The Scene: Talk about a Chill Festival. This small little festival was tucked away far into the Catskill Mountains, at a summer camp called Camp Minglewood. It had all the makings of a lovely summer camp; cabins for campers to sleep, docks and a lake for swimming, halls for eating and gathering. This weekend, Camp Minglewood was transformed into a vendor filled, camping, music loving extravaganza. Tents were mixed with the cabins, electricity was available for coffee percolators in the morning, hot showers (yes, I said HOT showers in the cabins) and the people were friendly. So friendly. Did I mention friendly? Hugs and good mornings from strangers and friends alike. It felt like one large big happy family, who were all floating on air from music overload, shared experiences and dancing hard.
Friday: So, after a long day at work, and a longer ride up to the Catskills, getting our wristbands, parking the car, finding the cabin, and unloading, we were able to catch the evening’s last set. My friend and I found our friends and I was jonesing for some music already. We bolted from our posse and went to find the music. We made the last set of the night, Break Science. I remember there were about 300-400 people, and some very heavy beats from Mr. Adam Deitch. After I got my fill from head nodding, and some hip shaking, we went to check out the fire drum circle. Jumping through mud puddles, we checked it out, and was treated to a fire dancer twirl right next to us. I put my toes near the fire, got warmer (thankfully!) and wandered around. We went back to the cabins to chill out with my posse, check out the vendors, understand the lay of the land, and think I passed out at 3. Oh – we had bunkbeds, typical for a summer camp. It’s been a very long time since I’ve slept in bunkbeds. (side note: bring padding for bunkbeds).
Saturday: Ok, so I was hurting this morning. Between the crazy long week, the dancing and wandering till 3am, the bunk beds and waking up to the sound of the drum circle still going on, I have to admit… I was kind of hurting. If you know me, you know I am not the most lively, cordial, talkative person in the morning, and my new cabin mates learned that quickly. I found the coffee truck, bought three cups, gave one to my friend and drank the other two quickly. It helped… It was beginning to help.
The day was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky, the sun was out, the weather was a perfect 80 degrees. It was spectacular. And perfect. And very Catskill Chilling.
The Heavy Pets: I gathered myself together, took a shower, ate a bit of food (don’t remember what it was), and got myself down to the stage for The Heavy Pets. It was a really nice way to start the day. The Main Stage wasn’t packed at all – probably under 400 people. The Pets jammed, crazy guitar licks, heavy groovy bass drum, bouncy, trippy kind of music. There was room to bounce. There was room to jam. I was relaxing into the vibe of the festival – the Chill.
There was a surprise birthday party for me and a few other Virgo babies, that was completely a surprise for me. The coordination to get at least 20 people together, at a certain time at a festival is a feat in itself, but to have candles and goodie bags for the birthday boys and girls, well… all I can say is I am grateful. (And thank you, Karen.)
Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds: Wow. Hello there. I’d never seen these guys before and… wow. Rage-o-rama. Horns galore, incredible harp player, and the chick that sings – WOW. I was impressed. We had trombone, trumpet, sax, bass sax, guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, drums, singer. The horns do a great dance in sync, Sister Sparrow sings it hard – full Aretha/Whitney/Janis in your face (the chick is about 5 feet nothing and maybe weighs 25 pounds. How does that work?!?) This band is on my highlights list. They are fun. They are funky. And I danced my butt off.
Zach Deputy: Zach is always cool to watch. I love to see him overdub, sing, find a riff, overlay music on top of it. He’s a one man band, and he’s solid. Always solid. And I watch in amazement. I want to understand how/why, what are the physics of this one man overdub amazing musician? I never get my answers answered. But I do a little hip shake….and sort of surrender.
Umphrey’s McGee: By this time, the headliner of the weekend, we are READY to ROCK with Umphrey’s. All the bands have led us here, and it has been a steady rise to the evening’s incredible crescendo. The place was packed and by the second song I had guestimated about 1500 people were there, and then I realized that hippies were still streaming in. The energy was palpable, this set was going to be off the hook. With their usual 100-gazillion lights on the stage, they went deep – in typical UMG style. Bouncing, deep beats from the stage, fire dancers on the elevated side of the venue, the highlights were:
- Brendan Bayliss, the lead singer screams to the crowd, “Wow, I’ve never been here before. This is f*cking great!”
- Pink Floyd’s Breathe played to end the first set
- The crowd takes out their lighters, instead of their glowsticks, for an old school lighter-a-thon
Nothing Too Fancy > Puppet String, Der Bluten Kat, Miami Virtue, Professor Wormbog > Partyin’ Peeps, I Ran
DJ Kraz: We all went into the Club Chill part of the festival, a sort of out-of-the-way dance DJ party away from the live stages. Kraz (guitar, Soulive) spins the records, people dancin’ to the beats. I, unfortunately, jammed up my ankles from dancing so hard at UMG, I didn’t get up and boogie. I wanted to. My legs said no.
Dumpstaphunk: Dirrrty. This could have been another one of my favorite sets. I see Dumpsta on a somewhat regular basis, everytime they roll through NYC, I’m at the show. They are always funky, and always dirty, but this one, for some reason, they felt dirtier. They felt deeper, they felt all the funk from Ivan Neville, Ian Neville, Nick Daniels, and Tony Hall were on fire. SPECIAL GUESTS: Eric Krasno comes on and plays Ivan Neville’s keys, while Ivan goes to the guitar. Nikki G plays drums all night, banging on those drums, showin’ all the boys who’s in charge of the beat. Personally I think that Nikki brought something extra funky to the Dumpstaphunkers, but that’s just me. Interested to hear what others thought. I danced, just pushed through, pain and all, because this show was hot….ankles be damned.
And then I passed out… at 3am, and missed the late Wyllys show with the amazing Jennifer Hartswick. Boo.
More coming soon from the beautiful chill time, dancing my booty off on Sunday with: 7 Walkers, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Particle, John Brown’s Body, and Pimps of Joytime!