Horing’s Hideout 2012 with the String Cheese Incident
17 Aug 2012

The Author

Profile photo of Jessica Dugan
>>>Dream Chaser Activist * Live Music Enthusiast * Cannabis Industry Expert *Sparkle Spreader * Mindfulness Teacher * Yogi Artist with a Mermaid Soul <<<


Horning’s Hideout is legendary in the String Cheese language and experiencing the band’s extravagant culture, at this fairytale of a venue, is an invaluable opportunity. The 2012 event, hosted in North Plains, Oregon, marks Cheese’s 8th reunion on Horning’s turf. This festival happens sporadically every two to three years and tickets to this event are always in high demand. The band’s last appearance at Horning’s was in 2010 and this year, two years later, Sparkleberry Lane would be in attendance to celebrate Cheese in all of its glory.

Horning’s is located just 35 minutes west of Portland, so if you can make a flight happen, it’s just a simple drive from the airport and across 26 west. My sister and I made the flight happen, rented a car and in no time found our way, easily, out of PDX. We were running behind schedule by just a day, but rumors from inside the gates whispered of rain and expressed no concern towards our delayed start to the unforgettable weekend.

As we wound around through the last five miles of our journey, the roads traveled upon quickly became tunneled with lush evergreen trees that pierced through our surrounding atmosphere. We drove down a series of similar marked streets all named Pumpkin something and got a little confused twisting through the isolated world that is Oregon’s back country. When we finally arrived at the gates there was no line and we were searched, parked and loading up a shuttle bus, to take us to our final destination, in no time.

Before we even began loading up the bus a beautiful young girl accompanied our belongings and asked if she could help us. I expected immediate love at this festival and with this girl’s assistive presence, that’s exactly what I got. In no time, thanks to Gabbi, we were on our way into a wooded area and seeking out our family of friends located at Camp Cobra.

After we connected with our posse the positive forecast for our weekend was brought instantaneously by the stellar vibe greeting us at each and every tree. The energy brought fourth by a Cheese celebration is truly unique in its own beamingly beautiful light. An overwhelming sense of love cocoons around this scene and each time I experience this jam band’s niche I find myself drawn in a little further by its familial magic. As an avid jam band indulger, scenes like that of the Biscuits, Sts9, Phish, and even Panic have a heart, but String Cheese seems to have a heartbeat.

Friday afternoon an important memo was mouthed amongst the Horning’s community and that memo was “Purple Night.” In the wee hours of the evening, I hadn’t realized how serious theme night could be until, at Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, I found myself feeling a little left out in my black and orange get up. As the evening progressed purple polka-dotted the scenery and in between Diego’s Umbrella and The Motet’s impressive set, I prayed for anything purple to be in my suitcase.

The purple painted throughout the forest was colored bright to remember a family friend of the band, Sarah Gewald. Celebrating Sarah’s life, in purple, was incredible and I can’t think of a better way to be remembered. I myself finally obtained some of the color to wear and as my group got situated for Cheese’ first set of the weekend; giggles circulated over a joke that phrased, “You can only drink grape soda if you’re thirsty!”

The main stage is placed appropriately at the bottom of a hill surrounded by skyscraping evergreens with a grassy plateau formed along its base, that’s just perfect for dancing upon. Our groove would begin when Cheese gifted our eardrums with Outside and Inside, marking a frisky entry into the twelve hours+ of their playing we all had in store for ourselves over the next few days. Members of the band happily sported purple shirts that said “Team Gewald” and the Cheese surged forward into Can’t Stop Now followed by a brilliant Yo Se then Water>Pack it Up.

Hey Pocky Way was a collaborative effort between Cheese and special guest Dumpstaphunk. Song in my Head left a lasting impression because of its in depth bass solo, brought to us delightfully by the slap of Keith Mosley’s fingers. Best Feeling> Let’s Go Outside closed out the first set for the evening and we were all pulling at our string cheese for more.

Set two cut right to the chase and warmed the audience up for Howard with a groovy Shantytown. Freedom Jazz Dance welcomed special guest, Stanley Jordan, to the stage and followed with Restless Wind. A Big Peacock Jam stirred up the crazies later and I may or may not have do-se-doed with a purple teletubbie. Can’t Wait Another Day fell in between this jam and Michael Travis and Jason Hann’s ridiculous drum solo.

