voice may be an “acquired taste” as I heard one fan put it but their sold out shows in their home state prove that it’s a taste that everyone enjoys.

There is also something to be said about a band who takes pride in their light show.  I ADORE a good light show. A good lighting director (like Chris Kuroda or  Jeff Waful) knows how light triggers our emotions and stimulates parts of our brains.  Healing Bear is the name of The Mantra’s light director and he brings that extra layer that every late night show needs.  I heard that he was asked by other bands to help them out as well. Gotta love the family sharing vibe.

I saw Keith backstage the last night of the festival and asked him if he was ready to close this mother down. He said he felt great and had made sure to get a good night sleep because he was planning on bringing the fire.  That he did.

The Mantra's Justin Powell

The Mantra's Justin Powell

Their late night set BEGAN at 4:35am.  Amongst their signature, fun-named songs like the bass-thumping “Magillicuddy” and “Metrognome,” there was a killer cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Terrapin Station.”  I was in Vendor Row when this song was being played and the notes trickled down the hill into my ears. I noticed multiple hippies around me spinning. It was a joyful site to behold. The Mantras also threw down a solid cover of London’s progressive rock band King Crimson‘s “Thela Hun Ginjeet.”  An enthusiastic set to say the least, bassist Brian Tyndall is always fun to watch as he throws around his black hair and it was a pleasure to see the group with their new keyboardist, Justin Powell who filled the slot nicely.

The Mantras are huge in their region and there is no questions as to why. I could go on and on about thier set however The Mantras are one of the few bands who got recorded so I will let you take a listen and decide for yourself! Enjoy!

Click HERE for The Mantras Live @ Camp Barefoot Late Night Set

Set List: Sweaty Monster Pt. 1, Cairo, The Prelude, Ska Face, Man You Rawk!, Dr. Ssanasinod, Thela Hun Ginjeet, Jabberwocky, Five Roads, Terrapin Station, Magillicuddy, Metrognome.

Showing that Mantra Love!

Showing that Mantra Love!

Former Champions

Walton – Guitars/Vocals
Wolf – Keys/Vocals
Ashby – Basses/Vocals
Bakes – Drums
Hyman – Sound
DJ Possum – Lighting Design

Former Champions was a pleasant find. Or perhaps it found me. My best friend from high school is best friends with the drummer’s wife.  Did ya get all that? Needless to say, I had to come give some love to this set and give it more than my usual ADHD infused attention.

This live electronic rock band from Richmond, Virginia took me a few songs to get into but once I got into their groove, I was into them fully.  Getting down in the front row and dancing up the sides. Describing themselves as “a modern, high-energy, musical ensemble focused on expressing ideas and emotions through sound and words,” they did just that. They played well-composed songs with on the spot improvisation, which is fine. That is what all jam bands strive to do. However, this bands goal is to influence and inspire the human spirit with their music and I felt it, I really did. I could tell because of the smile on my face, my happy ears and my grooving booty.

Their jamming and dark Nine Inch Nails’ cover of “Closer” was a highlight of this set for me. I am going to say, one of my top five songs of the weekend, hands down. I remember looking around thinking how happy I was to be dancing around all my best girlfriends and I know the music helped fuel my happiness in that moment.  The song took on so many meaning in that moment.  All bands seek to connect with something and Former Champion’s music reaches out and gets into you.  That is their goal and they succeed in that goal.

Roberts, Walter and Deitch

Robert Walter – Hammond B3 Organ
Eddie Roberts – Guitar
Adam Deitch – Drums

Eddie Roberts playing around with a stuffed weasel that was thrown on stage

Eddie Roberts playing around with a stuffed weasel that was thrown on stage

Holy Hell!!! POWER TRIO OF THE YEAR! Barefoot, like most musical events, is subject to a Radius Clause. Due to nature of the clause, bands can not play inside a certain mileage of a previously booked show so as not to draw audiences away from bigger venues. The contract stipulation is an lucky inconvenience for Barefoot due to the Masontown, West Virginia’s All Good Music Festival and Floyd, Virginia’s FloydFest flanking Barefoot’s dates and location.

Personally, I love these contractual clauses for a very specific reason.  Do you have any idea how many super groups have been created due to this clause.  I could go on for hours but I will just speak on the super group that got plugged this year for Barefoot.

Robert Walters, raging the Hammond....OMG!

Robert Walters, raging the Hammond....OMG!

Eddie Roberts putting on some psychedelic glasses after someone threw them on stage

Eddie Roberts putting on some psychedelic glasses after someone threw them on stage

First, you got the heavy, soulfully jazzy Hammond B3 organist Robert Walter from Robert Walter’s 20th Congress and The Greyboy Allstars. He is one of my top three favorite organists in our Jam scene. For those of you who were there, I am sure you enjoyed his facial expressions as his music flowed from his body. He is HEAVY with his playing teasing rock, jazz, soul, funk and multiple effects creating sounds only his fingers can find.

Next, you have New Yorker Adam Deitch who was simply born to drum.  Keeping bands such as Pretty Lights, Lettuce, Dr. Klaw and BreakSciene on beat, Detich is one of the brightest stars in the drumming community and my homie from NYC. This fierce set reminded me how much I enjoy his talent.

The music and the people made the festival! One of the best parts about Camp Barefoot is every year I feel like something happens (collaboration, sit-in, etc) that is a one of a kind event most likely to never happen again. Perfect example is Walter, Roberts, and Deitch all playing together and THEN Karl Denson running on stage like a kid in a candy store to join in. ~ Cullen Seward

...I liked that it wasn’t a mile walk from main stage to my spot. I left R,W & D to pee and get a beer and was back in like 5 mins! ~ Jeanelle Myers

Finally, you have masterful guitarist Eddie Roberts from The New Mastersounds out of Leeds, England.  His energy and styling is fresh, free and his sense of humor is on point. As a dense Wookie in the  audience threw a bottle on stage to which Roberts exclaimed, “If you are going to throw bottles, please make sure they are full.”  During another point in the performance, both Deitch and Roberts took turns having fun with a campers’ stuffed weasel named “Terrance” that made its way on stage and eventually tied to Robert’s mic by his stuffed tail.

Karl Denson came out to join the party for a song!

Karl Denson came out to join the party for a song!

This superb power trio had only performed together three times before gracing the main stage on the last night of Barefoot.  I was told earlier that they had chosen a collection of rare B-side songs to perform but they had so much fun on stage that they only got through a few. They ended up playing two of Deitch’s songs and a two of Water’s songs.  “Flood in Franklin Park” is a Grant Green song which Robert Walter’s made his own.  “A-1 Sauce” was a song that I didn’t recognize but Deitch killed it.  The entire set was the highlight of the whole weekend. I see massive amounts of live music and it’s not always that I get to see a new group in its earliest creation! You never would have guessed they had only played together three times prior to Barefoot.  The set was pure gold.

Kyle Hollingsworth getting DOWN!!!

Kyle Hollingsworth getting DOWN!!!

Kyle Hollingsworth’s Talking Heads Set

Kyle Hllinsgworth – Keys
Garrett Sayers – Bass
Dave Watts – drums

Kyle Hollingsworth (String Cheese Incident) is one of my favorite keyboardists after Robert Walters and this set was magnificent.  You also can’t go wrong with one of the best rhythm sections in America backing you up with Garret Sayers on bass and Dave Watts on drums. YOWZA! The Kyle Hollingsworth Band also played a regular set of their wonderful music however it was this Talking Heads set that left the lasting impression.

The energy from this set was unmatched as famous songs like “Psycho Killer” and “Crosseyed and Painless” made their way through the fields of dancing and singing campers. I weaved in and out of the crowd for this set and it was interesting to see the age differences recognize and not recognize the songs. Just a superb dance party. In those moments, I was so happy that Kyle was bringing this music to the ears of these musical newbies I found in the audience.  This is the one set that I wanted to find the most as a download. I am hoping it turns up.

John Staten - THE MACHINE!

John Staten - THE MACHINE!

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

Karl Denson – Saxaphone
Chris Littlefield – Trumpet
DJ Williams – Guitar
David Veith – Keyboards
John Staten – Drums
Chris Stillwell – Bass

Karl Denson gets down for his set!

Karl Denson gets down for his set!

A saxophone led band, I mean who doesn’t love that? It’s unique and Karl Denson is the hardest working man in the Jam community. Just go follow him around at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and you tell me different. Setting the bar in funk, Karl Denson came on after Roberts, Walters, and Deitch to complete the funky filled night of smiles and dancing.  Karl Denson can make you smile before even playing a note. He is just walking charisma.

DJ Williams (DJ Williams Projekt) has been asked to play in place of Brian Jordan while Brian takes on new musical challenges. I was so pleased to see DJ Williams being picked for this slot. He filled Brian’s shoes wonderfully and brought his own style of Virginia funk to the position. Drummer John Staten is SICK!!  I mean, what can I keep saying about him? He is simply amazing and stands so grand behind his rig.

If anyone befriended a space ghost or a man with big’ol fake boobies on his chest this weekend, please do get in touch!!! ~ Dave Fullerton

Thank You Camp Barefoot

Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!  As a music lover, a music festival junkie and a critic, I can’t give enough love to this festival.  A festival that is surrounded by as much love and positivity as is put into it.  From the grassroots foundation to the focus on developing bands in the region’s scene, Barefoot is a Diamond in the Rough as far as music, environment and experience goes.  There just isn’t a better place to spend your weekend.  When the dates for next year’s Barefoot surface, you can be sure that I will be pressuring all my people to attend. I hope that this tiny (wink) review will stimulate you to do the same.

Thanks again Camp Barefoot for creating one of the best experiences of the entire summer. ~ August Joseph Heisler IV

Below is a list of media that I collected while putting together this article. Please give these groups a listen.  They are all spirited, high energy, wonderful regional groups from Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland and all deserve your attention. Thank you to everyone who tapes, records and captures the memories of these events.

Tons of live video of CB5

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Big Something

Big Something: “A Simple Vision” & “Josh’s Disco” (Pro Audio)

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Brothers Past

Brothers Past Live at Camp Barefoot on 2011-08-20 (August 20, 2011)

* I heard from a number of people that this was their favorite set of the weekend

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DJ Williams Projekt

DJ Williams Projekt: “This World” live (Pro Audio)

DJ Williams Projekt: “Cake” live 8/19/11 (Pro Audio)

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Down Home Country Band

Downtown County Band | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/18/2011 | 1 of 3

Downtown County Band | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/18/2011 | 2 of 3

Downtown County Band | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/18/2011 | 3 of 3

Future Rock

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 1 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 2 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 3 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 4 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 5 of 6

Future Rock | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 6 of 6

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Jesse Chong Band

Jesse Chong Band: live@ Camp Barefoot (Pro Audio)

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Kyle Hollingsworth

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The New Deal

Camp Barefoot 2011 The New Deal I

Camp Barefoot 2011 The New Deal II

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Papadosio

Papadosio – Method of Control – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Curve – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Find Your Cloud – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Cue – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio – Advocate of Change – Live at Camp Barefoot 5

Papadosio: “Direction” & “All I Knew” live (Pro Audio)

Papadosio: “Frequence” live 8/19/11 (Pro Audio)

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People’s Blues of Richmond

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 1 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | “Nihilist Blues” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 2 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 4 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 5 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | “Motherfucker” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 6 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 7 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 8 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 9 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | “Go Home” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 10 of 11

Peoples Blues of Richmond | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 11 of 11

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Pimps of Joytime

The Pimps of Joytime | “My Gold” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 1 of 4

The Pimps of Joytime | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 2 of 4

The Pimps of Joytime | “Janxta Funk” | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 3 of 4

The Pimps of Joytime | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/19/2011 | 4 of 4

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Perpetual Groove

Perpetual Groove: “Robot Waltz” live 8/18/11 (Pro Audio)

Perpetual Groove: “At the Screen” live 8/18/11 (Pro Audio)

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Segway

Segway | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 1 of 3

Segway | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 2 of 3

Segway | Camp Barefoot 5 | 8/17/2011 | 3 of 3

Segway showing us some heat during their Saturday late night set.

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Zach Deputy

Set I: Savannah, Butter You Up, Troubles, Working With, Shark Fin, Let It Out, Scrambled Eggs

Encore: Twisty Twisty & Headed Home

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Zoogma

Zoogma at Camp Barefoot – M-10

Zoogma Camp Barefoot – New Luxury

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My Behind The Scenes Tour and Overview of The Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland)

Loving Life!

Loving Life!

Gorgeous art on canvas. Quality!

Gorgeous art on canvas. Quality!

I just got back from the 45th year the Montreux Jazz Festival, which took place on the gorgeous Lake Geneva, or Lake Léman as the Swiss like to call it. This amazing musical festival ran from July 1 through the 17th.

Nestled amongst the French populated section of the Swiss Alps in Montreux, Switzerland, this town has one of the most majestic views one will ever have as backdrop for a music festival.

