Monday, March 23, 2015

Fests Bustin' Out All Over, Here Are This Week's Offerings

Well, there is a boatload of  talent for our listening pleasure in Florida right now. Here is a look at three fests happening this weekend, one in Southwest Florida, one in the center of the state, and one just north of Jacksonville.

Safety Harbor Songfest happens in the Tampa area this weekend, March 28-29. It's $45 for a weekend pass and $25 for a single-day ticket. 

The Americana lineup is fine, indeed: 

The great percussionist Joe Craven plays Safety Harbor Songfest

This happens in the Safety Harbor Waterfront Park by the Safety Harbor Resport and Spa. This is not a camping festival, so you will have to find a place  to stay, check out the fest’s lodging, RV and primitive camping links.

Kids 12 and under are free
Railroad Earth headlines Slide Into Spring Festival

The Slide Into Spring Music and Craft Beer Festival  happens  in Northeast Florida's Fernandina Beach. (Friday March 27th 2015 from 6pm – 9pm; Saturday March 28th 2015 from 12pm – 10pm;Sunday March 29th 2015 from 1pm – 8pm)

Railroad Earth headlines, with Matisyahu, The Wailers, The Fritz, The Corbitt Brothers, Post Pluto, and amazing New York funk band Turkuaz paying, among others. 

Weekend tickets are $75, Saturday only tickets are $40 and Sunday tickets are $35. You can get a primitive camping site for $100 for up to four people  at an offsite location with a shuttle to and from the fest site  (shuttle ride is $1 and benefits local council on aging.) This is a family friendly event, also accommodates late-nighters with  after parties at local watering holes and a silent disco. 

Toubab Krewe plays Little Econ Love Fest

The Little Econ Love Fest  happens outside Lakeland (March-26-29.) This is a primitive camping festival (with showers and potties available) at Maddox Ranch. RVs are welcome but there are no hookups. 

Four-day admission is $65, single day options also available. North Carolina world-beat wonders Toubab Krewe headline the event that also features The Mud Flappers, Holey Miss Moley, S.P.O.R.E., Displace, Lucky Costello and many more local and regional acts. You can get the latest info at the event's Facebook page.This is a family friendly event with kids activities.

Here's the lineup:
Toubab Krewe
The Mud Flappers
Holey Miss Moley
Leisure Chief
Deaf Poets
Evan Taylor Jones
Fat Night
Ancient Sun
The Groove Orient
Dem Lil Econ Boyz
Lucky Costello
Bath Salt Zombies Band
The Getbye
Adi Raja
Endless Flow
Flat Land
The Welzeins
Christian Ryan Music's Solquarian Revue
Legacy Orchestra Collective
Frank Asaurus Fresh
Bear With Me
The Woolly Bushmen
Post Pluto
Sonic Graffiti
The Happy Campers
The Psychedelic Monks
The Real Clash
Shotgun Betty
We're All Gonna Die
Bengali 600
The Filthy Deniro's
Law Abiding
Chronic Kids
Apache Resistance
Sleazy Cheese
The Luna Bellum
Phoenix Tweak's Sunshine Family Band
SRA Beats

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Now Age Six, Aura Music & Arts Festival Hits Its Stride

Chuck Jones from Dopapod Jason Koerner photo.

The Aura Music & Arts Festival delivered in a big way for its sixth year. Over a beautiful weekend March 6-8, headliners moe. and The Disco Biscuits brought sophisticated, extended-play sets and mind-blowing light shows.

The setting for the main stage – Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park’s mystical moss-draped ampitheater – is one of the most beautiful venues in its own right; adding futuristic lasers and Papadosio’s crazy video screens was just about over the top.

 Jason Koerner photo.

Jason Koerner photo.
Fest organizers Daryl Wolff and Cameron Ferguson picked a nice musical roster this year with a mix of funk, jam, live electronica, and even a little bluegrass and roots music for good measure.
Aura had a really sweet vibe, with musicians mixing in the crowd, Yoga and art everywhere, hoopers and twirlers and pretty lights.

Awwww! festgrrl photo.
With about 5,000 people in the large venue, it never felt crowded – except (thankfully) on the dance floor.

