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Festival Reviews

Speed of Sound 2016 Festival Review

August 16, 2016

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Name: Speed of Sound
Location: Dutchess County Airport – Wappingers Falls, NY
Dates: August 7, 2016

Lineup: This years lineup featured Nicole Atkins, Swear and Shake, Fiction of the future, Rayland Baxter, Simone
Felice and the headliners The Lumineers. To be honest, I decided I was going to this festival very last minute.
By last minute I mean I got an Air bnb at about 3PM, bought a ticket, packed my bag and headed out. Due to traffic
and lack of transportation in Wappingers Falls I caught the end of Simone Felice’s set and all of The Lumineers.

Crowd: What can I say? An excellent vibe was brought to Speed of Sound by the crowd that attended. The first people
I talked to were from a town in New York about 45 minutes away. We bonded over the excesively long beer line which was gladly broken up by a golf cart stacked with 30 packs. Can’t complain when you are drinking a beer
while waiting in line for beer. (Thanks, Ryan!)


Security: Normal check bags and a pat down. Nothing crazy here.

Green: No plastic. No plastic water bottles, no plastic cups, no beer cans and no waste. I love the intiative that
Speed of Sound took this year to reduce the festival waste. If you have ever seen festival and camping grounds after
the festival has ended, you will know why this is such a good thing. By not using plastic, 11,300 plastic water bottles
and 8,500 plastic beer cups were not used. Instead of plastic the festival sold aluminum beer cups which were $10 for the first fill and then around $6 to refill depending on which beer you fancy. For water, you could either bring in your (empty) reusable water bottle or purchase one from the festival. A big round of applause for the green initiative!

The Music: Simone Felice sounded excellent from the beer line. After his set there was about a 30 minute wait until The Lumineers came on. Let me tell you, it was worth the hassle I had of getting to the festival to listen to The Lumineers. They opened with a track from their new album Cleopatra called Sleep On The Floor. Definitely one of the top songs on the album. To my surprise they came next with the popular song you may have heard on the radio, Ophelia. The crowd roared out with lead singer Wesley Schultz singing with him “Oh, Ophelia you’ve been on my mind girl since the flood.”They kept the crowd going with hits such as their title song from the new album, Cleopatra as well as songs from their first self titled album that included, Flowers in your hair, Dead Sea, Big Parade, Submarines and Charlie Boy. Next up was a surprise when the band accompanied by Simone Felice walked out to a smaller stage in the middle of the crowd and performed their a track from the deluxe edition of Cleopatra called Where The Skies Are Blue. Half the crowd rushed towards that stage while I took the opportunity to get closer to the main stage they were going to walk back to right after the song was over. Before the final song they played a few more from Cleopatra which included my personal favorite, Angela. I wish I could pinpoint what is so special about this song but I can’t, it just feels right. The Lumineers ended with their most popular song, Stubborn Love. The crowd really got into this one as if they thought the louder they sang, the longer they were going to play. I agreed, I didn’t want it to end. The Lumineers capture emotions through song so beautifully that it leaves you knowing that there is something very special about them. I am so grateful to have been able to see them spread that beauty with their music.



Festival Reviews

Mysteryland 2016 Review

June 14, 2016

Name: Mysteryland US
Location: Bethel Woods, NY
Dates: June 10 – 13, 2016

Lineup: This years lineup inlcuded a range of electronic artists with Odesza, Skrillex and Bassnectar
headlining the 3 day festival. And then there was Young Thug – to be mentioned later in the article.

Stages: There were 5 stages all together which included a boat, tent, main stage and two smaller stages. The sound
engineers did an excellent job setting up the stages so that there was no cross interference of music between them.
It may have also helped that the main stage was basically at the bottom of a basin. This actually helped to create
what I would call an ampitheatre feel.

Crowd: Before the 2016 festival, Mysteryland announced that they were changing to 19+ but keeping the 21+ holy grounds camping. This didn’t really seem to effect the festival at all, or at least in my experience. There was an overwhleming sense of Nomads being able to express their truest self, the feeling that festivals are known to bring about. Walking around the venue you could actually feel the atmosphere of acceptance being surrounded by total strangers and the idea that people were free to be who and what they wanted. This is one of the many perks of Mysteryland. Escape to a land where you can free your inner being.

Security: I heard mixed reviews on the security. On Saturday I walked right in without anyone checking my bag or
patting me down. Other nomads said that they had their bags searched and a nice pat down when entering the festival. Either way, nothing over the top.

Food: I had a burger on Saturday. Nothing in particular stuck out about it besides its price tag but whats new.

Landers Campground: We camped out at Landers Campground about 25 minutes down the road from the festival grounds and let me tell you, I think it was definitely a good choice. With the exception of a few employees, everyone that was there was super nice. We had a beautiful spot right on the river which unfortunately, we never got to jump into. They hadplenty of shuttles running through out the day and the last shuttle back to the campgrounds left the venue 1 hour after the last set ended. Hats of to Landers for giving Nomads a great place to stay over the weekend.