Fun Fact: Lake Geneva was the site for the first measurement of the speed of sound in (fresh) water.

Take all your preconceptions, like comparing it to any festival you have ever attended, and throw them away.  For those thinking it might mirror New Orleans Jazz Festival in the sense of night and day jumps all over New Orleans catching shows, it’s nothing like that.  Try thinking more along the lines of a dignified, classy smallish in scale but giant in reputation, amazing, worldly festival thrown into the middle of The Sound of Music.

A Little Background

The Montreux Jazz Festival is certainly the most well known music festival in the world, at least to musicians.  I would wager that the average musical lover even has a few Live in Montreux cds from an artist or two without even realizing it.

Live at Montreux - I hope you have a few of these albums!

Live at Montreux - I hope you have a few of these albums!

Funky Claude Nobs!

Funky Claude Nobs!

It is all began with Claude “Funky Claude” Nobs, a passionate jazz fan and visionary who founded the festival back in 1967.

This guy was cool, rocking Missoni gear every time I saw him. Come to find out he rocks it almost exclusively. When I lived on Park Avenue, Missoni was the only store on Madison Avenue I cringed by when I took my daily walks home from work.  However, I took the time to take a look at the Missoni catalog that came in our gift bag (more about that later). I have to be honest with you, I dug some of the $1,000 and up items.

A group of youth tossing three teens in the air. Not photoshoped.

A group of youth tossing three teens in the air and they rotated! Not Photoshopped!

Our tour rep told us that Claude started as a cook and networked his way up to somehow create this festival.  That wasn’t a through enough description for me.  How about these facts:

  1. After apprenticing as a cook, Nobs worked in the Tourism Office of Montreux.
  2. He later went to New York, where he met Nesuhi Ertegün, the president of Atlantic Records.
  3. There he met Roberta Flack and invited her to the Rose d’Or de Montreux, one of the most important international festivals in entertainment television
  4. Aretha Franklin made her first visit to Europe thanks to him.
  5. At the age of 31, while he was director of the Tourism Office of Montreux, he organized the first jazz festival

~ Thank you Wikipedia

One of my favorite booths on the walk...

One of my favorite booths on the walk...

Gorgeous flowers were the only thing that stood between you and the water's edge!

Gorgeous flowers were the only thing that stood between me and the water's edge!

Montreux’s inaugural fest was only three days compared to the current three week run and listed almost exclusively jazz musicians.  In the 1970s, the festival began broadening its scope including blues, soul, and rock artists.  Over the years, the festival has grown to include all styles of music from around the world.  This year, I noticed that there was a large Hip-Hop focus at this “Jazz” festival, especially late night.  I would love to speak more with the team who creates the line-up.

It’s fair to say that The Montreux Jazz Festival might be one of the world’s most diverse musical gatherings. Over the four days I was in Montreux, on the streets alone I saw:

  1. Indian group chanting with flute and drum accompaniment
  2. Individual John Mayer types with guitars
  3. Japanese dancing and singing
  4. African Tribal dancing and singing
  5. A Didgeridoo group called DidgEra. (They changed spots all week, I loved them but they need to be nicer to their fans if they want us to give a crap. I got brushed off when asking about the instruments they were playing.)
  6. A solo Kora player
  7. Many versions of American songs remixed with electronic beats coming from the food booths. (Celine Dion even got some love!!)
  8. Hip-Hop dance rage on one of the park stages
  9. Four dudes strapped a barely floating raft to a paddle boat and set up their band on the raft with an electric amp playing garage band music. THAT was amazing. As seen below 🙂
Ballzy and awesome! Note the pirate flag...

Ballzy and awesome! Note the pirate flag...

Try to take into perspective that the festival is very small in ground size even though 220,000+ people are said to have attended.  It’s basically laid out along the edge of Lake Le’man on a straight sidewalk lane pretty much ending at our hotel, Eden Palace Au Lac.  Literally a 15-20 minute walk from end to end.

The Overview

Surf Board Paddlers had the best view from the middle of the Lake

Surf Board Paddlers had the best view from the middle of the Lake

I arrived in Montreux, Switzerland on the 14th of July and was there for four days. Even though it was raining, the place shined through with its gorgeousness. Spotless lawns and sidewalks, clean air, a large gorgeous blue lake in the middle of the most scenic of mountain views one could ever encounter. To have a music festival set in this type of landscape was phenomenal.  As I grow and experience these musical adventures, my definition of phenomenal has changed.  This…was…PHENOMENAL!

The town itself was rather small and you didn’t have to gaze far to see that the town took this festival seriously.  Every window display had a music theme.  There were guitars with pearls draped across them and drumsticks scattered around cupcakes.  Over our time there I would see flower vases lined with sheet music or in the shape of piano keys, cloth stores hung musically inspired cloth and restaurants serving Orchestral Salads and Musical Cheeseburgers.  It was no joke.

Lobby shot of our hotel!

Lobby shot of our hotel!

Loved these guys!

Loved these guys!

While checking in to the Eden Palace Au Lac, to our pleasure we were immediately told we had a room upgrade with a better view!   Then we were told that a representative from The Montreux Jazz Festival had contacted them and asked to be alerted upon our arrival.  We were then told that in ten minutes a representative of the festival would becoming to our hotel to greet us.  Alright, this was pretty dope…

Seriously...this was our view.

Seriously...this was our view.

Our Room with VIew

Our Room with View

Josh and I went to our rooms and melted into our view. It was the most delicious view I had ever experienced.  The grandeur of the mountains were just breathtaking.  The Blue Ridge Mountains where I spent my college years were put into perspective.

The water was so clear and clean.  Very much like a tropical island.  At any point on your walk along the lake, if you felt like swimming, you could jump in from one of the many quaint docks and ladders.  While you swam you were  floating amongst ducks, swans, pigeons, and sea gulls.  Scattered around were sail boats, paddles boats, para-gliders, surf-board paddlers and more.  Every single moment and spot was picture perfect.

View from sidewalk walk around Lake!

View from sidewalk walk around Lake! See the docks to jump in from? Too cute!

Gift Bag Welcome!

Gift Bag Welcome!

I began to unpack before the  phone call came.  Josh went down to meet the representative and came back with a huge bag of goodies. The gift bag contained two Montreux shirts, MAC cosmetics, A Montreux Jazz Festival dual-disc sampler cd, Missioni clothing magazine, and a Switzerland tourist type booklet with fun things to do around the area.

Hip-Hop Dancing on The Park Stage

Hip-Hop Dancing on The Park Stage

Over the next four days, I would experience a world I had never known as this amazing festival opened itself up to me at the same time. I was walking amongst covered Muslims and Native American Indians.  I heard people speaking French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Israeli and more.  This is something I never see/hear at American Festivals.

Fest goers lounging outside the Park stage.

Fest goers lounging outside the Park stage.

During the three week festival you could enjoy piano, voice and air guitar competitions with contestants from Great Britain, Australian, France and more.  There were paying concerts with Carlos Santana (Rock), John Mclaughlin (Fusion), Jimmy Cliff (Reggae), Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi (Southern Rock), B.B. King (Blues), and any other style of music you can imagine. There were also free shows held in various locations along the water each day.

Notice the water on the right as you walk along the side walk of vendor tents.

Notice the water and mountains on the right as you walk along the side walk of vendor tents.

The Music in the Park Stage, located right outside the Auditorium Stravinsky!

The Music in the Park Stage, located right outside the Auditorium Stravinsky!

There were Salsa and Brazilian show boats and a New Orleans Jazz train which all housed performances on board.  There were workshops in Funk, Soul, Bossa Nova, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Electronic and Classical music.  There were teachings about the rise of Hip-Hop, music in film, Slam Poetry performances, and numerous individual artists workshops.  I attended the Larry Graham Workshop and the Marcus Miller Workshop, both of which will be posted in full later next week.

The food booths were unique, diverse and fresh!

The food booths were unique, diverse and fresh!

My first meal at Fest was Paella. So Good!

My first meal at Fest was Paella. So Good!

Some 22 food stalls can be found along the lakeside.  The food was on par with the quality you might find at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the only other festival I’ve attended whose food was on the same level as the music. My first meal was Jambalaya, followed by fondue, crepes, orange and apple portable waffles that tasted like fruit loops, baguettes with amazing cheese and oil toppings, German style potato salads, cheesy scalloped potatoes with ham.  There was Sushi, Thai, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and German and there was even a salad/pasta bar in one of the booths.  The food was never ending and I didn’t get to eat enough of it while I was there.

Tons of exciting activities were around for kids of all ages!

Tons of exciting activities were around for kids of all ages!

The Behind-the-Scene Tour

To be honest, I had forgotten about the Behind the Scenes Tour until two days into the trip and we were on our last night of box seats.  All we had to do was come in between 2pm and 11pm and they would give us a Behind the Scenes Tour.  The tour ended up taking place on our last day of the festival right around sound check. Coincidence? I think not 😉

I was described the difference between Backline (everything behind the artist on stage) and Front Line (the lights and video equipment). With that info under my belt, I was taken into the Instrument Storage Room.

Hanging out with all the instruments - felt good!

Hanging out with all the instruments - felt good!

Due to the small size of Montreux, the frequency of the shows during the festival and the lack of time for each artist to set up, most artist attending the Montreux Jazz Festival use instruments from the stock pile that is housed in the Auditorium Stravinsky.  Of course, people such as Larry Graham and Paul Simon would use their own instrument but their back up bands were asked to use what was already on site.

Instrument galore...

Instrument galore...

Every day the staff prepares the instruments.  The last performer of the night sound checks first.  The selection of instruments was grand.  I was told that the staff who maintain and organize this portion of the festival were the hardest working people on site.  It was their job to make sure that every artist had the instrument they needed.  It was their job to be there multiple hours a day.  First to organize what is needed for the day, then to organize sound check, see the show through to the end of the performance, and then make sure the instruments are put back accordingly.

I immediately recognized the pressure that was on this portion of the staff and at that moment, a grumpy male snapped at Nathan to move out of his way.  Clearly, there was pressure.

Instruments everywhere, of all kinds.

Instruments everywhere, of all kinds.

Because so many artists performed in such a small amount of time on one stage, the last artist performing on a given night has sound check first and their equipment is set up.  Each following artist’s equipment is set up in front of the last.  Then, during performance time, the first act goes on, their items are removed from the line and by the time the last act is performing, only one line of instruments, that last artists instruments, are left on stage.

I was told of a story involving Keith Jarret.  There are only two pianos in the collection: a Steinway and a Yamaha.  Jarret struck one key on the piano provided by the festival and said “NO!” He refused to use the equipment.  The Montreux staff went looking all over Switzerland for the type of piano that Jarret wanted. There was only one located in Switzerland and it was flown in.  The artist struck one key on this new piano and said “NO!”  He ended up using the original piano provided by the festival.

The crates that brought supplies on the train to the Festival

The crates that brought supplies on the train to the Festival

I was escorted to the inner belly of the building.  Here was housed the recycling center.

Fun Fact about the alcohol:  The festival has 20,000 liters of beer imported from Belgium because the tiny Swiss kegs don’t serve the purpose of the large festival.

Kegs ready for the Festival.

Kegs ready for the Festival.

Montreux’s Greening efforts are intense. Their mission is to limit waste creation while at the same time maximizing sorting and recycling. This mission manifests itself through:

  • Returning the site to its original state on a daily basis
  • A team that works 24 hours a day, sorting trash and ensuring the cleanliness of the festival areas
  • An on-site eco-compatible waste plant
  • Eco Points spread across the site, both indoors and outdoors, allowing the public to recycle items including plastic cups, PET, glass, aluminum, paper/cardboard, and items to be incinerated
  • Prevention and information for the public, in partnership with the Summit Foundation, to promote eco-friendly measures

For it’s second year, in addition to financial support, Alpiq is providing practical energy efficiency solutions for the Hospitality Garden, the festival’s VIP area.  With the installation of a photovoltaic system and energy-saving LED lighting, this technology is to be extended in future to the entire festival infrastructure.

Hospitality Area...

Hospitality Area...

Audio Production...

Audio Production...

The audio trailers were also in this area. There were two audio trucks and two video trucks.   The Montreux Jazz Festival has been recording their video in HD since 1991. Back then, HD was seen as ridiculous.  Now Funky Claude just sits back and smiles with his awesome video while everyone begs for it.  The entire festival is recorded live and there has been 5000 hours of tape recorded.  As an artist playing the festival, you have to be OK with being taped. Don’t worry, you get a free copy of your show! Marvin Gaye refused to be taped until he went to Funky Claude’s personal home and saw the quality of the HD video.  Only then did Marvin agree to be taped.

The fest is staffed with 1200 volunteers who are mostly students who make little in wages so many stay with someone they know or travel in from the outer towns.    There were perks for them throughout the festival. Food was a 15% off price, there was a masseuse backstage for cheap whenever they needed to relax, they were allowed to see music days on end for free, sometimes lucky ones, or not lucky, were allowed to work for the artists!