Lucky us -- the Thursday night pre-party got moved out of the indoor Music Hall into the ampitheater and  featured Ghost Owl (which has members of Perpetual Groove,) Colorado funk masters The Motet, and electronic prog-rockers Dopapod.
The Motet. festgrrl photo.
moe. delivered two fine sets Friday night, heavy on the groove. They didn’t exactly break out the untz, but they did spin out some very cool dancey-trancey lines. You can check out this excellent video of an extended Bearsong-Meat jam here. (Thank you Cheesehead Productions!) The highlight of the night was a two-man extended vibe solo (check it out on the video, it starts about 24 minutes in) with guest Matt Dillon on stage.

Meet-and-greet with moe. Owleyesonyou photo.

The moe. set list Jeffrey Dupuis photo.
moe. festgrrl photo.

moe. festgrrl photo.
The Heavy Pets, Jimkata, Fusik, The Mantras, Juke, Brother Bean, Spontaneous Underground, the McLovins, Turbo Suit, Papadosio and Dopapod also played Friday night. I personally loved the “Funkin Grateful”  band made up of members of The Heavy Pets and other Florida jam bands, with excellent string player Billy Gilmore holding down lead. They presided over a nice dance party and jam in the Music Hall that had everybody smiling.

festgrrl photo.

festgrrl photo.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong pulled out the twangy jam-funk (see some of it here)  at a late night show that started at 2 a.m. in the Music Hall. After that, the dancers headed to the Silent Disco, which went until 5 a.m.

festgrrl photo.
Saturday afternoon came pretty fast, with Consider the Source kicking things off, followed by sets from Ghost Owl, Ketchy Shuby, The Motet, Lucky Costello, The Main Squeeze, Lather Up!, and The Fritz.

festgrrl photo.
Papadosio delivered an ethereal early-evening show in the ampitheater, then the crowd was off to catch Raq and the Mike Dillon Band. I caught a band I’d never heard before, a South Florida jam band called Stinky Pockets (check them out here,)  and they absolutely killed it with trumpeter/singer Emily Carroll sitting in. (Carroll had her own ensemble Sunday evening, which I heard good things about.)

festgrrl photo.
The Disco Biscuits turned in a balls-to-the-wall dance show that had the packed ampitheater boogieing from 10:30 to almost 2 a.m., just when you thought you couldn't dance anymore, well, they wouldn't let you sit down.

festgrrl photo.
So many people came to see buzzed-about New York fusion band Tauk in the Music Hall that there was a line out the door, and new people could only go in when other people left. This instrumental improvisational quartet is something to see, and Tauk drummer Isaac Teel is simply a force of nature.

Isaac Teel of Tauk. festgrrl photo.
American Babies took the Music Hall stage at 2 a.m. for those who still had steam after the Biscuits finished.

Sadly, festgrrl had to bug out early Sunday due to Real Life Concerns after a great bluegrass set by Uproot Hootenanny. Tauk, Fat Mannequin, and McLovins played through the Sunday afternoon. Killer funk band Kung Fu played early Sunday evening and the Break Science Live Band, a supergroup with members of Pretty Lights and Lettuce: featuring Jesus Coomes, Adam Smirnoff, Ryan Zoidis, and Eric Bloom, Borahm Lee and drummer Adam Deitch closed out the wonderful weekend.

festgrrl photo.
The talk later was all about The Main Squeeze’s Michael Jackson cover set Sunday afternoon - you can see one of the songs here, Aura Music & Arts Festival liked it so much they made an official video. Warning: It will make you wish you were back there right now!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt, David Grisman, Del McCoury Play Upcoming Suwannee Springfest

Lucinda Williams plays Saturday night
It's countdown time toward Suwannee Springfest, happening March 19-22 at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in  Live Oak, Fl.