The Music: The always solid Floozies started our day off right getting the juices flowing on the main stage. Switching it up a bit, Black Tiger Sex Machine brought the bass during the sunset on the Boat stage which the crowd seemed to really get into. I had never seen them before and I must say I was thoroughly impressed. The. Chainsmokers. Yes, you all know them from the song that blew them up, #SELFIE but they are so far past that and really just taking the scene by storm. They threw down with their new songs Roses and Dont Let Me Down and even mixed in some Third Eye Blind. The energy they put into their sets can be felt through out the entire crowd. I would say they are a must see at this point.

Now, maybe I was just confused by Young Thugs performance (if you can even call it that) and everyone else thought it was normal but I don’t see how that is possible. My best guess would say that he was on stage for about 9 minutes. He “sang” a couple songs that were not even his and then just appeared to leave. Young Thug, what’s up with that dude? Not that I’m complaining. As a matter a fact I was stoked about it. Skrillex came on earlier and played until his scheduled set was over.

*Discloure* First time seeing Skrillex. I have been waiting to see him for years now and was so pumped to finally have the opportunity. It was everything I was expecting and hoping for. I’m talking every bass hitting drop made me loose it. I didn’t stop dancing the entire time he was on. The screen behind him was a live feed view of his back and the entire crowd. I had never seen that before and thought that was dope to see what was happening from a different view. His set left me feeling like I could go for many more hours. I wanted more but unfortunately that was the last scheduled set of the night.



Festival Reviews

Mountain Jam 2016 Review

June 8, 2016


Name: Mountain Jam

Location: Hunter Mountain, NY
Dates: June 2 – 5, 2016
Although there was an artist cancellation, it seems as though Saturday was the day to be at Mountain Jam,
the annual festival held on Hunter Mountain in New York. I was planning on making the 2.5 hour drive from Connecticut early enough to make it by noon but of course I was running a bit behind. No way I was making Ratboy Jr. at 9:15 am. I arrived at the North South Campgrounds where I was crashing that night around 3:00 PM. (I somehow forgot a pillow and blanket – yea I have no idea how either – and had to stop at walmart). Got everything set up at camp and grabbed a taxi to the festival. After the 15 minute drive with Brian, who was the provider of the first bought of entertainment that day, I was in the festival and listening to The Record Company on the Mountain Stage.

Apparently, because of the Gary Clark Jr. cancellation due to family issues, The Record Company was moved onto the much larger Mountain Stage. Even singer Chris Vos announced that the Mountain Stage was the biggest they have ever played on and most likely the biggest crowd they have played for. You would have never guessed it. Well, besides when Vos dropped his guitar and most likely broke it on stage. Other than that little mix up, The Record Company owned the large Mountain Stage and provided Jammers with a set to remember. Or at least to look up their music.

At the end of The Record Companies set I walked around (and up) the festival grounds to take it all in. The first oddity I found was the much smaller Valley Stage was set up right next to the main mountain stage. I guess having a festival on a mountain you can only put those things in so many places. I found out later that the third stage was actually indoors in the ski lodge. One other component of Mountain Jam that that was very evident was the family atmosphere. I don’t think I have ever seen more kids at a festival. I’m talking babies in strollers to little kids that walk on their own. My best guess on an age range for attendees at Mountain Jam would be 6 months to 72. This is what makes Mountain Jam special. It is about all ages coming together to celebrate great music and to actually listen and enjoy the music. It isn’t about drugs or getting messed up – although there was still plenty of that, made very evident by the women in front of me at Lettuce who took two tabs of acid – it’s about the MUSIC and that is the way it should be.

Next up was Warren Haynes who was taking the place of the aforementioned Gary Clark Jr. We’re not sure what happened that caused Clark to cancel but we are sending him and him family good vibes and ask that you do the same! Now if you don’t know who Warren Haynes is, you should probably get on that. Haynes is best known for being the guitarist in The Allman Brothers as well as the founder of Gov’t Mule. He also happens to be a co organizer of Mountain Jam. Jammers were definitely dissapointed hearing of Gary Clark Jr.’s cancellation but it seemed that the crowed thoroughly enjoyed Haynes hour long acoustic set that included songs from Gov’t Mule, The Dead, George Harrison and U2.

After Warren Lettuce got funky on the side Valley Stage. I wanted to be close for Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats who were playing on the Mountain Stage next so I caught Lettuce from an angle. The crowd began to pack in in front of the Valley Stage and before the second song there was already lettuce flying through the air. Yes, someone had a head(s) of lettuce and was launching the leafy green up in the air.

When Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats came on the crowd really started to get dense down low. Still with room to dance which was nice. Their set included crowd favorites such as Howling at the Moon, Shake, I Need Never Get Old, Trying So Hard Not To Know and Wasting Time. They also played two brand new songs which seemed to please the crowds ears. I also have to mention Wesley Watkins on the trumpet. The dude danced his a** off for the entire set and when I say entire set I mean he never stopped, even when he wasn’t playing. He must have gumbi legs because those things were moving! Not to mention he is an excellent trumpet player to boot. At the end of the set, Rateliff and The Night Sweats closed with the crowd favorite, S.O.B. Let me tell you it was an all out dance party. I’m sure you could hear the crowd’s “woah-oh-oh”s at the top of the mountain. All and all, even after a harrowing experiencing getting to Mountain Jam, which Rateliff must have mentioned at least three times through out the set, the energy they put out gave them one of the best performances of the day.

It started to get to that point in the day where I knew it was time to eat or I was not going to eat at all. Most of
Houndmouth’s set was missed due to a pulled pork sandwich (hold the slaw). It was mediocre, Houndmouth probably would have been more pleasing. Before I was thinking about getting something else to eat or having another Goose Island IPA, Beck was coming on stage. Well, we thought he was. It took him about 15 minutes but better late than never, right?

If you have ever seen a performer having genuine fun on stage then you can picture what Beck looked like through his entire set. He gave the crowd covers of both Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” and MJ’s “Billie Jean”. His set seemed to fly by although in reality it was one hour and 45 minutes. I was a bit surprised he didn’t play his brand new song “Wow” that he released three days prior but he made up for it with his “Where Its At” closer. The song was released 20 years that day in 1996 but he played it like it was a new hit single. The best part of the closing song was that in the middle he
introduced every band member and the party kept going. What can I say, the guy likes to have fun and get the crowd to have fun with him.

The late night sets were brought to us by Thievery Corporation and Lettuce. There was an oddly long break between
Beck and Thievery Corporation so my buddy and I found a couple empty hammocks and passed out until their rightful owners came by and woke us up. (We assumed they were set up by the festival) In somewhat of a dreamlike state we danced away to Thievery Corporations funky-reggae-acid-jazz-Brazilian-electronic music. They brought out different singers throughout their set and kept the late night crowd going. Luckily Lettuce played inside the ski lodge
because it started to absolutely down pour. My buddy woke up in his tent in a puddle the next morning with about 10
gallons of water on top of his tent.

Overall, Mountain Jam was a huge success. Not a festival that I’m necessarily used to with but a very welcoming one at that. It was so very refreshing to see an older crowd who was there to actually listen and enjoy the music. Bringing families and community together is what differentiates Mountain Jam from the rest of the fleet. Jammers young and old will be enjoying the sounds echoing from the Catskills for years and years to come.




Festival Reviews

How it started

May 21, 2016

Who wouldn’t want to go to a handful of a different music festivals through out the spring and summer to take photos and write about their experience? I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty great to me.

I’m sitting here on the train heading to work attempting to pin point the very first time I thought of starting a venture such as this. There is one documentary that I recall watching called “No Cameras Allowed” about a young kid that snuck into over 50 music festivals. I remember one time he sat in a port-o-potty for an unreal amount of time in order to deter detection. Anyways, I am going to say this is what got me started on this whole idea. (PS go check out the documentary, its pretty cool and obviously a bit inspiring)

A few months ago something in me rekindled the same desire I felt after watching that documentary. Festival
season was quickly approaching. I had to buy a new car and move into a new apartment closer to work. That didn’t leave
much room for festival money. As we all know, they aren’t cheap. So, I started thinking of ways to get in for free.
I could try to sneak in like the kid in the documentary. That was pretty risky and driving all the way to festival just
to get kicked out didn’t sound great to me. DING DING DING. Take pictures, write about the festival, START A BLOG.

Well, I didn’t have a blog…or a camera….or ever write a blog article, but how could I let that get in the way of
going to all the festivals I wanted to go to? So, I emailed about 10 festivals asking for press credentials. At this point
you are probably thinking to yourself, how is he going to trick ANYONE into thinking he should have any reason to get
press credentials into these festivals? Don’t worry I was thinking the same exact thing. I bought the domain name but had no other internet presence. Most people that got back to me asked how they could get to the blog because, well, they  couldn’t find it. Shocker.

After some denials and one hopeful lead, I thought to myself, why don’t I just actually do this!? I have experience in the
web development industry and was actually just talking to a friend about a new venture in that industry. I am actually going to make a blog and maybe it will work!

So, without hestitation I made this website and started a blog. New England Music Festivals. (How that domain name was available is still a bit shocking to me)

For now, I am going to make it to as many festivals as I can and write about them. Take photos when I can and write about my experience. I want to share with you the culture, vibes and experience each festival distills in me. You can take this information how you see fit and maybe it will help you out in deciding what New England Music Festival you want to attend.




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