Sparkleberry Lane http://sparkleberrylane.com Tue, 02 Sep 2014 03:14:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Everlasting Gobstopper – a Preview for Catskill Chill http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/everlasting-gobstopper-preview-catskill-chill/ http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/everlasting-gobstopper-preview-catskill-chill/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:24:24 +0000 http://sparkleberrylane.com/?p=9138 Festival Preview: Catskill Chill Camp Minglewood – Hancock, NY September 5th – 7th Written by Rick Acevedo The collective consciousness of our human race as a whole is changing. That may seem pretty heavy when you think about what it means in relation to a music festival, but in fact it’s truly the reason we come together. The celebration of life through music and dance, Electronic and Jam; it’s all the same Chill Fam.         Your whole life you’ve been told to get a job, go to school, be a productive member of society. How many of the mentors placed in your path have pushed you to seek a higher sense of self-awareness; to transcend the bounds and limitations our society has set? How many of us are told we live to inspire? The truth of the matter is you are all beautiful, intelligent beings with the potential to change the world. We’ve begun to take the steps, becoming less self-absorbed, giving more attention to the world around us. Catskill Chill is the embodiment of that feeling. A perfect melody, a harmonious notion, I second that emotion.         The Chill gets its vibe from the beautiful Catskill Mountains; soon to be bursting with orange...

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Festival Preview: Catskill Chill

Camp Minglewood – Hancock, NY

September 5th – 7th

Written by Rick Acevedo

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The collective consciousness of our human race as a whole is changing. That may seem pretty heavy when you think about what it means in relation to a music festival, but in fact it’s truly the reason we come together. The celebration of life through music and dance, Electronic and Jam; it’s all the same Chill Fam.

        Your whole life you’ve been told to get a job, go to school, be a productive member of society. How many of the mentors placed in your path have pushed you to seek a higher sense of self-awareness; to transcend the bounds and limitations our society has set? How many of us are told we live to inspire? The truth of the matter is you are all beautiful, intelligent beings with the potential to change the world. We’ve begun to take the steps, becoming less self-absorbed, giving more attention to the world around us. Catskill Chill is the embodiment of that feeling. A perfect melody, a harmonious notion, I second that emotion.

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        The Chill gets its vibe from the beautiful Catskill Mountains; soon to be bursting with orange and gold as the North East embarks on its great farewell to her lush forests.  However my friends, you will be greeted with warmth by a Tribe of world changers - Nahko & Medicine for The People opening the Main Stage. Not only is their music not what I expected, but when I first saw them I had no clue they are involved in so many nonprofits. I’ll have to check out some of the bands playing in the B Stage and Club Chill haven’t really caught them live yet. Eric Krasno Band is playing the B Stage while Club Chill host The Primate Fiasco; this is going to a difficult decision for myself to make. Both bands feature a lot of different elements. It’s like deciding between which slice of pizza to take. I’m still stuck. Lettuce for my sandwich since I’m going to be missing my Cheese is a must. Shpongle is closing out the night on the Main Stage. Aside from the hoopers going all out and the theatrics (the light show itself is excellent), the band typically delivers a multi-layere,d musically unpredictable set. Chill Fam, this is just the first night!

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I haven’t’ even gotten to Yonder Mountain with the amazing, wonderful, ever so talented Allie Kral or The New Deal. I haven’t ranted about PapadosioTwiddleDopapod or Kung Fu. I’m already feelin’ funky enough to let this all vibe out well Chill Fam. Whichever stage you decide to venture to, if you want some Bass in your face or the smooth groove rock out to, the Chill Fam has us covered (There is just so much good music to choose from). I’ve been anticipating this festival for that very reason. If you haven’t already made the choice to head out to Lockn’ come join the Chill Fam. It’s actually pretty reasonable GA tickets are currently at $173.95 (Price with service charges and all that jazz) – for a three day festival, that’s not bad at all.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this; I want you to know your energy inspires me – it’s contagious. Let’s change the world one connection at a time. “A festival is really the everlasting Gobstopper, the layers are revealed and it’s not to be immediately judged. It’s got something for everyone” – Sydney Morris (Who Ironically will be taking all the great photos soon to come). See you soon Chill Fam!

Yours truly,

Really,

-Ramblin Rick

P.S. Thank you to the sponsors JamBaseMagic Hat, MBP, Brotherly Love ProductionsLive 4 Live Music, and WoodChuck Hard Cider for making this happen.

 

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Festival Preview: Lockn’ 2014 http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/get-rocked-preview-lockn-2014/ http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/get-rocked-preview-lockn-2014/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:03:40 +0000 http://sparkleberrylane.com/?p=9111 Lockn’ Music Festival Oak Ridge Farm – Arrington, VA September 4-7, 2014 Written by Alex Kratzert Tonight as I write, whenever this is, I type on my couch in a hooded sweatshirt and corduroys – no socks. There is no air conditioning, but there is a fan that is really only reaching my bare feet. It is well into August, I know that much, and for a pair of weeks now I have heard much talk of fall vibes and changing times. Since school is over for me now and the real kick is just a loan-deferment away, I am reminded of only one of few things: the cool Appalachian air of Arrington, Virginia in early September. I am then reminded of the red clay earth that spreads vast across the plain toward the mountains, so smooth to the touch yet rigid enough to break several of my dad’s aluminum stakes. So, as the weird, wild winds of the season grow colder, there remains much warmth and light to the knowledge that Lockn’ Music Festival is close-by. Especially these days, with all that noise and all that nonsense at full volume. What a time. After the dust settled from the...