View of the busy sidewalk near the Auditorium...

View of the busy sidewalk near the Auditorium...

The two main Halls, Auditorium Stravinsky and The Miles Davis Hall, used for the evenings shows, were located inside the Convocation Center.

Montreux Convocation Center

Montreux Music & Convention Center

Backstage at Miles Davis Hall: The Miles Davis Hall, located in the Music & Convention Center, was built on as an audition to the Auditorium Stravinsky after the festival got to big for the solo stage and has a capacity of 2,000 people.  Once built, musicians, specifically jazz musicians, wanted to perform in that space rather than the large space.

Front of Miles Davis Hall, attached to Auditorium Stravinsky

Front of Miles Davis Hall, attached to Auditorium Stravinsky

Lights testing at Miles Davis Hall

Lights testing at Miles Davis Hall

I inquired about the Jam sessions that Sean Rickman had mentioned to me when we ran into each other at a red light on the street.   Artists are encouraged to go to the Montreux Cafe after their performances for impromptu jam sessions.   There are certain set concerts to help promote such a thing happening.  Unfortunately, the scene late night in the Montreux Cafe is not one that many artists of Sean’s caliber want to participate in.  Whenever we were near the area late night, the scene was full of young 20-something drunken ragers who were more interested the opposite sex then the music fueling the vibe.

Heading towards backstage...

Heading towards backstage MDH...

Rage!

Rage!

As we approached the backstage entrance to the Hall, I could hear Larry Graham‘s bass lines coming from sound check. We were let in to watch a portion of the sound check and sadly had to leave our camera outside.

I can tell you, standing in front of the stage with just me and Larry Graham and his low end was an absolute thrill.  In that moment I felt very special. I knew I was in a special moment, experiencing a very special thing. I couldn’t help but think about the people who had gotten me to this point. Thank you to my parents, the Sloanes and Josh! I wasn’t taking any of it for granted.

Larry Graham was on stage with his wife checking things out. His wife and he were sporting matching jerseys with #1 and #2 on the back. Josh, myself, Nathan and Helen watched for about 15 minutes. Taking it all in…

Auditorium Stravinsky

Auditorium Stravinsky

Auditorium Stravinsky this way...

Auditorium Stravinsky this way...

Backstage at Auditorium Stravinsky – We headed through a few corridors and up or down some stairs to end up in the Auditorium Stravinsky, situated in the Music & Convention Center.  The interior is completely paneled with cherry wood and has an audience capacity of 1800 seated and 3500 standing,

We immediately went backstage and were walking amongst the orchestra that would be backing Deep Purple that evening.  There was a red carpet on the floor which I found out led to the stage. How cute is that?  A red carpet to the stage!!

Lounge outside Auditorium Stravinsky inner room for drinkers, etc.

Lounge outside Auditorium Stravinsky inner room for drinkers, etc.

To the left of the red carpet was Claude’s dressing room and interestingly enough, Quincey’s Jones’, who stays all three weeks each year.  When our rep explained to us that her first job had been serving artists relations, Josh asked her which artist had been the most difficult.  Prince became the topic of discussion now as she spoke of going all over Montreux with Prince’s makeup artist looking for the correct wig and he apparently has a very impressive makeup collection.

Leaving the tour, this is the entrance to Stravinsky Area.

Leaving the tour, this is the entrance to Stravinsky Area.Deep Purple fans right around the corner.

The tour was informative and exciting.  As we left the building to go do some more shopping, we passed the entrance to the line for the Deep Purple show.  Diehard fans with purple hair and Deep Purple clothing were already lined up for the show that would be taking place in 2 hours.  I knew how they felt.  The music was calling…

Deep Purple fans ready to rage!

Deep Purple fans ready to rage!

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The Rock & Roll Resort kicked off the NY festival season in Kerhonkson, NY on April 1, 2011.  It was my birthday weekend and I raged my face off.  I covered this fun-filled weekend for Music Marauders.  If you want the in-depth overview you can read about the music filled weekend here!

I found a few other reviews along the way as well:

I also covered the sets for Royal Family Records to include Lettuce, Sam Kininger Band, Break Science, Chapter 2 and The Nigel Hall Band.  For an in-depth overview of each of these acts, please check out my article for The Royal Family Records website.

I actually met the creator of Music Marauders at Rock The Resort around the same time last year.  We clicked immediately and I have supported his site ever since.  If you haven’t checked out Music Marauders, just go ahead right now and do it!  There is so much info about music from our scene being pumped continuously through the site.

What separates Music Marauders from other music news websites is that they don’t place restrictions on their writers.  We are allowed to write in our own voice, evoke emotions and be as opinionated as we like.   The backbone of Music Marauders lies on true music fans who run it out of love and passion for the scene.  They want nothing more then to bring our scene to you, in all it’s music-saturated glory.  They expose the good, the bad and the groovy and it’s a pleasure working with them.

Event though I wrote an overview for Music Marauders, there is some more information that I want to blast out to yall that would have just made the MM article too long.  This isn’t so much an article as a collection of media from the weekend for your enjoyment and perusal.

Who: Rock & Roll Resort

What: Billed on their website as “the ultimate, high-end music destination event.”

When:  April 1st – 3rd 2011

WhereHudson Valley Resort and Spa in Kerhonkson, NY.

Ran ByTeam NorthEast and Wicked Cool Productions

Line UpLettuce Deep Banana BlackoutThe New Riders of the Purple Sage (2 Sets) • Max Creek (2 Sets) • G.F.E. (Granola Funk Express) Eric Krasno & Chapter 2RubblebucketSpiritual Rez The Pimps of JoytimeThe Nigel Hall BandThe BreakfastBreak ScienceCaravan of ThievesSam Kininger BandKung FuJeff BujakMark Mercier ProjectNephrok! AllstarsThe Alchemystics NutritiousSauce Holy Water UndertoeDarian Cunning BandDomino TheoryThe Rev Tor BandThe Tony Lee Thomas BandFever TrainThe Primate Fiasco Lespecial The ProblemaddictsSister Sparrow & The Dirty BirdsSophistafunk CoppertonicKONGNardy BoyI AnbassaSushi Grade PandaThe KingsKevin Crane & Co. • DJ TheoryMichael Greenberg

#15 Heart and Soul at Sauce

This is the piece Josh purchased on site for my birthday present!! Heart, Soul and Sauce: Painted live to Sauce at the Rock N Roll Resort on 04/0/211 in Kerhonkson, New York by Jonathon "CrazyRedBeard" Blake

One of the greatest elements of our scene are the tapers.  Name another scene that has free trade in music the way our Jam Band community does!!  A taper by the name Corey (The Groundhog) was good enough to tape a good number of the best sets that took place over the weekend.  Enjoy!!

DOWNLOADABLE SETS

Friday 4/01:

Saturday 4/02:

Sunday 4/03:

#17 Lettuce

Lettuce: Painted live to Lettuce and the Super Jam at the Rock N Roll Resort on 04/02/11 in Kerhonkson, New York by Jonathon "CrazyRedBeard" Blake

Throughout this media bundle you are seeing wonderful paintings by Jonathon “CrazyRedBeard” Blake.  During music performances, Jonathon sets up his canvas on sides of stages and proceeds to paint what he feels as the musical reaches through him.  Over the course of the Rock & Roll Resort weekend, Jonathon painted numerous canvases with images derived from the feelings evoked from the music he encountered.  He is available for hire for weddings as well as all events that might spark creativity through music, love or spirituality. I most certainly will have him at my wedding when the day finally comes.

Kinds Suds Soap  is a product that I first learned about while on Jam Cruise. Cruisers received them in our gift bags and I have been a fan ever since. Upon entering R&R, laid out across the check-in table was a colorful pile of soap offered to festival goers as a free gift.  The psychedelic wrapper draws the eye immediately and the smell and quality of the product are just as stimulating! I encourage you all to grab a few bars off their website.

Visual stimulation

Visual stimulation performed by Oh My Goddess Entertainment

Music is not the only form of entertainment found at these wonderful festivals.  Those of us who embrace our musical culture know that visual stimulation is just as important as what stimulates our ears.  The lights, the projection screens and the other elements that go into supplementing these musical sets are just as important as the music itself.

For Rock & Roll Resort, Oh My Goddess Entertainment was hired to provide outstanding visual performances through dance to enhance the environment and the stages.  I was able to sit and speak with Michelle Sarah, owner and head choreographer of Oh My Goddess Entertainment, during a brief meal over the weekend.  This kind spirit is also the lead singer of CopperTonic which I will speak of later in this article.

Visual Stimulation!

Visual Stimulation!

Over the weekend, Oh My Goddess Entertainers performed fire dancing outside in the court yard, two aerial silks artists, Kate Brown and Sarah Kaye, performed with Break Science (as seen in the picture above) and…

“…in case that wasn’t enough sexy for the stage, the guys had me bring on my burlesque performer, Donell Wicklund, to do that cabaret style Ohh La La-ness you hopefully didn’t miss 😉  ~ Michelle Sarah “

#14 All The King's Horses

All The King's Horses: Painted live to the New Riders of the Purple Sage at the Rock N Roll Resort on 04/02/11 for the NRPS Brunch by Jonathon "CrazyRedBeard" Blake

Strangers Helping Strangers

Strangers Helping Strangers

Strangers Helping Strangersis a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts and operating throughout the country conducting food drives at concerts and music festivals, and delivering the items collected to a local food bank near the point of collection.  It’s another amazing way of giving back to the communities where these concerts and music festivals take place.

#16 The Theory of Relativity

The Theory of Relativity: Painted live to Kung Fu, Deep Banana Blackout and Break Science at the Rock N Roll Resort on 04/02/11 in Kerhonkson, New York by Jonathon "CrazyRedBeard" Blake

Last Fair Deal glassblowers was on sight as well.  The Last Fair Deal is an artisan vending co-operative. Some of the finest glass artists in New England team up to demonstrate their skills with live glassblowing performances at events over the summer! Setting up shop in the outside courtyard, glass blowing artisans could be seen through the windows as we made our way between the stages.  There was something very cool about this set-up and you were able to purchase things blow only a few hours later once it was dry.  I ended up purchasing numerous pairs of earrings from their booth later in the weekend, greeted warmly and had a fantastic time checking out their intricate pipes and jewelry.

#13 Moving the Elephant

Moving the Elephant: Painted live to Max Creek at the Rock and Roll Resort by Jonathon "CrazyRedBeard" Blake

And finally, I leave you with an excerpt from the Music Marauders Overview. One of the beautiful things about these smaller, regional musical events, is the ability for up and coming musical acts to be recognized, realized and, by music lovers like myself, dissected.  There are a few new acts that need some special recognition.

Caravan of Thieves

Caravan of Thieves

Caravan of Thieves: Fuzz Fuzzman (Deep Banana Blackout), his wife Carrie Sangiovanni and their band mates kicked off the festival Friday afternoon bringing the unique sound of Django Reinhardt to the ears of our community. No one in our scene has even attempted to modernize acoustic gypsy swing, let alone sound so great doing it.  This group is an absolute gem and is delivering this antique sound to our scene with a twist as they cover modern songs amongst their new compositions.

Coppertonic

Coppertonic

Copper Tonic: Looks like we have another female voice to start paying attention to ladies and gentlemen.  For a jamming scene cluttered with male musicians and rough voices, this group of musicians fires on all cylinders and is led by vocalist Michelle Sarah, the owner/head choreographers of Oh My Goddess Entertainment.  Her soulful range drew to mind SusanTedeschi and Grace Potter but her dance moves and connection with the audience made her more accessible.  The guitarist, Andy Mowatt, was on fire and was easily my favorite new guitarist who hooked many over the weekend with his talent.

Jeff Bujak!

Jeff Bujak!

Jeff Bujak: Having first experienced Jeff Bujak at last year’s resort, I have watched him closely over the year and grown more fond of him with every performance.  This classically trained keyboardist/producer/composer has no boundaries for his act and is invested in every aspect of it.  From creating and maintaining his own beats, manipulating multiple contraptions with his hands on top of playing, working the lights and smoke effects with his feet and using every inch of his body to create a one-man full on solid electronic performance, Bujak is someone who is going to go far in our scene and is creating something our scene hasn’t seen before.  He is the kind of artist that people find themselves stopping in their dancing tracks to watch perform.  As my fellow Jam Cruise buddy said “I’ve never been interested in watching someone perform electronica, with this guy, I am entranced”

Nephrox! Allstars: With a wild lead singer named Nephtaliem McCrary at the helm, this vocal heavy Funk band is a real treat.  Comprised of some of Boston’s most well-known musicians, such as Aaron Bellamy on bass and renown legend Jeff Lockhart on guitar, they touch on multiple genres always falling back on James Brown for guidance.  And with Amy Bowells (The Sam Kinninger Band) on keyboards, all is right with the world.

Dixie FUNK!

