Great festival up in the beautiful green of Vermont and right on the verdant bosom of Lake Champlain last weekend. Beautiful setting, incredibly nice people, and outstanding music and fun. The crowd reflected nearby UVM but also plenty of older hipsters and quite a few kids grooving on the grass. Highlights:
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - it was their party, and they headlined both nights. Nothing like a two-fer to really get to know a group, and I came away impressed. Grace is a force to be reckoned with, and her band are all seasoned and highly capable. I'll be interested to watch their career and if they achieve the breakout success they seem headed for.
The Avett Brothers - I've been a fan for a while; They could have their own festival. (Even Grace admitted that following them might have been a mistake.) These guys are the real deal and obviously having a blast being out-there folk-rockers. Plus, their cellist Joseph Kwan was out of his tree good. Brilliant: the end of the night jam with Grace & Co. on "All You Need Is Love".
Galactic - New Orleans brass funk + spacey jams = mind blown. Impossible to sit down during their set...absolutely infectious. They have been playing together for a long time, and it shows. AND, they had special guest Corey Glover (of Living Colour) on vocals, howling like the lake was on fire. It was, kinda. :)
Dr. Dog - Recent faves of mine and they didn't disappoint. They carried the dominant theme of the weekend, which was: "forget what you hear on radio, this is what we REALLY sound like". And they sounded goooood. They have this twisted little psychedelic edge that's quite cool and right up my alley. First show for me.
Sam Roberts Band - Another indie fave of mine, they're more of a straight-ahead rock outfit with thoughtful lyrics and lots of good vibes. More well known in Canada, perhaps, but well worth the time. A killer sax player never hurts, either. Another first.
Carolina Chocolate Drops - Much better than the last time I saw them, they're also starting to grow on me. Lots of soul in all the right places.
Add in some great local Vermont talent (Waylon Speed!), which is part of the mission of the fest, and it was just an all around fun time. Weekend tickets were very reasonable at $65 apiece, and even the concessions had a local flavor and didn't try to soak you.
Not a big place, either, but it never felt crowded. We were up front on the rail when we wanted to be or chilling on the lawn. Bonus: both stages were right next to each other, so no more than 5-10 minutes in between acts...which is good when the lake wind is kicking up, and you need to get moving again...!!
Already looking forward to next year!