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Lockn’ Music Festival

Oak Ridge Farm – Arrington, VA

September 4-7, 2014

Written by Alex Kratzert

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Tonight as I write, whenever this is, I type on my couch in a hooded sweatshirt and corduroys – no socks. There is no air conditioning, but there is a fan that is really only reaching my bare feet. It is well into August, I know that much, and for a pair of weeks now I have heard much talk of fall vibes and changing times. Since school is over for me now and the real kick is just a loan-deferment away, I am reminded of only one of few things: the cool Appalachian air of Arrington, Virginia in early September. I am then reminded of the red clay earth that spreads vast across the plain toward the mountains, so smooth to the touch yet rigid enough to break several of my dad’s aluminum stakes. So, as the weird, wild winds of the season grow colder, there remains much warmth and light to the knowledge that Lockn’ Music Festival is close-by. Especially these days, with all that noise and all that nonsense at full volume. What a time.

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After the dust settled from the event’s inaugural blast, I began to wonder how the lineup would look for the following year. It surpassed my expectations, bringing much of what had made last year’s lineup so enticing back to the stage, with some fresh additions of both old and new. Returning to Oak Ridge Farm will be Widespread Panic (two nights), Tedeschi Trucks Band, Phil Lesh and Friends (two nights), and The String Cheese Incident (two nights). Phil will be performing with Warren Haynes, John Scofield, John Medeski and Joe Russo, and Widespread Panic will be joined by Steve Winwood of Traffic and Blind Faith. The String Cheese Incident will also perform as String Cheese and the Gang, a tribute to Kool and the Gang featuring JT Taylor and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Once the dust settles from that bang, read on.

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Performers coming to Lockn’ for the first time include Umphrey’s Mcgee (two sets), Wilco, Gary Clark JR., Willie Nelson, Hot Tuna Acoustic, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and The Allman Brothers Band, who will be playing “Live at the Fillmore East” and more. Bob Weir and Ratdog had originally been on the lineup; however, all tour dates have been cancelled. Due to the cancellation, the Lockn’ people had to find new acts to fill the space, and they certainly made up for the loss. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals will play on Sunday and Lettuce will play just before Umphrey’s Mcgee on Thursday. They also added Bill Kreutzmann’s Locknstep Allstars, an act which I am particularly excited for. Keller Williams will be returning as well with Grateful Grass, and Taj Mahal and Del McCoury Band will be performing too. Check out the full lineup schedule here.

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Four day passes are at $285, with student prices at $180. Single day tickets are also available, and GA RV passes are sold out. If the price is too steep, you can check out volunteer options here, and any other information can be foundIMG_7950 here. Sparkleberry Lane will also be doing a ticket giveaway starting 8/20, so if you did not find this article through the SBL Facebook page, visit the link and like and share the post as well as the page (must be from our page). The winner will be picked at random and given two general admission tickets to Lockn’ Music Festival. Give it a go, but if your luck doesn’t show I highly recommend buying the ticket if you can. I have spent quite a lot of time, energy and
funds in order to go to these festivals, some of which have come with a slice or two of regret. Maybe three or four. A handful. I can say with the utmost confidence, though, that this event will be worth every drop of sweat and every tattered bill, and there won’t be a shred of regret.

And so, there are only a couple of weeks until the festival. It was just the 45th anniversary of Woodstock, which held acts such as Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Grateful Dead, Ravi Shankar, Jefferson Airplane and, of course, Jimi Hendrix. Only a few months ago I found myself back to those holy grounds for the first festival to take place there since ’69, and Steve Aoki, Dillon Francis, Moby, and Kaskade headlined, to name a few. Times have changed, and I guess that’s how things go. And so three months ago, I stood on those grounds hearing Kesey pronounce “Nothing Lasts” while performers were telling everyone else, “We don’t give a fuck!” repeatedly and with little else to follow. What a laugh. But in the closing weeks of the festival season, with the fall winds flowing thin and crisp under the still scorching sun, I am reminded of a place that proves to keep ’69 very much alive, and where the bad chatter is only a mute grievance to be thrown by the wayside. They used to call it Interlocken…

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Photos courtesy of Lockn’ Music Festival

 

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Gratifly Music and Arts Festival 2014 Review http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/gratifly-music-arts-festival-2014-review/ http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/gratifly-music-arts-festival-2014-review/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:33:42 +0000 http://sparkleberrylane.com/?p=9060 The Gratifly experience was many things rolled into one, but at the end of the weekend we looked back on a time that had been full of love, connection, and learning. Even though everything may not have gone as planned this year, this festival definitely has the potential to be an important staple of the East Coast festival scene. Read on to see why.

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The Best Laid Plans…

Join me for a journey through Gratifly 2014- a festival that was a concentrated example of how the world *might* look if hippies ran the show.  Most things would be awesome and beautiful and colorful and surrounded by nature.  Loving vibes would permeate the air. Hair would grow unencumbered on most bodies. Sacred spaces would be promptly smudged with sage every morning, and regularly throughout the remainder of the day.  But some things might not run on schedule.  Some things that were supposed to happen might not happen at all. Sometimes there wouldn’t be enough pizza. But overall, everyone would leave with a sense of “Yeah, I’d definitely do that again.” 

On the way to Gratifly - by Christina Sava

Every good review starts with commentary on the entrance situation, right? Well, we were totally warned before-hand that we would have to park a little distance away from the festival grounds and shuttle in.  But no one told us there wouldn’t actually be any shuttles, just a few pick up trucks and a flat bed tow truck…and 2 taxis.  We got tired of waiting in the rain with our stuff, so we intrepidly threw our things onto a flatbed, on top of an already overloaded pile of hippies and camping gear getting ready to take off.  As warned, we assumed a seated position and, having thus completed the necessary safety precaution, we were off.  Not much besides the merciful hand of The Almighty secured our place on that flatbed, but as you can see from this photo, dangerous situations only make for more fun.  At the very least, we knew from the get go this wasn’t going to be some fancy-shmancy high-end hippie fest (East coast keepin’ it real, as usual).  That was confirmed when the shuttle had to stop short of the grounds because of mud issues.  We were some of the lucky ones who found a camp spot in the last few hours of daylight on Thursday.  But many of our brethren were stuck making multiple trips with arms full of unnecessary things to an unknown spot in the woods, probably on a major slant, in the dark.  And we missed most of Thursday’s early evening talks and workshops.  So my point is that real busses would have greatly sped up this process.