Dixie FUNK!

Primate Fiasco: I was checking out a handmade beaded purse in the lobby when my ear was caught by what sounded like a New Orleans second line with it’s instruments dipped in Texas.  Psychedelic Dixieland or Dixie Funk.  Which ever way you slice it, this was my favorite new act of the weekend.  The could be seen jumping on and off stages throughout the weekend in second line form with a tuba, clarinet, trumpet, and drums all being led by a banjo! Excellent collection of instruments being played by a very happy group of musicians.

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds: The only thing about Arleigh Kincheloe that is small is her figure. Her powerful, seductive vocals, backed by an even better band has placed this group in the forefront of soul/funk bands to be recognized.  Housing a powerhouse horn section, rocking harmonica and shredding guitar, The Dirty Birds are a tight Brooklyn-based group that is plowing it’s way through our scene.

Thank you Hudson Valley Resort and Spa as well as A Wicked Cool Productions for taking a broken musical streak and fixing it.  Thank you for listening to your guests and taking the time to support their concerns and helping grow this musical event for us to enjoy.  You will most certainly be seeing this eager music fan again next year!

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Thank you Cloud 9 Adeventures and MSC Crusies!!

Thank you Cloud 9 Adventures and MSC Cruises!!

There are music festivals and then there is Jam Cruise!!  A musical festival on a cruise ship that travels international seas for 5 to 6 days.  I said it last year and I will say it again now.  IT IS THE GREATEST MUSICAL ADVENTURE anyone can take.

Last year, I was at a complete loss for words.  It was my Virgin Cruise and I was awestruck by the magnitude of what I had just experienced.  Considering this was my second year, I thought the hype would be just a bit dimmer, I figured I would be a little less anxious and calm.  Nope!

Even now, while I could burst at the seams ATTEMPTING to explain these EPIC musical journeys, I find it so hard figuring out where to start. It’s all so unbelievable.  I could tackle these articles by day, or perhaps by subject regarding the atmosphere, the music or the people and so much more. I could write a five page article just on the relationship cultivations that took place this year.  There is just so much!!! And the fact that I only slept about 10-12 hours over the span of 5 days gives me an arsenal of memories to pull from.

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Last year Tinyrager.com didn’t exist as it’s own site.  I wrote for other sites but mainly for my own personal cataloging of memories and would just save the documents on my computer.  So, after last year’s Jam Cruise, I began writing out my adventure and I never made it past the Sail Away Party.

My life took off before I could finish my personal Jam Cruise manifesto.  But I did make an attempt and the end result was all the glorious details about the embarkation line to the ship, the embarkation process, what happened when I explored the boat stumbling across the various venues and checking into my room with the gift bags and what not.  I wrote about everything I could remember up until the Sail Away Party….and then I stopped.

This year, I am going to continue where I left off at the Sail Away Party with a few backtracking steps.  There is no need for me to re-write the exact same information about the boat for this article. If you would like to know about all the things listed above then CLICK HERE!  The article is totally relevant to this one and worth the read and would help cement your mind if you are still debating on getting on the boat.  Jam Cruise staff actually found it last year and blasted it over their page a few times due to the comprehensive nature of the article.  So, enjoy that! It’s got great pictures too!

Now, let’s get this party started!!!

Hello Pretty Ship!! (Photo by Murray)

Hello Pretty Ship (Photo by Murray)

~ Boarding & Pre-Sail Away ~

Within MINUTES, sooooo much can happen to you on Jam Cruise.  This year, I boarded the boat in what felt like 15 minutes but was really a little over/under an hour.  As we get our room keys and begin the walk into the ship, I gaze to my right and Bob Weir is standing next to me. He pulled himself from the line and leans against the wall looking dazed, confused and very skinny. Had he been standing by us the whole time and we been too excited to notice?  He didn’t have an entourage and he looked so frail I guess it’s possible.  As my friends and I realized the magnitude of this moment, we all said “Hello Bob!” and he flashed us a forced smile.  I couldn’t tell if he was happy or sad but I knew how we felt! FREAKING STOKED!!!

A few more feet through the line and we were shuffled into the section where you get your boarding pictures taken. You could purchase the pictures for $30 if you wanted, but whoa that is a lot.  However, in the group behind us, Steve Kimock jumped into the picture.  Now THAT is a $30 moment worth purchasing!!  And there you had another group of people whose minds were just blown and we hadn’t even made it on the boat yet.  Sadly, my hunt for these pictures has come to a dead end. They are gone once you leave the ship.

Before all hell broke loose :) (Photo By Murray)
The NYC Krewe + some before all hell broke loose 🙂 (Photo By Murray)

I was in line with two of my best friends from NYC and we were in different rooms. Once we boarded the boat we separated so I could take my luggage to my room and unpack as fast as possible as not to miss a moment.  I was wearing my Big Sam’s Funky Nation tee-shirt, READY for the Sail Away Party. READY to see my main man Big Sam.  As I step into the mirrored elevator with my luggage, I was covered by this giant shadow of a man who had followed behind me.  And as I turn around, I am embraced by none other than Big Sam. Having reached out to me after he saw one of my reviews of his show, he flashed a smile that melted me as I got a huge hug! What a super duper dude! I will have TONS to say about him later in these articles.

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

Last year I was in the Singles Program.  The layout of my room this year was exactly like last year except that I was now with two friends I had met on my virgin cruise: Aaron and Victoria, a super cute Jam Cruise couple who completely enhanced my journey. Thank you both for being such wonderful roommates.    I entered an empty room and unpacked as fast as I could. When I walked out of my room, I just didn’t know which way to turn. There were SO many people I wanted to see who I hadn’t seen since last year’s journey and whose relationship was cultivated through Facebook over the year as we waited patiently to all be together again.  There was so much I wanted to do all in one moment but I knew where I needed to be.    This year, I had a krewe from NYC on the boat and one of them was a virgin, my dear sweet friend Jessica.  I wanted to see their room and be with her.  I just wanted to watch her take it all in because that must have been what I was like last year with my jaw on the ground.

Jam Cruise is over but we know that time will last forever. From the minute I walked into 10242 there was nothing but LOVE. Jessica who I’vereally never met treated me (and everyone) like I was a saint or angel or something. We constructed the door decor (bonding) and the RAGE was on ! Off to Eric’s to gather the troops and start the search for the bottom of the tequilla bottle. A short time later we were off to the pool deck to find the angel Karen has been talking about: Hillary! ~ Murray Ballz

~ Door Décor Competition ~

Sharon & Said's Decor!!  (Photo by Richmand Images)

Sharon & Said's Decor!! (Photo by Richmand Images)

As I entered their room, the faces looking at me were already more shiny and sparkly then when we had left in line.  The Jam Cruise blood was flowing through their veins. Their room was bigger with a balcony.  It’s always good for SOMEONE in your rage krewe to have a balcony! They had taken out all the makings for their door décor and were attempting to assemble it.  Their concept was beautiful.  Using pictures of multiple artists and groups that inspired them, along with artists that couldn’t make it on the boat as well as pictures of allllllll our friends and families who couldn’t make it on the boat, we were to create a collage covering the door and then we placed a mirror in the middle.  On the mirror’s top it read: “We are all on board together.”  On the mirror’s bottom: “And so are you!” So, that when you look into the mirror, everyone is together, connected somehow on board together.  I loved it!

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

(Photo by Murray)

(Photo by Murray)

We spent a few hours cutting pictures, tapping things.  The rest of our NY posse rolling through the room to say Hi and get the best hugs in the world.  This also began the utilization of the deck for party breaks which, as time passed, began making it hard for us to focus and use tape correctly HAHAHA!!  The mirror began messing with my head; Rob couldn’t roll a piece of tape to save his life! It was awesome! Oh, you should have seen it.

During this time, the magic of the boat presented itself to us with the introduction of Rob and Jess’s neighbors.  When we ran out of tape, they came right in for the rescue. When we needed writing done for the mirror, they were right there with a solution and Maker’s Mark on the rocks. No matter what you want, you get what you NEED on Jam Cruise! From masking tape to enlightenment.

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

The final product was perfect. A door COVERED with people and musicians we love that couldn’t be on the boat with us, yet they were, even if it was only in this small way.  Throughout the week, any number of our NYC posse could be found sitting on the floor starting at our door. Staring at our loved ones, staring at Jerry and Janis.  Personally, I was found passed out with my hand on the picture of myself and my boyfriend on the first night and was guided back to bed for what would be the only night I would sleep in my cabin!!!

And in terms of what door enhanced my JC experience the most??   Door number #9211.  This door was covered in 3D pictures from last year’s Jam Cruise.  There were numerous 3D glasses attached to the wall by string so you could see the pictures.  It just got cooler every time I saw it. And at one point, I didn’t even NEED the glasses to see it in 3D.  So, anyway, TINYRAGER award to Room #9211 for making us go OUT of our way at least 2 times a day to check out your door!

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Once we finished the door we  realized that we missed the forum party on the pool deck.  They had gathered to give Sharon R. a proper Happy Birthday.  I am so sorry I missed this Sharon!  Love you! And now…it was time for the Sail Away Party!!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

~ Big Sam’s Funky Nation / Sail Away Party ~ Pool Deck ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The Sail Away Party is phenomenal and truly defines the rest of the voyage.  Julie McCoy, the ship’s activities coordinator/manager/queen bee, comes on to the stage.  Free champagne is distributed amongst the cruisers lining the pool deck and The Captain and Julie McCoy toast us off on our journey.  Then the horns blow and you now know…the party has OFFICIALLY begun. As well, Sweet Water Brewery gives out free beer at during this set, wonderful news for the alcohol drinkers, if you like their flavors!

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

I walked to the front row with my friends, toasted, and then stepped away for a moment alone. I was alone on the top level of the Pool deck last year for the beginning of Trombone Shorty’s Sail Away Party and I wanted to be in the similar location and just be alone, connecting with the ship, for a few moments.  If you read my post from last year, you know the turmoil I was in before I boarded this magical vessel that changed my world.  So, I walked up to my sacred spot, snapped a picture of the amazing sight I was staring at and took one giant breath. Upon exhaling that breath came SO MANY tears, I almost collapsed.  The flood gates opened upon the realization that I was back. I was back in this music world; this musical WONDERLAND that completely CHANGED MY LIFE! And this year was going to be SO different than last year.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Raging Audience Shot from Stage ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

After letting the tears flow for 2 songs, I gathered myself, with the help of a few people around me, and went back down to the front row, puffy faced and all smiles.  For those of you who don’t know much about the boat or who are not large into the music scene, the front row is where it’s at.  I was greeted into the front row where all the best people reside in most musical scenes, let alone Jam Cruise. But I suppose I need to talk about music here at some point right?  Wasn’t this a music festival on a ship?

THE FUNKY NATION:

Big Sam– Trombone
Danny Abel – Guitar
Eric Vogel – Bass
Drummer Boy Milk Williams – Drums
Da Phessah Drew Baham – Vocal/Trumpet

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

I have seen Big Sam numerous times throughout the year. I was worried that his Sail Away party would be the same formulaic shows that I had seen him perform over the year.  But that wasn’t the case.  Where there was a similar flow to it all, Big Sam covered some great songs, added some new dance moves…they just brought us a new show and the audience ate it right up.

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

During the fourth song, the ship’s debarking horn blew, the pool deck erupted with cheers and we started moving.   Immediately, the heavy hitters started joining the party.  If nothing else, Jam Cruise is about the various musical combination of artists you can find  performing on the boat. You NEVER know who is going to sit in with whom.  In this case, Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) joined Big Sam for “Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight” and Fred Wesley (JB Horns) followed for “See Me Dance”.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Top of Pool Deck Perspective ~

Now, The Funky Nation is know for their ability to rage cover songs as well as create new edgy music. Throughout the set he blew some heat into Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy”, The Black Crowes/Otis Redding‘s “Hard To Handle”  and their final song of the set was a mash up of Cee Lo Green‘s “Fuck You” and Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Religion”.  This moment was special for me because when the song first came out, Josh and I literally blasted that Cee Lo Green song for a month straight every morning while getting ready for work.  The song is hilarious and the video is even more so.  In this moment, I looked around the pool deck and saw people kinda staring blankly.  Except for a few people, they didn’t recognize the song.  The entire set lived up to it’s expectations.  It was high energy, full of flare and raging rock funk.

