Rock n’ Roll Resort v3: A Tiny Rager Review
17 May 2013

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rnr1As I traveled on I-87N through New York’s Hudson Valley on the afternoon of April 12th, I thought about how grateful I was towards live music for taking me to so many places I never would have otherwise visited. This weekend’s trip was to the Rock and Roll Resort Festival nestled in Kerhonksen, NY. I had never before experienced an indoor music festival and I didn’t really know what to expect. I am a seasoned festival-goer, accustomed to the sun shining into my tent at 8am and flies landing on my face in the port-o-potty. I accept all these annoyances and even celebrate the hardships of the festival experience. I was excited by the prospect that the Rock and Roll Resort Music Festival was to take place indoors at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa but, again, I was curious if the festival experience that I so cherish could shine through in the confines of an indoor space.rnr3

As I pulled my car onto the Spanish moss laden grounds of the resort, I was stopped at a white 10×10 easy up tent manned by red shirted young men puffing on cigarettes, appearing to be exhausted by the days work. This familiar setting immediately brought me back to the festival vibe that I had been separated from by the long winter months. When I parked my car and traversed the glass doors leading into the resort’s lobby, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  There was literally a full-on Shakedown Street style medley of vendors in juxtaposition to the hotels fixtures. I couldn’t focus my eyes on all the goodies being touted in hippie commerce but I caught glimpses of vendors with tie-dye skirts, pipes, crystals, music posters, glow lights, flat brim hats, Grateful Dead t-shirts, jewelry wraps and a general store. I was impressed and felt at home. Music schedules were posted on the columns of the hotel lobby and I reviewed them to see when my favorite bands were playing and promptly gave myself a little tour of the hotel. I was impressed by the cigar bar in the hotel lobby as I enjoy the occasional cigar and never had the opportunity to smoke one at festival. I appreciated the spa, activity center and weight room Rock n Roll Reort (13)in the hotel mezzanine and I especially loved the setup of the Manhattan Theatre, which reminded me very much of BB Kings Jazz Club in NYC where I saw one of my first jam band shows a decade ago.

Above and beyond a Shakedown in the lobby, it was all of the fine accouterments that made this festival special and exciting for me. Dave Dellarusso’s marching band called Primate Fiasco spontaneously erupted in happy song and dance like a flash flood several times in different places throughout the hotel grounds. John Warner, who designs so much of the music poster art that we see in our scene was Rock n Roll Reort (10)personally on site displaying art and talking about his collection of music posters, CD covers, and t-shirt art. Scotty Dank was displaying some of Warner’s designs- including the official Rock and Roll Resort festival design- in beautiful art blankets. The Cosmic Fire Brigade from upstate NY put on several impressive fire spinning displays just outside the front doors of the hotel lobby.  Jeremy Peters of SJP Productions programmed the most exquisite psychedelic imagery into LED screens scattered throughout the Manhattan Theatre. It was hard for me to believe that Jeremy, who was once the lighting director for Zach Deputy, just recently began dabbling in the art of visual mapping at the age of 26. Jamin Murphy of Funktion Form, who is, conversely, a long time veteran of music festival interior design, had his colorful diamond shaped installations stretched below the ceilings of every location music was played within the resort. All of these special details and add-ons finely curated by the organizers of the event won me over. They separated Rock n Roll Resort from every other live music event. Team Northeast successfully promulgated a festival feeling within in indoor space. Room service and no muddy feet were nice bonuses.

Overall, the lineup of music was a mixture of funk and electronic. This resulted in a mature crowd mixed with a youthful one. I was happy to see the more experienced festival goers teach the younger kids, by example, how to party responsibly and get down consciously.

rnr5Some of the other highlights for me included seeing artists and musicians enjoying themselves amongst the festival attendees all weekend long, taking part in Karen Dugan’s bachelorette party festivities (Karen, who makes up for her height with her passion, is known as the Tiny Rager. As she is tying the knot with her hubby in the funk scene, Josh Raskin, she celebrated her bachelorette party at the festival- which was named after her) and the office chair party during UV Hippo, where about 40 leather armchairs on wheels made their way to the wooden dance floor in the Manhattan Theatre and we all danced in a bumper car fashion.  Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed the special energy of Soulive’s Friday night performance, as rnr3many of the band members came to Kerhonksen straight from performing as support for Eric Clapton’s band at Madison Square Garden that same evening, and were still dripping with excitement from performing under such special conditions.

I would recommend Rock n Roll Resort to anyone who has never experienced it.


Thanks go to Danny Hertz for this sparklin’ review!Rock n Roll Reort (27)

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