 Camping in the woods at Gratifly - By Christina Sava

But how can you stay mad when the digs are seriously this beautiful?  In fact, we saw very few people mad about anything, all weekend.  This is a huge testament to the love and positivity that the Gratifly team put into their project.  If this had been any other event on the East Coast (and I’ve been to a few) many more people would have been heard complaining/ragging on production/yelling obscenities.  But at Gratifly, gratitude and community was the name(s) of the game.  And these woods!  We were greeted by the softest green forest, surrounding a field of dreams full of interesting installations, spaces, and structures (some of which were still  being built when we arrived).  The earth was forgiving enough that you could roam barefoot without even worrying about it, and a generously Carolina blue sky hung above us for the whole weekend.  I have to say that I have never felt more immersed in nature at a music festival.

The Main Field at Gratifly

The field and the woods were filled with spaces.  Places for us to learn, to immerse ourselves in experience, to absorb wisdom from those who have gone a little further down the path and come back to share what they have seen.  Tents and various structures marked the gathering places for each day’s classes- and there was something for everyone to learn.  Whether you were interested in fermenting your own vegetables, improving upon your hooping skills, or learning how to nourish the yoni, there was an offering for you.  Yoga and movement classes dotted each day’s schedule.  I was happy to see many of the classes and talks well attended by my fellow fest-goers and truth-seekers.  There is nothing quite like moving through your flow yoga class while simultaneously admiring people listening raptly to a teacher, or exploring their inner being with some kind of shamanic ceremony, or getting creative in a writing workshop.  All kinds of sounds coming from the various classes and workshops blended together in the field throughout the day- it was a truly blessed learning environment, and hopefully these kinds of classrooms will only grow in size and popularity.

A Gratifly classroom

Gratifly did an excellent job of bringing together some of the most interesting and genuine teachers this movement has to offer.  I enjoyed my introduction to Qigong with Sifu Beth Leone, yoga with Leigh Anne Neal (check out her studio, Nirvana Yoga, if you are in Atlanta!), AcroYoga with Joaquin de Teresa (who will be coordinating the yoga program at next year’s Aura Music Festival), and yin yoga with Sharashten (founder of Shakti Yogi Journal).  I learned about fermented, activated foods with Tai Magick of New Dimensions Fermentia, found my flow in a hoop with Baxter, founder of The HoopPath, and joined in Kirtan with Bhakti Dojo (led by Srikalogy and his partner Jesse).  Contrary to the musical lineup, the workshop and class lineup always ran on schedule, and I would return to Gratifly just for a chance to again immerse myself in this learning environment.

Class in the forest at Gratifly

 What I especially loved was that the teachers were so accessible- they were not up on a stage, speaking into a microphone.  We were sitting on the same earth, eye to eye, sharing.  There was always time and opportunity for questions and genuine connection with any teacher you found inspiring.

Waiting in line at Cafe Gratifly

I have to commend Gratifly for trying out a new, truly sustainable festival dining experience: Cafe Gratifly.  For $25 per day, or $100 for the weekend, you could have 3 meals per day prepared by chef and food activist Njathi Wa Kabui, all with locally-sourced, organic ingredients (pictured above are people waiting nicely in line for their meal). I know when they hash out some of the kinks of this initiative (like making sure there is always enough of every portion for all those who sign up), this will change the way we do festival food!  However, besides Cafe Gratifly, there were only 3 or 4 other food vendors.  The beloved and always delicious Free Lovin’ Foodery was there, plus some awesome pizza makers cookin’ up pies in the oven right before our eyes.  Their pizza was super dank, but on Saturday night they were closed, and the Free Lovin’ Foodery line was LONG.  By the last day, it seemed that there was a bit of a food shortage.  I could have probably eaten a few more slices of pizza, but had to settle for a grilled cheese.

The river at Gratifly

SO THIS RIVER.  Totally the festival’s real headliner.  It was a 3 minute walk behind the main stage, on your way to the hill/forest stage (I don’t remember the stage names because I didn’t see any signs demarcating them and we weren’t given maps), and it was amazing! Never have I seen a more perfect river for a festival, with plenty of sitting and wading room.  We went multiple times a day, and I even washed my hair in it (with all organic natural shampoo, obvs.) It was like a festival A/C, water park, and shower all in one.

The river at Gratifly

The beauty of the festival grounds definitely saved Gratifly when things didn’t go as planned (like music delays and cancellations).  It’s hard to worry about much when the natural attractions are so spectacular and comforting.  Lots of people told us they would definitely come back to Gratifly next year despite any hiccups, and I have to think that the festival grounds combined with the aforementioned good vibes promoted by the (almost imperceptibly small) staff are largely to thank for this.  So if Gratifly moves from Avalon next year (because relations with the neighbors who filed noise complaints may or may not improve), they either better make sure the lineup goes off without a hitch, or the natural setting is equally charming!

Dancers onstage during The Polish Ambassador at Gratifly - By Freddy Lansky

Of the music we did see (which was a fraction of what we thought we would see) The Polish Ambassador was definitely the hyphyest.  I hadn’t seen him in a few years, and I was wondering if he really was deserving of all the attention.  He is!  This man obviously puts his heart and soul into what he does, and his set at Gratifly, which was to be one of the last of Saturday, was a nonstop get down.  My favorite moments are a tie between the MJ and the Blackstreet remixes.