Set List:

01. Intro
02. ?? (jam/instrumental)
03. Feelin’
04. King of the Party
05. ?? (instrumental)
06. Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight
07. See Me Dance
08. Big Ole Booty
09. Hard to Handle
10. Do Watcha Wanna > Everybody Needs Someone to Love > You Are My Sunshine tease > ??
11. Dance Floor
12. Up In Here >
13. jam >
14. ?? >
15. Crazy > Get Low >
16. band intros/banter >
17. Fuck You > Bad Romance tease

Download Big Sam’s Funky Nation Set

At this point we had half an hour until any music started. Being that this was the first night, I can’t believe they had lulls but this year’s scheduling seemed to be staggered differently so whatever. Gave us time to debate!  The options were:

1) Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children on the Pool Deck (9:30pm-11:30pm)

2) Greensky Bluegrass in the Zebra Bar (9:15pm-10:45pm)

3) Robert Randolph and the Family Band in Teatro Carlos Felice (9pm-11pm)

Already, my heart was racing with the fact that I knew I would be missing things I didn’t want to miss.  This year, I knew I would be spending a significant amount of time the first few days cultivating relationships and so I made a point to schedule the music I loved but also plan to hang out where a large percentage of my Jamily might be.

Most of the performers have two sets over the course of the week so I was ok with missing things here and there and catching them later.  In general, the inner turmoil for me over what music to see is the most stress I feel on that ship.

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

I took off for Robert Randolph and the Family Band, riding on a cloud.  When I got there, the theater greeted me with all its purple and gold majesty.  This is my favorite venue on the ship. Again, you can learn about the ship from last year’s posts.  But I will tell ya that the purple and gold colors are beautiful and remind me of my college, there are two levels to rage on, the elevated steps in front of the stage are perfect for our drinks, extra costume accessories like boas, hats and what not.  The stairs are also rounded and this allows for a much larger front row throwdown.

I got to the theater and no one was really even in there and the roadies were still setting up.  Speaking of cultivating relationships, I met a lovely twin set named Cindy and Mindy, who inevitably raged the front row with the best of us the whole cruise. Rage on ragers. Big hugs to you both!

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

~ Robert Randolph and the  Family Band ~ Theatro Carlo Felice ~

Robert Randolph – Pedal Steel, Guitar and Vocals

The Family Band:

Danyel Morgan – Bass and Vocals
Marcus Randolph – Drummer
Adam Smirnoff – Rhythm Guitar
Lenesha Randolph -Vocals
Brett Haas – Keyboards and Guitar

Special Geusts:

Eric Krasno – Guitar
Big Sam – Trombone
Ivan Neville – Keys
Taylor Hicks -Vocals & Harmonica

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As I sat there, making new friends, old ones started arriving.  Said and Sharon’s smiling face made their way to our side of the theater. (Thanks to Said for the RR&TFB set-list below).  Then one by one the Jamily krewe gathered until we were 25+ deep on the left side of the stage. Oh, how I just want to talk about all these lovely people, not the music. It’s insane.  But that is not the purpose of this so…

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Having seen Robert Randolph and the Family Band a few times this year and being disappointed in the performances, I was PRAYING that he would kick it back to his roots and focus on older songs, perhaps melt our faces without playing Lady Gaga tunes to fill time.  Perhaps give us some great covers; perhaps show us some great collaborations.  And that is exactly what they did.

Blasting off his set with “Ted’s Jam,” he shot me right back to ten years ago when I first found Robert and Danyel at Star Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The newest addition to the clan, Lenesha Randolph, was on stage, backing up her brother.  I am still weary on her talent.  I won’t say anymore regarding that topic.

“The March” is one of my all time favorites Robert debuted years ago.  I was right up front with my musical posse and when Robert got off his seat and started dancing for us, we all knew the dance and joined along.  He asked us to teach those around us but he was doing a fine job wiggling his body for us….mmmmmm. And Danyel‘s bass thumped away. I am absolutely IN LOVE with Danyel and his voice.   Always have been!

A re-worked “Thriller” cover saw Eric Krasno and Big Sam join the stage and over the remainder of the set Ivan Neville and American Idol’s Taylor Hicks, yup Taylor Hicks, also joined the stage.


“Tears of Joy” brought the blues to an otherwise raging set and my faith in Robert Randolph and his family, however swaying it may have been hours earlier, was restored and his #1 fan was back on top, in the front row, loosing her mind!

Set List:

01. Ted’s Jam
02. ?
03. ?
04. The March
05. ?
06. If I Had My Way
07. Deliver Me
08. I Miss My Girlfriend (Her Name is Molly)
09. Thriller Jam
10. I Need More Love
11. Voodoo Chile
12. Tears of Joy
13. Traveling Shoes

Download Robert Randolph and the Family Band Theater Set

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As soon as set ended, I hightailed it to the Pool Deck to check out the remainder of Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children.  I ended up on the upper deck looking down at the sea of Dead heads who were staring doe-eyed at Bobby and Co. The wind was blowing warmly over my body as I realized we were so far from land now I couldn’t see lights.

I gave Bobby as much time as I could before wanting to leave.  Personally, I thought it sounded pretty slow and that is not a bad thing, I just needed something more to move to.  I wish I could recall the song that was playing.  Even though it was tough for me to look at Bobby, as all I could imagine was the scene from Indiana Jones where the guy takes the sip from the wrong chalice and his skin melts off,  it appeared that he was giving the people what they wanted.  Smiles abounded on the faces below me and I just knew that Jerry was smiling down upon the ship.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

So, after Robert Randolph‘s set, we were faced with more difficult choices.

1) Pimps of Joytime in the Zebra Bar (11:00pm-1:00am)

2) Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on the Pool Deck (12:30am-3:00am)

  • Sadly, I can not find a link for this set. If anyone finds one, please pass it along to me.

3) Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene in the Teatro Carlos Felice (11:45pm-1:15am)

Having just seen Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe numerous time over the past year and just a few days earlier as the Phish After Party on New Years Eve, I decided to skip KDTU on the Pool Deck and focus on the Anders Osborne set.

Performing on same stage as Robert Randolph, the Anders set was going to take a little time to prepare as they transferred over the equipment.  I used this time to gather my thoughts, fill up my water bottle and grab a bite to eat. I don’t want to go into the food just yet…too stressful.

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

~ Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene ~ Teatro Carlo Felice ~

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

I had missed Anders Osbourne the few times he made his way through NYC the past year and having seen him in the past, I KNEW he would rip up whatever stage he was on with his rouge, wild, rockin’ New Orleans vibe.  That is exactly what I was looking for at this time in the evening.

His back up band was a force to be reckoned with.  Joining  the stage this set was:

Anders Osbourne – Guitar and Vocals
Robert Walter – B3 Organ
Carl Dufrene – Bass
Stanton Moore -Drums

Special Guests:

Scott Metzger – Guitar
Will Bernard – Guitar
Skerik – Saxaphone

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

This set was complete fire!!!  I mean absolutely out of control, rock-laced guitar shredding jams, backed by outrageous solos by Skerik and added guitar layers by way of Scott Metzger and Will Bernard.  At the time, it was my favorite set of the night and in hindsight, it is in my top five sets of the week.  The inclusion of Skerik‘s hyper-driven saxophone layered upon Anders songs was, well……take a look at this….seriously.

Set List:

1. Tuning
2. Love Is Taking Its Toll
3. Echoes Of My Sins
4. Darkness At The Bottom
5. Burning On The Inside
6. Got Your Heart
7. Me Donkey Want Water

Download Anders Osborne Theater Set

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

And here we were back having to make decisions!!

1) Papadosio in the Zebra Bar (1:45am-3:15am)

Set List:
1. Utopiate
2. Unparalyzer
3. Magreenery
4. Bionic Man
5. All I Knew
6. Method Of Control
7. Cue
8. Polygons
9. Eyes Have Eyes

2) Stockholm Syndrome in the Teatro Carlos Felice (2:00am-4:00am)

3) Nutritious in the Disco (2:00am-6:00am)

4) AND THE LAST CHOICE!!!!  The Jam Room: Hosted by Tony Hall (12:00am – 6:00am)

Now we come to the greatest and grandest part of the Jam Cruise experience. THE JAM ROOM!! Each night, a different musician (generally a guitar player, keys player or bass player) hosts The Jam Room.  The Jam Room is a entertainment space located in the rear of the ship where these musicians play host to who ever wants to join them on stage.  Sometimes, there are pre-arranged gatherings or sometimes a musician just jumps up for a song and adds to the insanity.  Always, there are free jams, group rages and it’s all off the cuff improvisational jamming.

~ The Jam Room with Host Tony Hall ~

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight’s Jam Room host was Tony Hall, New Orlean’s Dumpstaphunk bass player. Tony is one of the most charismatic musicians around.  He is always invested in engaging with his audiences, making faces, pulling girls on stage, dancing with the audience.  He is one of my favorites in that aspect.

Sadly there is not a lot of footage from the Jam Room to show you.  Many Cruisers had already gone to bed to save their strength while others were raging so hard they couldn’t manipulate a camera or video device to save their life.  But I can tell you that it was a RIPPING good Jam Room.

It was an epic moment lost on the winds of the ocean and remembered only by those that were present… ~ Ananda Atmore

Tony Hall was backed by many of his bands mates from Dumpstaphunk to include:

Ivan Neville – Keys
Nick Daniels III – Bass
Raymond Weber – Drums
Ian Neville – Guitar

Other Guests:

Big Sam – Trombone
Nigel Hall (Lettuce/SCFJ)- Keys
Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule/Stockholm Syndrome) – Keys
Eric Krasno (Lettuce) – Guitar
Adam Deitch (Lettuce) – Drums
Ron Johnson (SCFJ) – Bass
Zach Deputy – Guitar
Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys) – Pedal Steel Guitar

There was so much happening on stage there is no way to recall it all.  One of the last songs played in the jam room that night was Jimi Hendrix‘s “Hey Joe”. The Lee BoysRoosevelt Collier jumped up on stage and confused the hell out of us as he was only a passenger on the ship thus year!  SO FUN when things like that happen.  You know it’s a good time when other musicians pay to get on board.

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight would be the only night that I came back to my room to sleep.  The theme one must know and get to embrace on Jam Cruise is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint!” It appeared that everyone had taken that creed to heart as I wondered around the pool deck wondering where everyone was.  Where were the late night jam sessions and/or drum circles on the pool decks?  Where was Brock Butler playing his acoustic guitar to the people watching the sunrise.I am sure that they were somewhere, I just never stumbled upon them. It was destiny, however, because after raging the Unofficial Pre-Jam Cruise party at the Days Inn Bahia Cabana Beach Resort the night prior, I was exhausted.  I decided to watch the sunrise with my NYC crew and hear how our virgin cruiser Jessica B. had enjoyed her first night.

As I looked over the balcony, lost in the wake of the ship, my friends and I smiled at each other.  We watched the wake of the ship hit the tip of the horizon and we knew there was no turning back. We were together on this epic musical journey and there were so many adventures to be had.  I took myself to bed around 7am but not before touching the faces of all our family and friends that lined the door decor, wishing they were with us.  Sleep was needed as we had a full day at sea tomorrow.  I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us when we final rose again.

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Click here to read: Camp Barefoot 4: Thursday (08.19.10)

Camp Barefoot 4 | August 19-21th, 2010 | Camp Hidden Meadows, Bartow, WVGood Morning Barefoot 4…Oh Wait...

I wish I could say Good Morning but I never went to bed…and for GOOD REASON!!  There are so many great things I would love to write about for Camp Barefoot 4.  It was just such an eventful, wonderful good time.  Even though this was the smallest festival I have attended this year, it was the biggest in terms of adventure and just pure fun.

I was not prepared for the weather on that mountain.  The drop in temperature was quick and fierce Thursday night.  By the time 5am Friday morning had rolled around, I was covered in a sheet of dew and running around the camp site with my new friend Tyson and my buddy Paul, gearing up for Kickball.

A gorgeous stream that passed under a quaint bridge on the gorgeous grounds
A gorgeous stream, passing under a quaint bridge on the gorgeous grounds

DAWN KICKBALL!!..

Team Whiskey vs. Team Spunyun

Three kickball games were supposed to take place over the course f the Barefoot weekend. The first went down Friday morning at DAWN!!  Hillary Dovel, the Queen Bee of Festival Kickball, had organized Kickball the previous year at Camp Barefoot 3 so there was already a following.  Camp Hardcore also made sure to help spread the word Thursday night before everyone passed out.  The teams were to consist of those who had been awake all night vs. those who passed out.  I, of course, wanted to be on the team that stayed awake so I could take Hillary’s team out.

At this point it’s about 6am.  Paul and I have made our way back to the campground and are contemplating passing out, my eyes heavy.  Paul decided to head to his campsite and passes out leaving me as the only member of Camp Hardcore awake.  I refused to sleep because I had missed Jam Cruise Jamaica Kickball by passing out a mere minutes before the game was called back on.  I REFUSED to miss Camp Barefoot Dawn Kickball.  However, I knew this game was a MAYBE situation, depending on when Hillary woke up…was Dawn kickball going to happen?

All of a sudden, eager wookies begin appearing from the mist and shadows of the dew-filled air, filling available seats within Camp Hardcore.  Our resident Camp Clown, Stevie P., pops out of his big red truck with a blow-horn and a smile.  Wookies started whispering on all sides of Hillary’s bed…KICKBALL!!  KICKBALL!! The whisper’s gained momentum.  Hillary emerged from the VW bus and so it began.

