September 7, 2006

Summer's Best Festivals

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All Good Music Festival
By Mark Pearson
In mid-July, thousands of music fans from all throughout the East flocked to Masontown, West Virginia, to see the tenth annual All Good Music Festival, once again offering a lineup encompassing all of the diverse elements of the jam band scene. The weekend began on Thursday night, with sets by Brothers Past, and the Easy Star All-Stars performing their underground classic, Dub Side of the Moon (a reggae reinterpretation of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon), in its entirety.
Friday featured solid performances by Les Claypool, Ween, and John Medeski and the Itch, a side project featuring Medeski (of MMW fame), Eric Krasno, and Adam Deitch, a young, phenomenal drummer, who also produces for many hip-hop artists, including Jurassic 5. The highlight of the weekend was the Disco Biscuits’ late-night set, from 2 to 5, which featured nearly continuous jamming that went so deeply into trance that most fans believed they had been mysteriously teleported to Ibiza.
Saturday was another day packed with good music, courtesy of Tea Leaf Green, professional surfer Donovan Frankenreiter, Galactic, Umphrey’s McGee, Robert Randolph, and the Black Crowes, capped off with a late-night set by the Greyboy All-Stars. By Sunday, everyone in attendance was pretty much unable to function, due to the hundred-degree days and nights with no sleep, but even that was all good, as fans were treated to a chilled-out closing performance by the Wailers, who performed a number of classic Bob Marley songs.

Pitchfork Music Festival
By Tricia Aung
On July 29th, I dumped my campers on another counselor and joined the flocks of thrift-store-clad hipsters en route to Pitchfork Music Festival. Set in the well-chosen Chicago’s Grant Park, the locale was large enough to comfortably accommodate 17,000 attendees, three stages, a poster exhibition, a record fair, multiple food booths, and the largest army of electric-blue porta potties I have ever seen. Despite the crowds and poor outdoor acoustics the festival featured adept entertainers who adapted to their larger audience and proved to everyone that they were at least worthy of a head bob. Although not a featured performance, Chicago-based jazz ensemble 8 Bold Souls captivated the audience with the intricacies of their songs. Another exceptional performance came from Art Brut, led by the irresistible Eddie Argos. Linking the hilarious danceable songs with sarcastic anecdotes, Argos even surprised the audience with a cover of “Kids in America.” The special guest performance of Man-Man on the mariachi section of the Walkmen’s single “Louisiana,” made it the best-performed song of the day. Great shows, new friends, and Chicago pizza made Pitchfork Music Festival a highlight of my summer.

Island Getaway Festival
By Megan Altman
To bring a close to an amazing summer, we sat on our blankets among garbage, danced with friends through clouds of smoke, and got drunk in the dirt with strangers at the two-day Island Getaway Festival. As the festival took off for its second summer in a row, endless crowds of people converged in the middle of the East River in Manhattan to sing and sweat along with the bands that jammed onstage such as The Dave Matthews Band, David Gray, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Gov’t Mule, Tea Leaf Green, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Slightly Stoopid. As each evening rolled in and a breeze came through, the Dave Matthews Band took the stage with two unforgettable performances. Robert Randolph closed out both shows although he was not the only guest appearance to bring the house down that weekend. Singer-guitarist Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes, banjo whiz Béla Fleck, and Rashawn Ross on trumpet each added their own unique sound to some of DMB’s classics such as “#41” and “Ants Marching.”