Lafa Taylor was set to come on after him, but apparently the music was supposed to stop after TPA due to noise complaints from a neighbor.  The production team let Lafa go on anyway, but turned all the speakers off besides one stage monitor which was turned to face the crowd.  It was super quiet and, though Lafa was obviously givin’ us all he had, the weak volume took much of the wind out of our sails and few were actually dancing.  I later found out that Lafa wasn’t even told that the speakers would be turned off, and he thought he was just majorly flopping and everyone hated him! No way Lafa, we will definitely be back to see you next chance we get.

But that leads me to probably my biggest complaint with the festival’s production strategy: not once did someone come on the mic to let us know what was going on.  We understand shit happens, but we understand it way better when it’s communicated to us clearly.  If just one team member had come on stage to warn us that certain acts were going to be delayed, or that the schedule was being changed, or that Opiou was being cancelled (and why), we probably would have taken it in stride.  But we were left standing around wondering what was going on, and word just had to trickle through the grapevine.

On a brighter note, we did get to see awesome music from Random Rab (with Plantrae on violin!), Srikalogy, and Papadosio.  I love to see talented ladies representing in the DJ scene, and DJ Dakini is my favorite new find of the weekend- her set at the Fox & Beggar stage had the woods bumpin’.  Wildlight also held it down beautifully before TPA. The Human Experience and his guests, and Thriftworks were also awesome. I missed some things I wanted to see (Desert Dwellers) because they were too early in the morning and I actually wanted to get up for certain classes the next day.  I’m torn on the whole sunrise set thing, especially at a festival where the next day is full of things to do from the morning until evening.  We also missed most of Sunday, including the Earth Harp Collective and Rising Appalachia, which I know were both fucking awesome (if you were there, comment below!).  I’m decidedly in favor of festivals ending on Sunday mornings so those of us that have to be somewhere Monday morning don’t miss out on anything! (The one thing Camp Bisco did right?) Anyone else with me on these points?? Or am I just too much of a grandma to even hang anymore?

The Polish Ambassador and Anthony Ward at Gratifly

I got a chance to chat with Anthony Ward, the flower whisperer, in the art area on one of the days (like the teachers, the artists were also highly accessible throughout the weekend). He performed with both Random Rab and TPA that weekend.  Since he is probably the only flower arrangement performer on Earth, I was interested to know how he started, and the intention behind his craft. Turns out, he is a dancer and florist by profession, and he got a chance to blend the two when he was spontaneously invited to perform with Bobby McFerrin (creator of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”) at the Omega Institute over a decade ago.  Bobby would regularly invite people onstage without knowing what they were going to do. Anthony was also not sure what he was going to do, but he had a bunch of flowers, and a background in dance. BOOM. An artform was born.  Michael Franti was in the crowd that evening, and moved to tears by the performance.  He promptly invited Anthony to perform with him at a future concert, where Zack, STS9′s drummer was in attendance.  STS9 invited Andrew on tour with them in 2002, and the rest is history.

The Creek at Gratifly

Anthony says that his bouquet making is really a form of prayer- that we are all praying together.  His floral art is a spiritual practice.  Watching him, you definitely get a sense of the spiritual in how earnestly he offers each flower to the crowd, and to the heavens, before placing it in its new home.  We discussed the magnificence of flowers, and he told me his favorite thing about them is that “They shine for everyone equally,” no matter who is gazing upon them.  There will soon be a documentary out about his work, “Dancing with the Flowers,” and you can watch the trailer at www.beingwithflowers.com.  I could hardly think of a more fitting performer to grace the stages of Gratifly that weekend- as it was all a blend of nature, love, art and music.

Hammock house at Gratifly - By Freddy Lansky

So much more could be said, but really it has to be experienced.  There is no way I could fit a description of all the eye catching and uplifting things about Gratifly into a review (I didn’t even get to all the amazing visionary artists that were in attendance and displayed their work in an outdoor gallery in the main field!)  The whole thing burst forth with love and care, and I hope some important lessons were learned so that next year this gathering can blossom to its full potential (and hippies can redeem themselves). I, for one, saw clearly the importance of balance- the delicate dance between living care-free, moment-to-moment, and also having a footing in the “default world,” if only so you can get your message across effectively to those who need it most.

Before leaving, I interviewed a few people on their experience, expecting at least a little bit of complaining about the cancelled music and shitty entrance situation.  Surprisingly, I basically had to remind these interviewees of these situations.  They had nothing but positive reviews of their experience, all agreed that they would come back.  Most importantly, all found plenty of opportunity for meaningful connection with others that weekend.

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Even though Utopia might be a pipe dream, Gratifly shows that when you have certain elements in place (nature, good people, opportunity to share and create, regular sage smudgings) even major glitches in the plan can be moved through.  But the true testament to the weekend’s success is the fact that even this jaded east coast Biscuits girl can say “Yeah, I’d definitely do that again.” 

Check out our Facebook Album with more photos from Gratifly. 

And this AWESOME video by Compose Yourself Mag. 

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The Frendly Gathering 2014 http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/frendly-gathering-2014/ http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/frendly-gathering-2014/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 19:26:06 +0000 http://sparkleberrylane.com/?p=9026 But the Best Ships are Frendships and May They Always Be A Review of the Frendly Gathering 2014 Timber Ridge, VT Written by Britton Beal Photos taken by Andrew Sergeant Well another Frendly Gathering has come and gone and with immense success may I add. So let us cheer: to sunrises and instant coffee; to good weather, better music, and the best [Frends] crew; and to all of you, with your goofy garments, drastic dance moves and contagious smiles for making it all possible. The Frendly Gathering is, and will continue to be, one of my favorite festivals in the Northeast. For a while I accredited it to the aesthetic beauty associated with a festival nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I also thought it might be the stellar but centralized lineup that aligned so perfectly with my personal musical preference. Or maybe the ease of travel, entrance to the festival, and comfortable camping that won me over. But at the end this and last year’s festival, it was clear to me that it is the frends, both old and new, at The Frendly Gathering that bring the festival to that next level year after year. Although non-car camping...