Cheese is known for their incredible covers and Magic Carpet Ride, originally by Steppenwolf, would soar us all back to a rockin’ 60’s during this incident. Glory Chords settled all the hippies down, momentarily, but slipped into a dirty rendition of Rosie, which spiced the mood up all over again. The band took a short break and then returned to the stage, again with Stanly Jordan, for a heart-fluttering encore, Naïve Melodies, originally by the Talking Heads. Restless Wind picked up, right from where it left off, and sewed together the rest of the evening with Kang’s soul driven violin playing.

This year’s Horning’s was special because I had the opportunity to celebrate it, in all of its enchantment, with my older sister Jean. Together our sisterly presence helped declare the overall loving theme of the weekend, which was family or as we began to amusingly abbreviate it, “fam!”  In my Sparkleberry opinion, the reason why Horning’s Hideout is such a remarkable place is because it’s a safe environment. Families can bring their children here and not have to worry about irresponsible attendees causing a ruckus. At Horning’s no one seems to be stupid enough to jeopardize their times here. This festival is enriched with love and designed for a familial experience.

Making friends to call your family was cake at this event and all it really took to build a relationship was a simple smile and maybe some glitter. My extended family consisted of everyone surrounding my tent all kindred spirits in the name of SCI. At sunrise, the next morning, several members of my new found Cheese family and I partook in some wild peacock hunting. No, we weren’t actually shooting at them, just bird watching the turquoise creatures and their babies scattered iridescently throughout the festival’s grounds.

Our afternoon was spent mostly sleeping and recharging for the epic night to come, which would be themed Under the Sea! I was well equipped for the ocean party in my mermaid costume and just like Purple Night, almost everyone seemed to be involved. Raging collaboratively with thousands of fans dressed with the same idea in mind makes the experience that much more exciting and Team String Cheese went all out for Saturday night. Water spirit was demonstrated in the audience by fans dressed as lifeguards, fans wearing swimmies, snorkels, goggles and even wetsuits!

During The Infamous Stringdusters I shared some ocean themed stickers with new friends and was really impressed by this band’s energy. I stuck a huge fish sticker on some dude’s forehead and as a sweet girl decorated my face with bubbles, I thoroughly enjoyed this band’s performance. I am not the biggest string band enthusiast so a lot of the acts I had never heard of before. The Stringdusters was one band, however, that really appealed to my senses and I would definitely consider seeing them again if they came around my town.

Miss Brown’s Tea House kick started Saturday night off and in no time had the audience swimming around in our imaginary seas. Sitting on Top of the World sped up the pace of life on our swim floor but the sound waves of, Mouna Bowa calmed things down. Colliding soon turned the party into what could have easily been a catwalk for ‘Under the Sea fashion’ and a classic Sometimes a River put friend’s arms around one another’s shoulders creating a gentle sway amongst the crowd.

Set one was off to a delicious start and So Far From Home kept the audience involved with the ability to clap on in to the beat. Birdland> a dazzling Flying West Jam >Big Sciota> back into Birdland>Flying West Jam all built the perfect pathway to a romantic Rollover ending set one, night two, at Horning’s. Before exiting the stage Bill Nershi hinted towards the upcoming extravaganza when he shouted out joyfully “We’re gonna get ready for a little she bang action,” to the audience.

Set two would easily become one of the most memorable live music performances I’ve ever experienced. It seems almost impossible to put into words but I will try. Ritual Set also known as the silent set cleared the flat dancing area in front of the stage for a theatrical performance. I am still searching for the group who choreographed this act, so if you know who they are, please comment below! My family and I gathered together comfortably holding onto the surrounding trees tightly with excitement. As the cool vibrations of this set began echoing through the woods a pirate ship sailed majestically across earth’s surface. In a matter of minutes two groups of fire goddesses paraded the land, elegantly, with their beauty. While the mysterious women vanished, several poi spinning pirates arrived. The faster the jam pulsated the faster the fire spun. Before dancing with fire ended an enormous burning dragon joined the beautiful madness and titanic flames catapulted in the background.

Watch for yourself here!

YouTube Preview Image

^No, really you should watch this ^!

The Ritual set had peaked and was now leveling out with the dispersion of fire dancers. When the jam began to pick back up its momentum, performers dressed in pink sea monkey costumes hopped on board established trampolines. The pink sea creatures bounced up and down and flipped back and front. Soon a series of lit up jelly fish began swimming around the front of the stage and dancers, along with another large colorful dragon, joined the party below. As Ritual Set approached another peak the pirate ship rose above the crowd and a mermaid fell from an acrobatic fabric! Lights and lasers intensified this moment and as the jam rocked into an undersea realm of chaos a car sized jelly fished swam high in the sky! Before the wicked entertainment came to an end the audience members rushed their ways back to the dance floor and in no time were swimming with the jellies!