The field, in front of the main stage!
The field, in front of the main stage!

Stevie hopped on our friend’s fold-up bike, placed the disco ball helmet on his head and proceed to ride around the festival grounds recruiting.  Hillary and I attempted to wake Paul (that wasn’t happening) and then walked the grounds for our own wave of recruitment. (I was just hoping to be miracled a mimosa at this point and this comes into play later!)

As we wondered the festivals grounds, I heard: “KAREN! Go to bed!”  The lovely owners of Beandawg Artworks, a gorgeous tye-dying company, were awake and beginning their day.  “I don’t know what that means,” I holler back.

View of vendor area from road.

View of vendor area from road.

As Stevie comes flying down the hill towards us, he hits one of the many rocks in the ground and takes a tumble over the handle bars, face planting into the hill as the bike goes flying to the left.  He jumps up, with a huge smile on his face. “Thank god for helmets!” He had done his job as we made our way to the field in front of the stage to find at least 30 wooked-out hippies raging to play.  There was no Awake vs Asleep this time.  Everyone but Hillary seemed to have been awake throughout the night.  So, now it was Team Whiskey vs. Team Spunyun.

Setting up the bases...

Laying out the bases! (Ps: You want her on your team!)

There are no pictures of this fiasco as I was playing the entire time.  Hillary and I were on Team Spunyun and we were getting killed 1 to 6 until one of our members called for a huddle.  “This is serious!  We need something to help us focus.  If you got it, smoke it.”  And as Team Whiskey yelled at us to hurry up, we all commenced with the “TEAM MEETING.”  It was hysterical…and genius…because we came back and beat Team Whiskey 8 to 6.

We have this in blanket form..a gorgeous pattern!
A gorgeous pattern!

I ate breakfast during Barefoot Wade, a Zach Deputy-type with Caribbean flare. Another member of Camp Hardcore made sure to check him out and brought back seashells that B-Wade was handing out.  B-Wade was also handing out Popsicles.  How thoughtful is that…seashells and Popsicles. He made my friend Beau very happy and the ladies in the camp appreciated the gifting of the shells by Beau after the set 🙂

I toyed with the idea of trying to catch some rest for a few hours before checking out Pants for Bears but playing kickball had given me my third wind.  There really is something to playing a quick sporty game to get your blood going.  The sun was shining on us but it was cool out because of the morning dew.  The sun would be taking over in a little under an hour.

Pants For Bears

Ben Geiser – Guitar
Lee Hartman – Bass Guitar
Praveen Chhetri- Guitar
Brad Corallo- Drums
Avery Fary – Percussion, FX, Theremin
Adam Miller – Vocals
Josh Horst – Keyboard, Percussion, Synth

Sadly, I passed out at a pretty crucial time.  I was looking forward to catching a close friend’s band, Pants for Bears.  I tried so hard to make it to their 1pm set but ended up utilizing the hammock for the first time that weekend around 12pm, missing the Pants for Bears set. Happy to report, I had friends who did see the set.   General consensus was “they were jammin’.”  Coming from my friends, who I consider to have great taste in music, that is a huge compliment.  This made me feel worse but I was so happy they were impressed.

LarJar

Larry Alen Jarrell-drums
Jason Jarrell-basses
Dave Klemencic-keys

I missed LarJar and I keep wondering about their name.  There were not many videos of anything from Camp Barefoot 4 but there was a LarJar video so I felt I should include it.

The Mantras

Keith Allen – Guitar/Vocals
Marcus Horth – Guitar/Vocals
Justin Loew – Drums
Brian Tyndall – Bass/Vocals
Brent Vaughn – Percussion/Vocals

I woke up around 4:30 from my “nap”.  I had missed Pants for Bears and was kicking myself.  I made a point to catch everyone else so long as I was awake.   The Mantras, from Greensboro, North Carolina, were playing and I was immediately perked up by their sound.  I grabbed a Veggie Burger from one of the vendors and walked over to the stage.

The Mantras

The Mantras

Keith Allen

Keith Allen

The Mantras!! Now say it again and remember it.  MAN!! I just LOVE being introduced to new music.  I like it even better when I LOVE what I am listening to.  With three guitars on stage, I sometimes got lost in their sound as a whole, not focusing on individual talents as I generally do.  Eventually though, I ended up transfixed on Keith Allen and the fury of his guitar for the most of their set.  Playing a few new songs from their newly released cd, Dharland, The Mantras were tight and full of rock ‘n’ roll-vibin’ jams.   I’ve been listening to them ever since seeing this set.

I don’t want to elaborate on this band any further as I hope to one day (very, very soon) catch them in the NYC or the surrounding areas and write a big fat positive review on their music.  Come to NYC soon Mantras…come to us soon.

Setlist: Improv ->, The Prelude ->, Five Roads, Cross The Divide ->, Abacus ->, Further ->, Boy In The Bubble* ->, Popna, Crowd/Banter, Hobo Ken ->, Song For You -> Barefoot Jam, Funky Jank Patrol**

Notes:
* Boy In The Bubble (Paul Simon)
** w/ Bobby Muncy (Funk Ark) on baritone saxophone and Joe Hererra (Funk Ark) on trumpet

Download: The Mantras Live at Camp Barefoot 4, Bartow, WV on 2010-08-20 (August 20, 2010)

DJ Williams Projekt

DJ Williams Projekt

DJ Williams Projekt

DJ Williams – Guitar & vocals
Gordon Jones – Sax & vocals
Dusty Simmons – Drums
Todd Herrington – Bass
Mark Ingraham – Trumpet & Borine
Joey Ciucci – Keys

DJ Williams Projekt

DJ Williams Projekt

The next band that blew me away was Richmond-based DJ Williams Projekt.  Being that I am from Williamsburg, Virginia, for a moment, while listening to this group, I actually felt I could move back to my hometown because there would be some dope music only 20 minutes away.

The Funky horns of DJ Williams Projeckt

The Funky horns of DJ Williams Projeckt

DJ Williams, a spindly, attractive, studious-lookin’ lead guitar player has the spark of Jimmy Hendrix flowing through him.  Where some guitarist’s are full of flare and movement when they play, DJ Williams was stoic and stood planted in his spot most of the time and the corresponding  sound coming from his guitar might have well been coming from a schizophrenic flipping out all over stage.  I mean, just chaos and raging guitar sounds out of someone who barely moved.  And then when he did, his smile was so wide, his legs were trying to break free like his fingers.

DJ Williams Projekt

DJ Williams Projekt

Todd Herrington

Todd Herrington

Todd Herrington, of Modern Groove Syndicate, was phenomenal, thumping his bass over every beat the drums threw down.  I looked over to my left and the Pants for Bears bassist was just staring with his jaw open.  He later would dance over to me exclaiming: “That bassist is amazing” and mention something about hoping being on his level one day.

My focus kept shifting between DJ Williams and Todd Herrington.  Wow.  What a duo.  What a great group. What a pleasure to be seeing some sick ass funky music come from my old hood.  Now, I could only pray they would make it to my new hood, NYC.

Enjoy this clip of a fabulous wookie raging to the DJ Williams Projekt:

Poor shot but you get the point...

On occasion, I take a step back from the rail... 🙂

FunkUpOnYa

Doug Carter – Guitar
Carl Blackwell – Drums
Brian Werner – Keys
Leo Kishore – Bass

Special Guest: Keith Allen (The Mantras)

We picked up a friend from the Beandawg Artworks tent and made our way up the hill to the SKU tent for FunkUpOnYa.  My friend, AB, had boasted heavily about this group and so we weren’t to miss them.

FunkUpOnYa (SKU Stage)

FunkUpOnYa (SKU Stage)

Calling themselves “Certified Organic Funk”, I was hoping they lived up to their self-proclaimed branding and they certainly did. This band brought a little maturity to the festival as they appeared to be seasoned musicians. I wondered why they were raging the side stage but found out they had a main stage booking tomorrow.  Bassist Leo Kishore stood out heavily.  Keys player Brian Werner appeared to be utilizing some interesting techniques to make his sound, smacking the keys as fast as lighting like he was swatting a fly.

FunkUpOnYa

FunkUpOnYa

As I stood there dancing, they started playing a familiar tune by Soulive.  They were covering 76.  Could it be that I couldn’t get away from Soulive even traveling miles away from them?  It was true. In my frame of mind, I was completely confused for a minute trying to place the song.  I look at my friend and he confirms my confused look with a simple ” Yes!” Well, this made me love FunkUpOnYa even more as Soulive can do no wrong in this New Yorkers book.  They also covered Stanton Moore’s Blues for Ben at some point.  It was raging.

FunkUpOnYa Debut Cd

FunkUpOnYa Debut Cd

A few songs in and I noticed a gentleman in front who turned around and smiled.  He went back to dancing and then did it again.  After the third time, he leaned over and said: “You like this?” I responded, “Most certainly do.”  And with that he handed me FunkUpOnYa self-titled debut cd, still in its shrink wrap.   They were wonderful and I just popped in the cd as I write this 🙂

It was also during this set that Instant Mustache reps handed out various mustaches on a convenient little stick.  Seriously, it was fun for all ages.  And with the crowd that was raging the stages late night, it provided countless hours of manipulation of faces, voices and attitudes when the staches got into anyone’s hands.  Excellent idea 🙂

Keith Allen joins FunkUpOnYa stage

Keith Allen joins FunkUpOnYa stage

Keith Allen of Mantras

Keith Allen of Mantras

Finally, one of the best parts of the set was when FunkUpOnYa invited up Mantras guitar player, Keith Allen.  Wow.  Talk about rippin’.  The banter between artists and their respective instrument on the stage at during those few songs was palpable.  Keith, clearly having a great time with his friends as we all watched in on the art taking place before us.

Sadly, but for a positive reason, I was playing in the Charity Kickball game during FunkUpOnYa‘s main stage set the following day.  I shall leave you with a video from that set….they rage 🙂

The Kyle Hollingsworth Band

The Kyle Hollingsworth Band

Kyle Hollingsworth Band

Kyle Hollingsworth Keys & Organ
Garret Sayers – Bass
Dave Watts – Drums
Dan Schwindt – Guitar

Special Guests:

Kris Jensen (Kung Fu)
Jordan Giangreco (The Breakfast)
Cory Potrafka (Jackass Flats)

Another RIPPIN SET!!!  This time with a few familiar faces from Jam Cruise. With Garret Sayers and Dave Watts of the Motet backing Kyle Hollingsworth of The String Cheese Incident, we were bound for some dancing action and a taste of the West Coast.

Kyle Hollingsworth Band

Kyle Hollingsworth Band

Kyle Hollingsworth‘s slick voice flowed nicely behind his phenomenal bass influx of Garret Sayers. SO GOOD!  Covering Led Zeppelin and Guns ‘N Roses, the set was full of crushing solos and jamming fun and smiles from the entire band. By the end of their set, the stage was filled with members of various bands who were all having a blast.

The Kyle Hollingsworth band + some :)

The Kyle Hollingsworth Band + some 🙂

Kyle and Me!!

Kyle and Me!!

There was definitely an energy at Camp Barefoot that I hadn’t experienced in years and again I was happy to be back in the mountains, reliving my college days with some of my favorite people.  I ended the set sitting down on the side stage backstage.   Lack of sleep, playing sports and dancing all day and night was starting to take its toll.

After their set, the band exited the stage and they were bombard by genuine fans from other bands.  I made eye contact with Garrett and just said “Jam Cruise!,” with my fist in the air.  His eyes perked up immediately and he steered my direction, repeating “Jam Cruise!” with a smile.  Chatting it up with Garrett was a highlight of my weekend in terms of backstage entry.

Setlist: Bam!, Too Young, Yo Se, Way That It Goes, All Inside ->, Kashmir ->, Boo Boo’s Pik-a-nik ->, Sweet Child O’ Mine ->, Boo Boo’s (end), Piece Of Mine, Let’s Go Outside, Seventh Step, Naive Melody, Peregrino

Encore: ‘Round In Circles

Download: Kyle Hollingsworth Band Live at Camp Barefoot 4, Bartow, WV on 2010-08-20

View of Kung Fu from my side stage seat

View of Kung Fu from my side stage seat

Kung Fu

Todd Stoops (Keyboards)
Adrian Tramontano (Drums)
Kris Jensen (Sax)
Dave Livolsi (Bass)
Tim Palmieri (Guitar)

Special Guests: Greg Stukey and Chris Michetti (RAQ) and Chris DeAngelis (The Breakfast)

I had just seen the Kung Fu set at Gathering of the Vibes and had left the stage more then impressed by their individual talents but not loving them when they came together as a group.  I must now equate this to the fact that there was so much insanely good music at GOTV that I was judging them too harshly against the bigger, better bands.  I also didn’t spend enough time to truly form any type of opinion of them as a group.  I knew half of them from other projects.  Anyway, that had to be the case, because tonight…the stage was on fire.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu

THIS BAND IS ONLY 9 MONTHS OLD!!  Yet, they are regional super group consisting of members of RAQ and The Breakfast, making Kung Fu just a rad bunch of talented musicians having a raging good time.  And looking good doing it. Good ‘Ol Boys club from the Northeast bringing it to the South.