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But the Best Ships are Frendships and May They Always Be

A Review of the Frendly Gathering 2014

Timber Ridge, VT

Written by Britton Beal

Photos taken by Andrew Sergeant

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Well another Frendly Gathering has come and gone and with immense success may I add. So let us cheer: to sunrises and instant coffee; to good weather, better music, and the best [Frends] crew; and to all of you, with your goofy garments, drastic dance moves and contagious smiles for making it all possible.

The Frendly Gathering is, and will continue to be, one of my favorite festivals in the Northeast. For a while I accredited it to the aesthetic beauty associated with a festival nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I also thought it might be the stellar but centralized lineup that aligned so perfectly with my personal musical preference. Or maybe the ease of travel, entrance to the festival, and comfortable camping that won me over. But at the end this and last year’s festival, it was clear to me that it is the frends, both old and new, at The Frendly Gathering that bring the festival to that next level year after year.

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Although non-car camping festivals tend to get a lot of slack in the scene, if executed effectively, the absence of cars at a festival attribute perfectly to the serenity. I like to think it gives festivalgoers the chance to really remove themselves from an outside world and enter into festival life for the weekend. Believe me when I say obtaining a meditative state at sunrise is not easy to come by with the constant wompy drone of distant dubstep blasting from the nearest SUV. Humans by nature are thigmotropic: _MG_6726organisms which respond immediately to touch. Sure our stimuli can be aesthetically overloaded or phonetically floored at a show, but ultimately it’s the tangibility of the situation; the ability of a situation to be perceptible by touch and feeling. Life is tangible when strolling down Shakedown, in a way that will never be obtained walking down Main Street.

Thursday night at the Frendly Gathering hosted a smaller crowd of ambitious frends willing to pay a little extra on their ticket price for an extra night of music. I like to think it was well worth the cost for first choice camping and some rocking main stage sets. The Frends Crew bluegrass favorite, Gold Town, kicked us off at sunset for their fourth consecutive year at The Frendly Gathering.  It was followed promptly by a rocking Twiddle set that included a cover of “Karma Police” (Radiohead), “Too Many Puppies” (Primus), and an exceptional “Best Feeling” (Keller Williams) encore.

 Music kicked off Friday morning with a mountain top acoustic Twiddle set. This could be a biased statement being a farmer, but seeing Twiddle play “Daydream Farmer” acoustically on top of Timber Ridge looking over the Green Mountains was pretty damn cool.

“Keep our earth in your soul and your soul to the ground.”

As the sun began to settle behind the mountains and the heat of the day had come and gone, Spirit Family Reunion took the main _MG_6712stage upon what seemed to be bated breath. I had never heard the band, let alone seen ‘em live, but people seemed anxious and excited and I couldn’t help but absorb the anxious aura. I later found out this small-town, homegrown band started playing together on street corners, farmers markets, and subway stations in New York City. Now their amplified accordions, flailing fiddles, and scratchy acoustic guitars have moved on from Main Street to Main Stage.

The Devesh Duo band was scheduled to play a number of sets throughout the weekend, including the very opening spot for the festival. Veena Chandra is an internationally renowned sitarist accompanied by her son, Devesh Chandra, who has been learning the Tabla since the age of 3.  Needless to say, this unorthodox sound pushed the parameters for the weekend and captivated the audience in attendance.

The London Souls provided a fresh dose of alternative rock for the weekend, playing a mixture of improvised rock that was still accessible to the audience. Fun fact: The London Souls met for their first time on stage. Prior to that first show, described by the band as “very comfortable”, they had only rehearsed their music via cell phones.

The set I was anxiously awaiting for that night, and perhaps the weekend, was funk fusion band, Kung Fu out of New Haven, CT. It seems rather arbitrary to classify Kung Fu as funk or even funk fusion because this fast-paced sound transcends the boundaries IMG_6785between several genres. Guitarist, Tim Palmieri managed to blow a speaker clean out during the first song of the set. I like to think that paints an accurate picture for how the rest of the set was carried out.

Friday night in the Martin Jam Dome was a unique activity entitled “Behind the Lyrics; music meets storytelling”. The activity was put on by three solo female acts of the weekend: Terra Naomi, Jaymay, and Lynx. The three performers played several songs and described the process of writing lyrics in the form of narratives.

Delta Spirit played the main stage just past 11 to get the night started off right.  The set was awesome and carried all the necessary energy, but the sound coming from main stage wasn’t quite right. This seemed to be a common theme for the weekend. For one reason or another the sound during the Delta Spirit set was hard on the ears at times and many in attendance shared the same belief.

Twiddle closed out the Wood Stage Friday night with a short but sweet set followed by Lynx in the DJ nest. The DJ nest seemed to_MG_6727 create quite the buzz over the weekend. Contrary to last year, there were four wooden platforms suspended in the trees, rather than just one. People knew Twiddle was closing out the weekend in the DJ Nest with special guests so the rumors of an accompanying act were flying.

Saturday morning started bittersweet, the same as every other festival. I tend to wake up with the same Christmas-morning excitement every Saturday morning. I can’t wait for some of the more notable acts of the weekend but god forbid I open that last present and realize I have to wait another year for the next Frendly Gathering.