The experience for the Ritual Set was almost over stimulating because there was so much wonder to take in,   in just twenty minutes, we gratefully did our bests though! When BollyMunster’s sound waves circulated it brought the audience down a different ally that I’d like to call Funk Street and before the song came to an end Cheese teased Knight Rider’s theme song! Way Back Home chilled things out as we approached Jellyfish, complete with the Ritual Set’s jellies still swimming throughout the crowd!

Desert Dawn> Synchronicity sped up the pace of our dance moves before Las Vegas took advantage of us Cheese heads, gambling for a good time, with the satisfying pitch of Nershi’s jamming guitar. Joyful Sound, my personal favorite, reminded everyone to greet each day with passion and pride, follow our hearts and have nothing to hide! Eoto’s influence seeped through part of Joyful Sound and worked itself into the jam giving the audience the opportunity to get a little grimy with some grasstronica. Colorado Bluebird Sky closed out the second set and Could You Be Loved, by Bob Marley, quickly became the perfect encore for a tropical evening spent under the sea!

The evening sent most of us to bed directly after Cheese finished, but a lot of people were lucky, myself not included, to catch The Polish Ambassador’s late night set! Apparently shit was off the chain and I regret to say I missed out on that!

On Sunday, I woke up refreshed in a hammock suspended from the famous evergreens of Horning’s Hideout. The fam and I had a lot of time to kill that day so we spent a lot of our time roaming the forests for the perfect photo shoots. Theme night for Sunday was red, white and black, but finding the mass amongst the audience wasn’t as prevalent as it had been the nights before. I went out in all white and dressed as a rabbit complete with a carrot for fun! Sam Bush, a mandolin playing machine, entertained us towards sunset and then Lynx performed a mediocre set. I’ve already seen her twice this summer and something about her energy just threw off her overall performance here. Sorry Lynx.

Sam Bush graced Cheese’s stage with his presence and played almost the entire first set. The band said they would take advantage of him, while he was there, and this set wouldn’t have been as intimate without his touch. Hold What You’ve Got cheerfully introduced us to Cheese, Sunday night at Horning’s, followed by Sam’s Mandolin nurturing Whiskey Before Breakfast. Old Train keeps spirits high and MLT makes for a comical ending when the band welcomes us to “String Cheese rehearsal.” First, Kyle Hollingsworth messes up the ending, so they go for it again, but this time around Kang ends correctly. On the third attempt the boys seal the deal and everyone was happy to enjoy the ending, to a killer song, three times!

As set one nears its end Bob Marley’s, One Love, with singer Liza Oxnard, creates a sing along for the audience into Lonsome Fiddle Blues. Struggling Angel, a new song written by Keith on behalf of Sarah Gewald, radiates through the speakers and everything is peaceful. Galactic soon creates a funky ending towards the appropriate closer for set one, Smile.

Set two holds Sam Bush hostage for its first two songs Black Clouds and a juicy Rivertance. Eye Know Why rocks us forward and Late in the Evening welcomes Travis on vocals to the performance. It is What It is kept spirits high as we approached the end of our Horning’s, 2012, experience. Big Shoes surprised everyone with an Eye of the Tiger jam at its end and Close Your Eyes jammed into Elton John’s Rocket Man> Close Your Eyes. Before the band closed us out, with Just One Story, they gave thanks to the audience and showed their appreciation for everyone who made Horning’s Hideout possible!

After the night ended a few frowning faces were overcome with many tight group hugs. The end of the festival was indeed a sad one but only tears of joy were falling. SCI, at Horning’s Hideout, brought people from all over the country together who will remain friends no matter how many miles apart. To be able to participate in the Cheese culture, at this venue, is a gift and everyday I listen to these soundboards I count my blessing for the opportunity.

Special thanks to the participative crowd who knows what having a good time is really all about; family and costumes! Thanks to Bob Horning, his family, and the gorgeous landscape we got to celebrate on. And most importantly to Cheese, thank you for making sparks fly!

Further thanks to Megan Matteson Photography and Emma Lorraine for helping capture this magnificent event in photographs!


For more of Megan’s work please visit here.

For more of Emma’s work please visit here.

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