This set was one of the hottest sets of the weekend. They brought the funk immediately with every single note.  Kris Jensen on Sax was  and Todd Stoops slippin into space with the keys.  You can’t help but move.  They scatter at times into spacey jams and integrate numerous styles of music into a single song.  Todd Stoops reminded me of at times.  I was happy to not hear as much singing in this  project. It was consistently jamming with so many layers going on.  Loved me some Dave Livolsi, those fast grimey fingers of funk.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu

For the encore, Chris Machetti was invited to join the stage along with the musical antics that took place on the stage at this point can only be seen.  I seem to be the only one at the festival who caught this action on video.  The sound is terrible so turn your speakers down a little bit but DEFNITELY hit play!!!

Setlist: “What is up BIG UP?, Actual Proof@, Bopcorn%, Chakrabarty Overdrive#, Lilliputians#, Teen Town$, Stratus*

notes:
@ – Herbie Hancock
% – Palmieri
# – Stoops
$ – Jaco Pastorius
* – Billy Cobham; with Greg Stukey and Chris Michetti (Raq) and Chris DeAngelis (The Breakfast)

Download: Kung Fu Live at Camp Barefoot 4, Bartow WV on 2010-08-20 (August 20, 2010)

Particle

Tim Palmieri – Guitar
Steve Molitz – Keys
Darren Pujalet – Drums
Eric Gould – Bass

Particle.  They had struck me hot and cold over the years.  I was glued to my side stage seat for this set.  I was completey being taken over by my exhaustion.  Afte rI dozed off a few songs in, I made a deal with myself that after I passed out in my chair for the third time , I would take myself “home.”

It must be mentioned, the kindness of my fellow southerners.  Having made friends with the VIP guard earlier in the night, he leaned over next to me as we watched particle, and said, “Lil lady,  I see you dozin off.  Don’t you frete. I won’t move until you wake up.  You go head an feel safe nah.”  I mean, just such a nice crew.

Sitting in for Ben Combe was Tim Palmieri.  Sadly, Ben had to remove himself from the scene for a while to deal with personal matters.  However, lucky for us, Tim Palmieri brought an entirely new layer to the group.  Having heard them for years, having gotten sick of them and genreally not all that interested to stay up any longer, I rallied in my side stage seat more then half way through.  I remember it being amazing but I was falling asleep where I sat most of the set.  I am stubborn and really don’t like leaving any type of live music until it’s over.  I leave you with this video by someone who had more energy then me.

Goodnight…Tonight I Can Say it

I immediately looked into many of the days band’s scheduling when I got back to NYC and noticed they hardly ever, if at all, come through.  This revelation has me feeling happy and sad at the same time.  Sad because who knows when I will see these raging musical acts again.  And happy in the sense that in only a matter of hours, Camp Barefoot had introduced me to and had me floored by some phenomenal musicians and groups that are specific to their region.  For the fisrt time in years, I had more musical faith in my home state and it’s neighboring areas.

I was looking forward to what was in store next. Day II down and one more to go.  Another dawn kickball was going to be happening soon.  I saw members of Team Whiskey as  iwalked home and we all looked in bad shape…perfect kickball material 🙂

Stay tuned for Camp Barefoot 4: Saturday (08.21.10)

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Camp Barefoot 4 | August 19-21th, 2010 | Camp Hidden Meadows, Bartow, WVRemember the name, cause you will be screaming it all weekend long!!!

Welcome to Camp Barefoot 4

Welcome to Camp Barefoot 4

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.

West Virginia Mountains....pretty

West Virginia Mountains....pretty

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.

The beginning stages of Camp Hardcore

The beginning stages of Camp Hardcore (There's my little red tent....)

Let the Barefooting Begin

No BS Brass band practicing...we think...

No BS Brass band practicing...we think...

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 on way to Main Entrance

The Camel Trailer on way to Main Entrance

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!!

Camel Snus

Camel Snus

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!”).

Camel Snus - ewww

Camel Snus - ewww

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.

Gorgeous festival campgrounds

The Main Gate with the Courtyard Stage in white.

Please, my fellow ragers...

Please, my fellow ragers...

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…

Cinder Cat

Cinder Cat

Cinder Cat

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

Encore: Antithesis

(Waiting on recording from band – definite)

Camp Hidden Meadow...lovely

Camp Hidden Meadow...lovely

Camp Hidden Meadow...lovely

Camp Hidden Meadow...lovely

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

The Community Art Project

The Community Art Project

Eventually, it was a free for all...

Eventually, it was a free for all...

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!”

CLICK HERE for your FREE Mustache PDF download!

Caught In the Lift

Caught In the Lift

Caught In the Rift

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)

The Sound Board

The Sound Board

Hippy Invention #1: Propane Drum

Hippy Invention #1:

Handmade schedules made for easier planning....

Handmade schedules made for easier planning....

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.

Former Champions

Former Champions

Former Champions

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)

RAQ

RAQ

RAQ

Jay Burwick — Bass, Vocals
Chris Michetti — Guitar, Vocals
Todd Stoops — Keyboards, Vocals
Greg Stukey — Drums

* Special Guest: Tim Palmieri

RAQ

RAQ

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.

The lineup change provided an opening for RAQ to play two nights instead of one.  This was wonderful as RAQ was only making one South East music festival this summer.

Tim and Chris...

Tim and Chris...<3

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!!

RAQ with Tim Palmieri

RAQ with Tim Palmieri

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)

My camera doesn't do the beauty of the main stages ANY justice....so pretty

My camera doesn't do the beauty of the main stages ANY justice....so pretty

The Breakfast

Tim Palmieri – Guitar, Vocals
Adrian Tramontano – Drums, Vocals
Chris DeAngelis – Bass, Vocals
Jordan Giangreco – Keyboards, Vocals

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

Download: The Breakfast Live at Camp Barefoot 4 – Bartow, WV on 2010-08-19 (August 19, 2010)

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

David Pransky – Electric Bass
Drew Heller – Electric Guitar, Soku
Justin Perkins – Kamel Ngoni, Kora, and Electric Guitar
Luke Quaranta – Percussion
Teal Brown – Drums

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

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.

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

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)

Big Gigantic!

Big Gigantic!

Big Gigantic

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.

Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights

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)

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www.gatheringofthevibes.comGathering of the Vibes 2010: Saturday (07.31.10)

Check out Day II: Gathering of the Vibes VX @ Bridgeport, CT (07.30.10)

The Beautiful Festival Grounds!

The Beautiful Festival Grounds!

Creativity shines!

Creativity shines!

Issac was up early and eager to get right out to the field.  Jay and I were NOT!! Zach Deputy was opening the festival this morning and is one of my top 3 one-man-bands but we just couldn’t get out there in time.  We did, however, send Issac on his way to check Zach out. He had never seen him and  I was eager to hear Issac’s opinion later on.

Jay and I walked along the water, finding RVs who would “miracle” us some of their power to charge our phones as we enjoyed the lovely scenery that makes up the grounds of the Festival. Volunteers from Save The Sound had gathered with gloves, trash and recycling bags and were finishing up their beautiful activism.

Quote of the morning: “Who’s got my miracle electricity?

The Beautiful Festival Grounds

The Beautiful Festival Grounds

Shower time!

Shower time!

VIP Perk #3: During Zach Deputy and Max Creek, I decided I needed to shower.  I knew people who bathed in the water that made up our pretty view, but no thanks. I walked in it last year and felt more dirty.  University of Bridgeport‘s sports locker rooms were offered, free of charge, to VIP lot.  Everyday, we cause a commotion at the locker rooms, making the staff laugh and giggle as we entered and exited.  Jay is just a super funny guy so we always had fun with the locker room staff, all staff for that matter. Oh, and we were also miracled shampoo since I had forgotten to pack my own.  We were camping, I forgot about showers! 

VIP Showering Facilities. Thank you U Of B!

VIP Showering Facilities. Thank you U Of B!

The people make it fun...

The people make it fun...

After our showers, we headed to the Cosmic Casbah to sun dry and slowly prepare for our day.  This morning was not as active as the previous morning.  There was no breakfast laid out as we had arrived to late (Thankful for VIP PERK #2: Free Meal).  There were no stragglers on the mats from the night before attempting to FINALLY make their way to dream land! (Happy for my pals because it’s BRUTAL attempting to go to sleep once the sun has risen.) There were no musicians up wanting to jam the morning started with acoustics.  But the theatrics of the festival never fail to shine through every moment and make us smile:

Zach Deputy & Max Creek

I had seen Zach Deputy so many times this year that I felt ok missing his set.  Max Creek was performing as we strolled and showered.  So, I know I missed both, but that doesn’t mean you should. Enjoy their sets:

Download: Zach Deputy Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31 (July 31, 2010)

Download: Max Creek Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust

Reid Genauer – lead vocals, guitar
Adam Terrell – lead guitar, vocals
John Leccese – bass, vocals
Andy Herrick – drums

Reid Genauer of AOD @ GOTV 2010

Reid Genauer of AOD @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust was the first set I actually focused on after running around waking up, charging phones and camera, feeding the little rager and ourselves, slathering him with suntan lotion and setting up shop by the Karma Wash.

Adam Terrell of AOD @ GOTV 2010

Adam Terrell of AOD @ GOTV 2010

There was actually a little altercation at the Karma Wash.  As we arrived to set up shop, a gentleman had placed his chair on the red carpet, ripping it, ashing his cigarettes on it and casually resting his beer all around him.  Jay asked him nicely to move just a few inches OFF the red carpet and it just couldn’t be a simple issue with this guy.  I am glad it didn’t get out of hand, but you could tell by his drunken ass attitude, that he was someone who wasn’t going to cooperate easily and just argued with us. Luckily, his friends were more coherent and sane.

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

John Leccese

John Leccese

I am a huge fan of this group, not for their ridiculous talent or anything but simple because they epitomize a group of jammers who just know how to play and have fun. Their lyrics are as playful as their tunes. They are a mix of folk and rock and all their tunes are catchy enough to get you up out of a chair and dancing on your feet.

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Assembly of Dust @ GOTV 2010

Jason Crosby :)

Jason Crosby 🙂

After three songs, Assembly of Dust invited Jason Crosby and Todd Isler to the stage for the remainder of the set.

Set List:  Sinner, Valhalla, Telling Sue, Pedal Down Samuel Aging Fountain, Light Blue Lover, Weekhawken Ferry, Harrower, Second Song, Paul Henry, Love Junkie, Westerly

Download: Assembly of Dust Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31 (July 31, 2010)

Wavy Gravy, GOTV Emcee

Wavy Gravy, GOTV Emcee

Galactic

Jeff Raines – Guitar
Stanton Moore – Drums
Robert Mercurio – Bass
Ben Ellman – Saxaphone/Harmonica
Richard Vogel – Keyboard
Corey Henry – Trombone
Cyril Neville – Percussion and Vocals

Ben Ellman

Ben Ellman

KEEP THE FIRE COMING!!!   Again, we all took off in different directions during break but found our way back to dead center, front row for this performance My Tribe having grown to about 15 scattered sporadically behind me.

I knew that I was about to see the same set that I had seen at the four other Galactic shows I had already seen this year.  With the addition of Corey Henry, I was hoping that over tour, they would add new songs to their repertoire from the previous cds so that he could add his flavor.  This hasn’t seemed to have happened yet.  I do love the addition of Corey Henry‘s horn (and attitude) to the mix.

Galactic @ GOTV 21010

Galactic @ GOTV 21010

Corey Henry

Corey Henry

It was here I made a mental note to appreciate how wonderful it is to see music during the day.  It’s the atmosphere.  Something about seeing these bands in an open field, with the sun beating down on you.  Everything just SOUNDS better, feels better.  So often, I am stuck in a basement or a dark building seeing shows in the dark with a poor light show. Seeing a band in daylight, wind blowing your hair, sun shining on your skin. It just truly changes everything about a performance.  I encourage all of you take the time to get to know the music that plays in your local Parks….most of the time…it is FREE .

For New Yorkers:

Central Parks’ Summer Stage
Jazz Festival New York
City of New York Parks and Recreation

Stanton Moore of Galactic @ GOTV 2010

Stanton Moore of Galactic @ GOTV 2010

To be honest, Stanton Moore looked like he was just going with the motions.  His cute face made the looks we are used to when he gets into it but his jumps and attempts at theatrics were always just a tiny bit off.  Still sounded great though.  Always does.  This was also the first time I haven’t seen Corey Henry jump into the audience. walking and playing through the waves of fans.

