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Posts Tagged ‘music festivals’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Just about every year, I head into New Jersey for Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival. It’s a festival that boasts delicious southern home cooking and music – mostly blues, zydeco, and funk. This year, the acts were good, but I’d have to say that one stood out more than the rest. It is here that I introduce you to Joanne Shaw Taylor, a blues guitarist from the UK.

Listening to her music, you’d think that she grew up down south or at least had a direct blood line to Stevie Ray Vaughan AND Jimi Hendrix. This girl can play. Flipping her hair around the stage, she drew me in with a cover of Manic Depression by Hendrix. Her solo was just about as good as Jimi’s easily.

She went into some of her own music and the audience she had gathered under the tent grew exceedingly by the time she was done with her set. But enough of me yabbering on about how good she was. See for yourself:

Taylor is currently undergoing an extensive international tour with performances in New York, Pennsylvania, Finland, and Sweden. It’s a lot of traveling, but the exposure will certainly help her sell her talent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this girl go mainstream within a year.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Bonnaroo. It’s the coolest, hippest music festival that everyone LOVES to go to. It’s a real MUST SEE for music lovers everywhere. But not me. I’ll pass.

I wouldn’t call myself a Bonnaroo old schooler, but my appreciation for the festival definitely happened in its earlier years: 2005 and 2006. Making the trek from Pennsylvania to Tennessee was no easy shuffle, but it was worth it to see so many famous jam bands and acts all in one place.

Some of my favorite acts from those years were Toots and the Maytals, Keller Williams, Steel Pulse, Tom Petty, and Phil Lesh.

When I was a Bonnaroo-er, everyone was peaceful, including the musicians. It was all about having a great time in a nonviolent way and truly connecting with the music. There were never bands on the lineup like GWAR, Jay-Z, or Dropkick Murphys. When you incorporate this kind of music into a peaceful festie, the whole vibe is overhauled and violence is introduced.

Now, the tone for Bonnaroo has changed dramatically. It no longer remains a haven for hippies and jam band fans. With the inclusion of more ‘hardcore acts,’ the scene is just like any other rock festival. Remember Woodstock ’99? Fans, reportedly out of control by all the intense music, decided it would be a great idea to light things on fire and rape women. I can only hope Bonnaroo doesn’t end up that way.

Other than those ‘harder acts’ mentioned above, the complete list of new performers coming in 2010 can be found on Bonnaroo’s artist line-up website. While there are a few bands that look great to me, most I can live without seeing. There is no going back for this festival. It won’t return to the way it was, but I guess that’s just evolution.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Well, gee. I didn’t know Willie Nelson had his own Sirius satellite radio station. The old timer’s radio spot is called Willie’s Place and you can find all of his favorite music, including his own.

Help Willie Nelson in his campaign to save farms. Photo from 1019rxp.com.

Help Willie Nelson in his campaign to save farms. Photo from 1019rxp.com.

Tomorrow, Willie will be playing all of Farm Aid 2009 in its entirety on the station. The event will kick off at 2 pm, so make sure you’re near your satellite radio (or your friend’s or family member’s). Some of the featured performances will be from Willie himself, along with Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, and Wilco.

So what is Farm Aid, you may ask. The concert is put on every year to promote awareness for farming communities and local farms. Too many farmers are forced to sell their land or cannot farm during hard times, especially like the hard times we have experienced this year. 

This will be the twenty-fourth concert since the idea was first brought to light in 1985. The concert was originally started by Willie, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp.

Willie Nelson also has his own thoughts on Farm Aid. Give his Farm Aid letter a read.

The Farm Aid website (linked above as “Farm Aid 2009”) also has information on how you can donate, if you’re so inclined to do so. What these musicians are doing is a great thing to help give back to a community that needs help. Without farms, where would we get our delicious fruits and veggies, milk and cheese, hamburgers and hot dogs? (OK, I’m going a little overboard, but you get the point.)

Tune in to Willie’s Place tomorrow at 2pm for a great bunch of performances. It’s all for a good cause!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

As promised, today I will be giving you a review of the Bethel Woods Harvest Festival and Mountain Jam. Now, if only it had been nicer weather! The entire day, it misted rain, which made things a little harder to navigate, but still great. Luckily, everything was under tents.

Well let me start by saying that Bethel Woods is such a beautiful place to go. Even if you’re not going to the Woodstock museum, you can walk the site of the original Woodstock. It’s expansive and you’ll be hiking around the hills of Yasgur’s farm for hours. By the way, the museum costs $13! (But worth every penny, I’m sure.)

It must have taken quite some time to graffiti this Bug! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

It must have taken quite some time to graffiti this Bug! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The Harvest Festival was very much like a large farmer’s and artisan market. There were displays of handcrafted quilts made by local seamstresses, an auction for some pretty neatly painted tables, and many interesting things to look at. My favorite was a painted VW Bug sitting in the middle of the field.

The tables of farmers was far more than I expected. Here’s a brief list of what was being sold that day: lettuce, cheeses, wine, peppers, apples, pumpkin, apple cider, soups, breads, squash, gourds, candies, sauces, and flowers. There were even some cool looking sugar cookies in the shapes of peace signs. How appropriate.

The farmer’s market portion of the Harvest Festival actually happens every Sunday. Here is a complete list of vendors.

Not only did the Festival have good food. It also had activities, too. There was a fun little corn maze to get lost in, which I definitely had to do. The corn was so tall I felt like I was in the jungle. There were also musician workshops and mini jam sessions for those interested.

