Catskill Chill Music Festival
30 Sep 2011

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Amongst the recently flooded hills of Western New York, the Catskill Mountains were a beautiful setting for a musical festival.  Located at Camp Minglewood, the festival felt like a throw back to sleep-away summer camp- minus the counselors, plus some incredible music.

Festival-goers scattered their tents along the lake and in between the small cabins around the property.  Equipped with showers, bathrooms, and bunks, groups of 4 to 24 lived classy, lucky enough to score the sold-out accommodations.

Friday night was rocking starting off with Conspirator, a catchy electronica that cleanses everyone’s listening palate. Roots of Creation gave the crowd a likable, relaxed dose of reggae, electronic, and dub, preparing everyone perfectly for Perpetual Groove.  P-groove, one of the acts I was extremely excited to see, played very well despite the bands general blood alcohol level. They got the crowd moving with a Peter Gabriel cover before falling into Teakwood Betz for nearly 15 minutes.  They did an awesome cover of Mumford and Son’s The Cave (debatably better than the original), before finishing with a light and elongated Three Weeks.  There was something beautiful about watching Brock Butler balance a lit cigarette on his guitar and ask the crowd for PBR’s in between songs.  The show had vibes of an intimate and relaxed feel, quite an ideal way to begin a fest.  Albert Suttle was exceptional in keeping the foursome united with his driving drumbeats.  It was so easy to feel the music, not just listen to it- I can’t wait to see them again.

To round out the night, Break Science jammed early into the morning.  While wearing a shirt reading “Dubstep Ruined my Life”, Drummer Adam Deitch showcased his extraordinary musical knowledge.  Holding the Headstash Weekend Award for First Best Drummer and Second Best Drummer, Deitch and headman Borahm Lee surprised the crowd by inviting special guest Chali 2na on stage. At the ripened age of 40, his unmistakable baritone voice still possessed some old school Jurassic 5 flow.  The collaboration of these three individual musicians proved to be the recipe for a rare late-night energy.

Saturday started with a soulful set from Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds.  Petite lead singer Arleigh Kincheloe belted out impressive vocals. For being only 21, she balanced perfectly with the blasting horns section.  Zach Deputy impressed me with his Keller Williams-like looping talents and made sure to get the whole crowd moving during his set.  As the sun started to dissipate, reggae-roots band Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad united the crowd in preparation for a three hour long Umphrey’s Mcgee jam. Head-lining the festival, you could feel the crowd buzzing louder then ever before Umphs came on stage.  They were a true crowd pleaser that night with a wide variety of songs. The lights were beautifully synchronized with the jamming, which made the whole crowd feel like they were front row.

The last day of The Chill was back-to-back with great acts.  Starting with Particle; the psychedelic tunes welcomed the rain for the first time in the otherwise flawless weekend weather.  Lead keyboardist Steve Molitz was awesome at infusing the rock beats with a splash of catchy electronic, and I felt rejuvenated grooving under the cover of the tent listening to the torrential downpour above me.

Dopapod and John Brown’s Body exemplified the wide variety of musical genres represented at the chill.  Pimps of Joytime warmed the crowd with their Latin infused funk.  Anyone who’s heard of Pimps knows how these guys like to make you feel like you’re stuck in a 70’s music video, so groovy.  The 7 Walkers took over the main stage later Sunday to satisfy the deadhead crowd.  Bill Kreutzmann and his impressive statistics of never missing a gig in 30 years did not fail to show up.

The last show on the main stage was Boombox- one of the reasons I made the trek out.  I am never left disappointed with Russ’ irresistible beats and Zion’s innate ability to add a neo-funk coating to any song.  Under the light of the full moon, there was no way to listen to the tunes and not bust a move!  Spun Out Fire was performing to the left of the stage, which was as entertaining as the actual concert. Zoogma provided the remaining patrons an opportunity to burn off the rest of their energy to some dark, electronic, and at times, confusing compilations.

The crowd at Catskill Chill was welcoming, safe, and… chill.  Sharing breakfast, coffee, or hot running water each morning with different neighbors was typical, everyone was there for the music, and the location could not have been more gorgeous.  The late night scene had an inclusive drum circle and fire, wide-screen TV viewing of opening weekend NHL football games, and glass blowing demonstrations.  Once it was dark, a snack shack blasted wild rave tunes and shined the craziest lasers, inspiring the strolling patrons to break out into random dance parties.

The Catskill Chill Festival delivered a successful experience for all, positively uniting the crowd as we welcomed the autumn weather.  I look forward to making The Chill part of my annual festival run, knowing that I will never lose appreciation for respectful crowds, spectacular natural scenery, and music full of love.  Thank you for all volunteers, organizers, vendors and patrons!  Much love and surprises!

A special thanks to Amaryth Rose for her wonderful contribution to You too can contribute to the site by submitting an article to



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