In proper Frendly fashion, Saturday morning kicked off with a pond-side Twiddle set. The sunny Saturday set had half the audience wading in the water and the other half doing their best tiptoe two-step around the edge of the pond. Continuing the fast-paced folk rock into the afternoon were acts like Jaymay, Tallgrass Getdown and Chuck Ragan.

Frends Crew favorite, Lake Street Dive, took the stage right around sundown.  I know I am not alone when I say I grew weak in the knees when lead vocalist Rachael Price first broke the silence. Needless to say, girls got pipes.

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The next few hours of the festival were guaranteed to leave me floored, or as I like to say, cross-eyed and paralyzed from the pants down. Embarrassingly enough, I had yet to see Dopapod live…but hot damn did I know I was in for a treat. Dopapod is one of those acts that make you consider selling your prized possessions for gas money to hop on tour. I guess I was hooked from the first song (Donkey Kong Theme Song?!), but then again, I cant think of a jam-band sucker raised in the 90’s who wouldn’t have been.

Being a one-man-band and the proceeding act for a high energy set like Dopapod is no easy feat. Alejandro Rose-Garcia, better known by his stage name Shakey Graves, is one of few acts capable of such an accomplishment. Shakey Graves seems to have come out of the woodwork and gone from 0 to 60 in one year’s time. His music sounds familiar to the ears, yet stands alone in the scene as a jaunty and raw country/folk sound.  (If your eyes remain virgin to the sound of Rose-Garcia… listen here…and try wiping that ear-to-ear doofy grin of your face.)

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Sparkleberry favorite, Lotus, took main stage and carried the festival through a manic midnight. The band seemed to find themselves at a good pace and amongst good company gracing us with ambient but present jams. Lotus was preceded by the _MG_6759festivals only “Cave Music” genre of the weekend. Moon Hooch considers their sound to be “like House, but it’s more wild, more jagged more free, more natural to live it”. This funky, fast-paced music is full of boisterous horns that quickly turned the crowd into a breathing and pulsing organism.

But alas, it was time for Twiddle + Frends. The “+ Frends” aspect of the set, had continued to remain a mystery throughout the weekend. The Twiddle set started out on the right foot with an “Apples” > “MJ Teases” > “Apples.” As the band began to play “Frankenfoote,” the lights kept going off periodically. And I mean completely blacking out. So much so that all four wooden platforms suspended in the trees became completely invisible. As the jam picked up and the lights went out more and more, each one of the Twiddle band members was replaced by a Dopapod member. Before the audience knew what was going on, the funky “Frankenfoote” outro quickly hybridized into “8 Years Ended” by Dopapod. An extended and energetic jam that was a surprise to all in attendance. The members of Twiddle simultaneously swapped out during the next portion of the set, deeming the jumbled-up jam “Dopadiddle” for the night.

The whole set ended just before 4 in the morning and left everybody all too excited for the _MG_6728early hours of the morning. Up next for
the weekend closer was Gubbidilis; an act consisting of Twiddle members Zdenek Gubb and Mihali Savoulidis, hence the name Gubbidilis. This acoustic set took place just as the sun was rising on Sunday morning and allowed the large number of festival attendees a chance to unwind from the previous few days.

The Frendly Gathering, like many other music festivals, has continued to grow year after year. However, the Frends Crew never lost sight of the ultimate goal of each gathering. The Frends crew believes “in cultivating lasting frendships that in turn foster collaborative success and stand to rid the future generations of exclusivity.” So while the acts may become bigger and better, and the number of festivalgoers may continue to grow, The Frendly Gathering will never lose its grass-fed, grassroots festival feel. I like to believe any festival built upon kindness, generosity, and respect nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont will never lose its humble hometown energy.

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“There are good ships, and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.”  – Irish Proverb

Stay Frendly folks, and remember spread the sparkle! See ya next year y’all.

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A Preview for Wild Woods Music & Arts Festival http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/preview-wild-woods-music-arts-festival/ http://sparkleberrylane.com/musicblog/preview-wild-woods-music-arts-festival/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 15:42:19 +0000 http://sparkleberrylane.com/?p=9010 Wild Woods Music & Arts Festival August 8th-10th, 2014 Croyden, NH Written by Mitch Smith “We actually had to check the airspace over the grounds to make sure there weren’t any planes crossing over because of our lasers and the lightshows and all that. So, yeah,” Jeff Blair’s disembodied, laughing voice was saying over the phone, “our lights and production and the whole visual aspect of Wild Woods is going to be… legit.” I paused for a moment at this thought. “Well, yeah, sounds pretty legit if you’ve got to look into that sort of thing,” I eventually responded. I was picturing, however facetiously, a stage from which Kung Fu’s Robert Somerville’s tenor sax melodies were dancing into the heavens alongside a green, rave-type light, the music and laser striking an unwitting plane—miraculously empty of passengers and, somehow, pilots—like a backwards lightning bolt of jazz. Interesting. “Wouldn’t want to take down any 747’s now. But, yeah, there’ll be lights projected out into the woods by the camping area, too,” Jeff’s voice added. I pictured the rave-type lights again, snaking in and out of a forest. “Oh, man,” I said. “Never seen that before. That’ll be…” I said, decidedly quitting on...

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Wild Woods Music & Arts Festival

August 8th-10th, 2014

Croyden, NH

Written by Mitch Smith

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“We actually had to check the airspace over the grounds to make sure there weren’t any planes crossing over because of our lasers and the lightshows and all that. So, yeah,” Jeff Blair’s disembodied, laughing voice was saying over the phone, “our lights and production and the whole visual aspect of Wild Woods is going to be… legit.”