Pumpkins, gourds, and veggies, oh my! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Pumpkins, gourds, and veggies, oh my! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The shuttle bus ran from the Harvest Festival area up to the museum. The ride along the way was great! Our groovy bus driver pointed out famous Woodstock spots, like the skinny dipping pond and the area where the original stage once was.

Thank goodness for those tents — the bluegrass bands that played needed the cover to perform. They managed to grab the attention of many festival-goers, and some even sat out in the rain to watch them play. Unfortunately, the audience seating was not under a tent, so some people were deterred from the music.

To wrap this up, I highly recommed checkout out the Farmer’s Market next Sunday. You’ll be so glad you did because of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables you’ll come home with. Also, do the museum, too. Any Woodstock fan would be highly stoked, maaaan.

 

 

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

For those of you lucky Phish phans going to Festival 8, you might be pleased to know that the band has officially announced its plans for setlists. The festival is three days long and there will certainly be no shortage of music. The band plans to play eight different sets during the three days.

Here is what seems to be shaping up as the official lineup:

Friday (10/30/09)

  • 4 pm: Concert field opens
  • 7:30 pm: Set 1
  • 10 pm: Set 2

Saturday (10/31/09)

  • 12 pm: Concert field opens
  • 3pm: Set 1
  • 7:30 pm: the Halloween Set (please don’t pick Thriller as your cover album)
  • 10 pm: Set 3

Sunday (11/1/09)

  • 10 am: Concert field opens
  • 12 pm: Acoustic Set
  • 5:30 pm: Set 2
  • 8:30 pm: Set 3

I know what you’re thinking. Did I read right? Are they really doing an all acoustic set? Yup, you got it. For the first time ever in the history of Phish performances, they have decided to go unplugged for the masses. They are starting the set at the crack of noon on Sunday, so make sure you still have energy left after your first two days of partying.

And yes, the Halloween Set usually includes some fun costumes and a good time. Phish picks one album from another artist and covers many songs from it during that time. There has been quite some speculation that this year, they will go with Thriller. I think that might be a bit much.

Phish performing at Saratoga Springs, NY. Photo by Dave Vann.

Phish performing at Saratoga Springs, NY. Photo by Dave Vann.

Check out the Phish Blog for more Phish news, ticket availability, and other important information.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Be sure to check out the free festival this weekend. Photo from bethelwoodscenter.org.

Be sure to check out the free festival this weekend. Photo from bethelwoodscenter.org.

Even though it’s still summer, it certainly feels more like fall. Many autumn changes have begun to take place everywhere. The leaves are beginning to change colors, farm stands now have pumpkins, gourds, and apples for sale, and you can even see your breath on cold nights.

I’d say it’s a good time for a nice Harvest Festival.

This upcoming weekend, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will be having their Harvest Fest on Sunday from 11 to 4 pm. (To reiterate on previous blog posts, Bethel Woods is the original site of Woodstock 1969.) The venue will be calling their celebration the Mountain Music Festival, as they will be hosting various bluegrass and old time American music performers throughout the day.

The musicians providing free music are: Jesse Kitzmiller, Anne Loeb and Mike Baglione, Two Steps Back, North Country, and D.R.E.A.M Tank Tub Band.

This is actually the 11th annual Harvest Festival for the town, and it also includes a farmers market (which happens to be open every Sunday). Besides that, there are arts and crafts, pony rides, scarecrows, corn mazes and various workshops.

This FREE festival certainly is offering a lot. It would be silly not to go! I’ll follow this up with a review when I get back this weekend. 🙂

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Well, first thing’s first….I’m back! After a long month away from a computer, I have finally re-emerged from the darkness and have seen the light of the wonderful internet. (Funny how we rely so much on technology to live our lives, huh?)

Anyway, I will get right into the next post. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Delaware Water Gap’s 32nd annual COTA Festival, or Jazzfest, as known by the locals. Each year, surrounding local musicians get together and put on a three day festival in the heart of the Poconos, right next to the beautiful Delaware River.

The great thing about this festival is that there is so much talent in it. The local jazz musicians in the Poconos are not just any musicians — many of them are known worldwide for their great musicianship and virtuosity. Take, for example, Phil Woods, famous saxophonist who has played with many known musicians. He is also the co-founder of the COTA Festival.

Or what about Bob Dorough? You may not know his name, but you’ll know his music…conjuction, junction, what’s your function? That’s right. He wrote all the music for Schoolhouse Rock. And what a great performer he is!

Dave Leibman hits a high note at the COTA Festival. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Dave Leibman hits a high note at the COTA Festival. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

And I also want to mention Dave Leibman, a very talented, often obscure jazz saxophonist who played with many performers throughout the festival.

Perhaps two of the most interesting performances came from a local drummer named Bill Goodwin and a well-known singer named Nellie McKay. Bill Goodwin and his group performed several interesting Thelonius Monk songs, while Nellie McKay danced and dazzled her audience with her cute singing and daydreamy lyrics.

While all that music was happening, local artists gathered their best works and put them on display in tents just outside the stage area. There were photos from previous years at the festival, beautiful pieces of handmade jewelry, and even lamps made out of antique instruments. If you got tired of sitting on the hillside, you could just wander down the street to the artisans and check out their goodies.

And the food — oh! The falafel sandwiches, ice cream, and black beans with chicken and rice. Mmmm.

All in all, this year’s festival was a musical success. It may be slowly losing money, but jazz lovers in the Pocono Mountains will never let this festival die. Thanks to all the contributors throughout all three days!

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