Cyril Neville w/ Galactic @ GOTV 2010

Cyril Neville w/ Galactic @ GOTV 2010

Lil rager :)

Lil rager 🙂

Cyril Neville did his thing like he always does, gliding between his  percussion set and the front of the stage as he energized the lyrics with his signature voice.  I really enjoy his energy. I love his look.  Honestly, I enjoy Galactic because they have great collaborations with people like Cyril and Corey.  These artists really bring another layer to the already funky group. I am already wanting them to stop touring and come out with a new cd.  OMG, who would you want to hear with Galactic?

HORN RAGE!  Galactic @ GOTV 2010

HORN RAGE! Galactic @ GOTV 2010

Set List: Gemini Rising, Gossip, You Don’t Know, Balkan Wedding, Heart Of Steel,  Cineramascope, Ooh Nay Nay, Boban, Tell Me What’s On Your Mind, Boe Money, No More Okey Doke, From the Corner to the Block

Download: Galactic 2010-07-31 Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park; Bridgeport CT

Here’s one I took.  I think you’ll see what I mean at the end of the video about how Stanton was just a tad bit off. Not that it matters, but it happened a few times and I want him to kick ass. So, there.  I said something negative about Stanton, sue me!

Umphrey’s McGee

Brendan Bayliss – Guitar, vocals
Jake Cinninger – Guitar, vocals
Ryan Stasik – Bass, no vocals
Kris Myers – Drums, vocals
Andy Farag – Percussion
Joel Cummins – Keyboards, vocals

Banana Mafia Sighting

Banana Mafia Sighting

Umphrey’s McGee.  What can I say. I haven’t always understood what the big deal is about Umphrey’s.  They jam with the best of them and have an unbelievable following. However, I am still waiting for them to smack me into a wall with awesome sauce and so I see them.  To be honest, mainly because after Chris Kuroda, Jefferson Waful is my favorite light designer for the stage.  However, it was still sunny out so there wasn’t much drawing me to stay in the front row.  To be honest, I actually walked out of the last Umphrey’s show I was attending.  The only show all year where I have done that.  But tonight, well, they just sounded great.

Zach Deputy and I

Zach Deputy and I

Issac was thrilled to already have a spot up front to rage with his favorite band.  His energy fueled my own and I made a point to seek out the music with my ears while I was running around taking care of things before Rhythm Devils. We left him to rage with his favorite band.  I needed to take a break off my feet and just relax for a little bit at the Karma Wash before  I took off again. At some point, I ran into Zach Deputy in the VIP tent.

Umphrey’s touched on everything.  They rocked out one minute and tripped out another.  I love their drummer.  Great melodies like always.  Major guitar jams.  Just tight.

Lovely Art Installation

Lovely Art Installation

Dream!

Dream!

I also used this time to check out the vendors, the food, the art exhibits. There were times that we were forced to stop dead in our tracks to the jams that were being delivered on stage.  The audience was cheering constantly. The sun slowly went down and the lights slowly showed up 🙂

Set List: Turn & Run >, Much Obliged, Women Wine & Song, Der Bluten Kat >, Hajimemashite >, Der Bluten Kat, The Linear >, Steppin’ Razor >, Mullet (Over), The Floor, Pay the Snucka >, White Man’s Moccasins, The Fuzz >, Pay the Snucka, 40’s Theme

Download: Umphreys McGee Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31 (July 31, 2010)

Rhythm Devils @ GOTV 2010

Rhythm Devils @ GOTV 2010

Karma Wash = Self Service

Karma Wash = Self Service

VIP PERK #4: THE RAISED DANCE FLOOR!!!  OMG!!!  So, the entire weekend, VIP and staff had access to an elevated dance floor located to the left of the soundboard.  The dance floor itself was two levels and could hold quite a few people.  HOWEVER, it wasn’t until the middle of today that  I started noticing that none of my fellow VIP campers were ever up there.  I started spreading the word and everyone I told HAD NO CLUE it was available to them.  Apparently, this was a new addition to the VIP package.  It was at this point that I decided it was time to utilize the hell out of the dance floor.  During Rhythm Devils, all the members of the krewe started popping up. I wish I had a picture of the smiles on their faces when they saw the unimpeded view.    Check it out after Primus and the field emptied…

Empty stage...empty dance floor...

Empty stage with lights...empty dance floor w/ chairs...after Primus

Rhythm Devils featuring Mikey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann & Keller Williams

Bill Kreutzmann – Drums
Mickey Hart – Drums
Keller Williams – Guitar, vocals
Davy Knowles – Guitar, vocals
Sikiru Adepoju – Talking drum
Andy Hess – Bass

I LOVE KELLER (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

I LOVE KELLER (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Setting up shop with our chairs in the second row on the elevated dance floor just sealed the deal for the night. Let alone, we now were about to get a full on rage from Grateful Dead drummers Mikey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann…..with KELLER WILLIAMS!!!   LORD YES!!

I LOVE KELLER WILLIAMS. Not as much as I used to, but man. He was one of the first acts I saw on our scene.  At my first festival (Allgood 2000) and I remember watching him up on stage with like 7 guitars on  individual stands, just making his way from one to the other, manipulating and lopping their sounds.  Then, as they all played around him, he merrily danced around the stage to the awesome combination of music he had created.  I fell in love on the spot.

Rhythm Devils @ GOTV 2010

Rhythm Devils @ GOTV 2010

Mikey Hart @ GOTV 2010 (Photo by Jeff Jupuis)

Mikey Hart @ GOTV 2010 (Photo by Jeff Jupuis)

With Keller in the mix, Jerry’s Celebration of Life just continued through the Rhythm Devils, extending the power from Furthur‘s set the night prior. Fire on the Mountain was a GREAT lift in the set and the energy in the pool of people in front of me.  Keller brought a unique sound that only Keller Williams can bring.  His voice, refreshing.

The encore was ridiculous.  While the drums raged out of control, the of the sexiest black catsuit wearing, fire dancing woman came onto the stage and completely owned it for over 10 minutes. Slinging fire all around then on strings, hoops, dancing on each other, manipulating the fire thorough their bodies.  I can only imagine the jaws on the floor in the front row.  We were getting a pretty psychedelic light show from our view as well.

Let me just say, that with Keller on the line-up, this might be my favorite recording of the day.

Set List: Cold Rain and Snow, Uncle John’s Band, Strange World, Wrecking Crew, This One Hour, So Many Roads, Fire on the Mountain, Bo Diddly, Comes the Dawn, Voodoo Zombies, See You Again, crowd/band intros

Encore: Full on Drum Rage with Firedancers!

Download: Rhythm Devils Live at Gathering of the Vibes; Seaside Park on 2010-07-31 (July 31, 2010)

Primus @ GOTV 2010

Primus @ GOTV 2010

PRIMUS

Les Claypool – Bass, Vocals
Larry LaLonde – Guitar
Jay Lane – Drums

My fav Freak (Photo by Jeff Dupuis)

My fav Freak (Photo by Jeff Dupuis)

After Rhythm Devils, the dance floor emptied out.  We had been dancing behind a row of camping chairs set up by older Deadheads who just wanted to enjoy the show seated…and who completely tripped out over Jay’s laser.

We had the best spot to view Primus.  Especially since the Deadheads totally went staying for the rage that was about to take place.    And our chairs immediately popped up in the empty space. We stubbed all our friends up to the elevated dance floor with our gorgeous laminates and by the time the set started, I was surrounded by ny friends, Jam Cruisers, co-workers, and just felt so warm with my VibeTribe.

The stage was amazing. Two giant spacesuits flaked the drum kit, flashes of faces and other video being shoot onto the “mask” of the statues.  A green hue tint sprayed over thee stage by the lights. The visual stimulation was fantastic. And with a little dance in a circle and the first slap of his bass, the spectacle began.  A sound very different from anything that had graced the stage the entire weekend. Everyone had the biggest smile. Everyone was on their feet, dancing.

Primus @ GOTV 2010

Primus @ GOTV 2010

Tim Alexander (Photo by Jeff Dupuis)

Jay Lane (Photo by Jeff Dupuis)

I can’t say it was the case for me, but some people just couldn’t take Primus. I suppose it’s an acquired taste but I love Les Claypool. With his haunting howls and screams, his insane vibe.  He touches my darker side of music and I love it.

Anything Les Claypool touches is gold and this little hippie turned into a head banging rager.  His sound is hard, heavy, menacing, intriguing, deep.  It makes you think and it’s just different.  I can completely understand how it wouldn’t be the right vibe for some people .  I LOVED it.

To be honest, I can’t tell you about any one but Les.  He is my favorite bass player.  Well, in the top three.  After the keys, the bass is my favorite instrument and it stands out heavily in shows unless I block it out.  But with Les Claypool, he is all I care to hear.  It never fails.  I completely focus all my energy and power into him.  Issac, being a bass player, had me excited for him to see Les.  Unfortunately, Issac couldn’t get into the music so he went back to a little nap before Deep Banana Blackout. I continued to dance my ASS OFF through the very last note!!  Les NEVER fails to deliver a vibrant show.  It always seems new.

Setlist: Intro, To Defy the Laws of Tradition, In the Flesh, Here Come the Bastards, American Life, Duchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread, Coat Tails of a Dead Man, Bob, Jerry was a Race Car Driver, Over the Electric Grapevine, Behind my Camel, Groundhogs Day, Drum and Whamola Jam, Eleven, Cosmic Highway tease > Frizzle Fry, Harold of the Rocks,

Encore: Over the Falls, Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers

Download: Primus 2010-07-31 Gathering of the Vibes Seaside Park; Bridgeport CT

Fully raged stage...

Fully raged stage...

Issac took off for Deep Banana Blackout on the Green Vibes Stage and I took off to the VIP tent for one more water upload and a lil food intake and to say goodbye to friends as we would be leaving first thing in the morning.  I took my time making my way to the VIP tent.  There is something about the energy left on a field after its been raged. A nd once again, my little VibeTribe was a few of the last folks there, witnessing the aftermath…and helping clean.

Fully raged field...

Fully raged field...

Costumes optional but preferred :)

Costumes optional but preferred 🙂

As we made our way to the Silver Lining booth, we found our little rager passing out in the camp chair next to the booth.  He had had enough.  It was off to end the night for him and we continued the night dancing around Thud’s booth.  I took a little pilgrimage through the chaos to take a few pictures but I just wanted to rage towards the back spinning in circles. My fellow Jam Cruiser and most lovely advocate in Medical Marijuana Law, Lisa Roche, was on had with her friend to dance with us. And dance we did…

Deep Banana Blackout @ GOTV 2010

Deep Banana Blackout @ GOTV 2010

Deep Banana Black Out

James “Fuzz” San Giovanni – Guitar, Vocals
Eric Kalb– Drums
Jen Durkin – Vocals
Rob Somerville – Sax, Vocals
Rob Volo – Trombone – Guitar, Vocals
Cyrus Madan – Keyboards
Johnny Durkin – Percussion

Fuzz Rage! (DBB)

Fuzz Rage! (DBB)

I don’t know about anyone else but I truly do prefer a late night FUNK set over a late night disco set. Deep Banana Blackout fully delivers.  This group is just spitfire and a Bridgeport native.  Guitar powerhouse Fuzz’s energy is always constant.  His sound, always RAGING! I love Eric Kalb on drums.  I have gotten to see him with Charlie Hunter and Will Bernard a few times this year and that’s a lovely pairing right there.

Deep Banana Blackout @ GOTV 2010

Deep Banana Blackout @ GOTV 2010

Jen Durkin‘s voice came out of no where to me.  I can’t recall ever really seeing this group live, as I had been out of the scene for almost 6 years until this past Jamuary.  Jen‘s voice hit me like Susan’s voice hits me.  So full of soul.  Singing feelings.  Notes oozing out of the coroners of her mouth. Dreads swinging in the wind!  Whoa.

Fun Fact: Deep Banana Blackout has been performing at Gathering of the Vibes since the first Vibes 15 years ago.

Setlist: Intro – Ken Hayes, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Take The Time, Homo Lingo ->, Tijuana Mama, Getch’all In The Mood, Hear My Song, Family Groove *, It’s A New Day, Like A Road +, bass solo -> Tug ->, Breakfast At Volo’s, Soul Sacrifice, band intros/announcements

* = w/Jesse Gibbon from Schleigho on keys
+ = w/Carrie and Leanne on vocals

Download: Deep Banana Blackout Live at Seaside Park, Gathering Of The Vibes on 2009-07-24 (July 24, 2009)

Good Morning and Goodbye Vibes!

Good Morning and Goodbye Vibes!

We spent the rest of the night, into the morning, hanging out with friends in the Cosmic Casbah and  watching the sun rise.  This Gathering of the Vibes had been one of the kindest, safest, well-run festivals I have ever been privileged to be  participant.  I certainly hope that everyone considers this event next year when you are planning your Summer Festival calendar 🙂 Much Love!

Thank you Note from Vibes to Participants and Staff :) Much Love!

Thank you Note from Vibes to Participants and Staff 🙂 Much Love!

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