I paused for a moment at this thought. “Well, yeah, sounds pretty legit if you’ve got to look into that sort of thing,” I eventually responded. I was picturing, however facetiously, a stage from which Kung Fu’s Robert Somerville’s tenor sax melodies were dancing into the heavens alongside a green, rave-type light, the music and laser striking an unwitting plane—miraculously empty of passengers and, somehow, pilots—like a backwards lightning bolt of jazz. Interesting.

“Wouldn’t want to take down any 747’s now. But, yeah, there’ll be lights projected out into the woods by the camping area, too,” Jeff’s voice added. I pictured the rave-type lights again, snaking in and out of a forest.

“Oh, man,” I said. “Never seen that before. That’ll be…” I said, decidedly quitting on that sentence midstride. Jeff understood.

“If we’re calling our festival, ‘Wild Woods,’ ya know, we’re gonna strive to live up to that.” Wild Woods Music and Arts Festival is a-gon’ be Wild. “But no, a downed aircraft wouldn’t look any good on our end.”

Jeff works with GreenVibe Entertainment—a growing entertainment company specializing in event planning, music promotion, and band management created out of Plymouth, New Hampshire—alongside the company’s CEO and Founder, Ryan Dubois. The two 1501774_371677402975600_1411308793_n are old pals from Plymouth State; they love both live music and visual art as well as showing people a good time, and GreenVibe Entertainment seems to have been the natural culmination of interests for Ryan and his team. Which is good: they love what they’re doing, and passion can only breed drive and motivation and attention to what you’re working on, because when you’re working on something that you care about, its safety and upkeep and et cetera is important to you; it’s fragile; it’s your baby; you love your baby; and things created with love are always better than things created without. GreenVibe Entertainment’s baby is Wild Woods Music and Arts Festival. I could tell when speaking with Jeff that he and the folks at Greenvibe Entertainment cared about their baby very much. This is Wild Woods’ inaugural year on this here Earth, and they’d like to make it an annual festival, so they want everything to run as smoothly as possible during its infancy.

“I hope other people and everyone attending are as excited about this as I am,” he said, the excitement in his voice audible, his pitch and volume rising a bit. Jeff’s excitement was somewhat like an agreeable contagion that could inexplicably skip through phone connections.

“Hell yeah,” I clumsily blurted. “I’m pumped myself.” But, hey, what was there not to be excited about, really? I can’t by any means complain about going to Wild Woods on an early August weekend, the 8th through the 10th, to be specific: Boohoo, I get to spend a summer weekend camping out at scenic Page Farm in Croydon, NH, listening to talented big name and local musician’s alike do their thing on the big stage, seeing and being exposed to various and unique forms of visual art. Boohoo.

Thumbs way up.

“Awesome,” Jeff said. “That’s what we’re looking to do. We’re just looking to bring together a good community of people. I really 10464079_477196549090351_8673912756390105748_nthink that Wild Woods is going to feel like one big family. That’s what I’m hoping for and, really, what I’m most excited about. We want to bring people a genuinely good, fun time.”

Wild Woods Music and Arts Festival boasts a lot of cool and exciting features: a killer and diverse musical lineup; a lineup of artists doing actual live, visual performances or whose art will be projected; a wellness and healing center if you find yourself in need of a break from the wildness; community workshops like guided painting and yoga and meditation; an open mic—so bring your tubas or clarinets or xylophones or geetars or vocal chords or whatever for some impromptu jamming on the Cosmic Community Stage like the big boys (and girls, too, of course).

I asked Jeff about the prevalence of the art that will grace the grounds of Page Farm throughout Wild Woods, being that it’s advertised dually as a music festival and an arts festival.

“I think that a lot of festivals advertise themselves as ‘Music and Arts Festivals,’ but all the art they really have is through their vendors, but in Wild Woods the art will be hopefully everywhere, displayed and a vital part of the whole experience,” Jeff said.

Though, yes, Wild Woods will be Wild in its own unique rite, Jeff definitely stressed the importance of the family atmosphere that GreenVibe is aiming for equally as much if not more so than the “wild,” grand ol’ party aspect of the gathering. They want and expect the weekend to be filled with positive vibes and communal enjoyment. They’re also aiming to be as responsible with and respectful to the folksy, natural farm venue, which borders Lake Sunnapee, that will host the festival as is possible. And from what I’ve seen and heard of it all so far, they’re certainly doing it right. Jeff said that he has a huge respect for the very amiable Page’s, whose farm, Page Farm—makes sense, right—Wild Woods and its attendees will be grooving on for a few days.

“I saw a post from the Wild Woods’ event page on Facebook and it said something along the lines of how you guys are trying to ‘leave no trace’ of the festival on the grounds after all is said and done,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah, we’re really trying to make the weekend really green, leave no litter or anything behind. Recycling bins will be around the camping and stage areas, and even compost bins,” Jeff said. The compost bins, according to the festival’s Facebook page, will “give back to Page Farm as we will be adding it to their compost pile at the end of the festival”—making this whole festival pretty mutually beneficial for everyone. Apparently, the Page’s actually handcrafted a wooden stage for the festival, too. Everybody is happy.

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“We actually just got in a shipment from Natur-Bag with compostable trash bags for the weekend, compostable utensils—forks, spoons, knives—and everything for our food vendors.” The vendors, according to Jeff, will be diverse in their food selection, welcoming diets both vegan and carnivorous, food like farm-fresh veggies from the Lee, NH based farm From my Head Tomatoes to a meaty sandwich that Jeff described with words and phrases like “extravagant” and “loaded with mac and cheese.”

“Like over at Glastonbury, in England, that big festival over there—albeit there’s like sixty-thousand people there—they say it takes ‘em about six weeks or so to pick up the festival grounds. We’re not trying to do that.” Though Wild Woods doesn’t expect sixty-thousand people—it expects a little under a thousand people—they want their festival attendees and the guests of Page Farm to take care of the land they’ll be living on for their transient visits—after you’re gone, if you haven’t taken care of it, your trash overstays its welcome. But they don’t expect that to be a problem. On the contrary, they expect good, conscious people having good-for-the-soul, hearty fun. On top of all these progressive efforts, they’ll be handing out flyers and such to promote environmental awareness, and there will also be a food drive sponsored by Strangers Helping Strangers, so, if you’re going to Wild Woods, bring some canned foods with you and give back to the community.

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They expect dancing, too; with the lineup looking the way it does, I think it’s a reasonable expectation. A few weeks back, I went to an official Wild Wood’s Pre-Party, hosted by GreenVibe Entertainment at a hip bar in Newmarket, NH called the Stone Church. The night got me all hot and bothered in anticipation of August 8th to the 10th. Two of GreenVibe Entertainment’s bands that they manage—Stop Tito Collective and The Tercet, both of which bands guitarist Camden Riley shreds in—and Elephant, a funky band that was big on the Plymouth State music scene, rocked the house, playing some music that really made the cerebral cortex purr. Tasty jams and shuffling feet served as a positive indication of what was in store at Wild Woods in a few weeks. “The turnout for that show wasn’t quite what we’d been expecting, though,” Jeff said.

“Yeah, I hear you. I was expecting more people, too, but, honestly, I had an awesome time that night,” I said. That night convinced my friend I brought up to Newmarket from my hometown to go to Wild Woods, even though I know that’s not the sort of music that
10463025_531383146991550_8018720987612876543_nhe typically listens to. It’s heartening seeing people really put their souls into their live performances. For example, when Camden Riley straps on his guitar to play with Stop Tito’s rocksteady reggae or the instrumental trip that is The Tercet or funkers Harsh Armadillo or with the largely electronic group The Light—which was actually started up by Jeff himself—the guitar isn’t really a guitar anymore so much as an extension of his mind. It makes me smile to see people like Camden doing their thing, pleasing crowds and, in turn, pleasing themselves—wink. Cam, a jack of all trades and styles on the guitar, will be playing with the four aforementioned different bands over the course of the weekend. There’s much to look forward to in the way of musical endowment at Wild Woods, and for a price of only $85 if you buy beforehand or $115 if you buy on the day of, the three days of music and art and nature and good vibes and mental health is assuredly going to be worth it.

So, when I told Jeff that I had a top-notch night regardless of the modest crowd turnout, we seemed to be on the same page. “Right on. Exactly. It was all about the music. We’re expecting a good crowd at Wild Woods, but that’s not our main concern; our main concern is giving the people who actually do attend, no matter the number, a dose of happiness. Those family vibes, man. We want everybody to enjoy themselves and the music and art and their surroundings.”

Check out GreenVibe Entertainment’s roster of bands here, and the full weekend lineup with timeslots and all laid out here. Don’t miss out on these skilled, local, New Hampshire-bred bands like The BlackLight Ruckus—who, what with all their black lights and party attitudes and good old Rock & Roll, know how to get down—or Manic Midnight—whose melodic jam band style and keyboard grooves will get you swaying.

And definitely don’t miss out on Harsh Armadillo’s set on the main stage at three o’ clock on Sunday. They just released their first 10407323_531818316948033_4421911571218918542_nalbum, which exceeded my already potentially unreasonably high expectations that I had for it, and which everyone will get a taste of on Sunday, the 10th; Harsh has a little something for all palettes with their fusion sound that includes a heavy dose of funk and jazz, a helping of R&B and soul, and a touch of hip-hop. Seriously, check ‘em out y’all and give the album, …Thayer it Is—the title a respectful ode to their late producer who mixed the album with mastery—a good listen. You won’t be disappointed—(and you’re welcome).

Alongside the more local-type names are some big ticket artists that GreenVibe is excited about being able to bring to Wild Woods and New Hampshire. If you’re in the area, try and make it as these types of festivals and happenings don’t oft come around the granite state—take advantage of it. Jeff is looking forward to the whole weekend and all the musical artists that will be in attendance, but he claimed to be particularly excited for The Nth Power, a band with huge soul and sound who will, according to their website, “inspire you to dance, groove, make love or just stand there with goosebumps.”

“They just get better and better every time I see them,” he said.

He and the folks of GreenVibe are also excited to be hosting Govinda, a one of a kind act whose music Jeff could only describe using the word “gypsytronic.” Check him out on Saturday, August 9th, the second day of the gathering, at midnight, and see for yourself what exactly “gypsytronic” means. Blockhead will be the last main stage act on the bill for Saturday with his cultivated and masterly hip-hop influenced beats. Everyone is anticipating dynamic performances from Kung Fu—who’s funk has been described as “lethal” and “mesmerizing”—and Twiddle, who are quickly gaining a following with their style that Jeff eloquently stated is “…like everything classic about music you’ve grown up to know and love but is somehow different in a good way.” Jeff said that he saw Consider the Source a ways back and that they “blew down the doors” with their powerful fusion sound.

Essentially, everything about Wild Woods Music and Arts Festival is going to be somewhat Utopian if you’re a music head or an art fiend or so on—no downsides or boohoos in sight. Unclog your ears and prepare your bodies for some exhaustive boogieing down—and maybe track down some of your old Richard Simmons VHS’ if your dancing muscles haven’t seen any action lately (or if you lost your VHS’, you can “party off the pounds” with Mr. Simmons via the internet). If you’re going to be in attendance at Wild Woods, be happy; get excited; you’re going to be a part of something great’s first and formative year.

 

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Photo courtesy of Page Farm

Photos courtesy of Wild Woods and GreenVibe Entertainment

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