This year's Americana lineup has some newcomer bands, as well as longtime heavy hitters Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt, Del McCoury and David Grisman, among others. Catch Keller Williams, the Wood Brothers, Shovels and Rope, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Hot Rize, and Larry Keel over the talent-packed weekend. One of the best songwriters in America, Verlon Thompson, plays afternoon sets on Saturday and Sunday. Also highly recommended: Shinyribs, a band started by Kevin Russell of  the late great Texas band, The Gourds. Shinyribs plays Thursday and Friday. festgrrl always stays for Sunday night's love-filled closing dance-athon with Cajun jammers Donna the Buffalo and friends.

If you buy an advanced four-day ticket, it works out to a little less than $44 a day, and that includes primitive camping right by your vehicle, people!

David Grisman plays Thursday with Del McCoury
The fest starts on Thursday, March 19. It's a lovely, low-key gathering beneath the spring blossoms with a  family-friendly vibe (kids under 12 are free) and the late-night/early morning campground picking is legendary. 

I always like to get there a day or so early so I've got time to catch some campground jams without missing the stage acts. And I always use the occasion to have my first dip of the year in the Suwannee River.

The Music Park's Suwannee River Beach
Here's a look at the lineup, and you can check out the schedule here. I've laid out the ticket prices and logistical info below the lineup for your planning pleasure.

I'll just say this now: If you're on the fence, jump over it and go. It's a gorgeous time of year, and great lineup, and remember that your only job for a couple days is to listen. 

Suwannee Springfest 2015 Lineup
Lucinda Williams
John Hiatt
Del McCoury & David Grisman
Wood Brothers
Shovels and Rope
Hot Rize with Red Knuckles and The Trailblazers
Keller Williams and The Travelin’ McCourys
The Infamous Stringdusters
Jeff Austin
Blind Boys of Alabama
Donna The Buffalo
Larry Keel Experience
Jim Lauderdale
The Duhks
Verlon Thompson
The Seth Walker Band
Town Mountain
Joe Craven
Dread Clampitt
Jon Stickley Trio
The Shook Twins
Jim White VS. The Packway Handle Band
Taylor Martin’s Acoustic Band
Ralph Roddenbery Band
Grandpa’s Cough Medicine
Virginia Dare Devils
Flagship Romance
The Applebutter Express
Sloppy Joe
Nikki Talley
Big Cosmo
Canary in the Coalmine
Grits & Soul
The Josh Daniel/Mark Schimick Project
Steve Pruett's Back from the Brink
Oak Hay
Short Straw Pickers
Sarah Mac Band
Acoustic Ensemble

Four-day tickets, which include primitive camping, are $175 advanced, $200 at the gate.

Saturday-Sunday only tickets are $130 at the gate.

Single day ticket options are also available.

Go getcha some.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Groove At Aura Music & Arts Festival This Week

Time to dance! For Aura weekend coverage (as long as the wifi holds out) visit festgrrl on Facebook and Instagram #festgrrl

The Disco Biscuits moe. , and Papadosio headline the  Aura Music & Arts Festival  this coming week, which starts Thursday evening at  Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla. The music goes on through Sunday evening, ending with a special after-fest show by Roosevelt Collier and guests.

Camping by the lake at Spirit of the Suwannee
Aura has a super-sweet vibe and a vibrant Yoga and Healing Arts program. Expect lots of hoopers and arty young folk. Three-day tickets, which include primitive camping,  are $175 advanced and $205 at the gate; Four-day tickets are $185 advanced and $215 at the gate. There are single-day options as well (they don't include camping, however)

This is the sixth year for Aura, and you can get the latest info at the festival's Facebook page. and at Twitter & Instagram: @AURAMusicFest (#AURAfest)

The Break Science Live Band will debut this year, with electronic duo Borahm Lee and Adam Deitch  joined by Lettuce’s Jesus Coomes on bass, Adam Smirnoff on guitar, Ryan Zoidis on sax and Eric Bloom on trumpet. 

The Disco Biscuits
Here's a look at the entire lineup, and you can see the schedule here:

The Disco Biscuits (two sets)
moe. (two sets)
Papadosio (two nights)
Break Science Live Band (ft. Jesus Coomes, Adam Smirnoff, Ryan Zoidis and Eric Bloom)
Kung Fu
The Heavy Pets
Consider the Source
The Main Squeeze x2 including a Tribute to Michael Jackson
American Babies
The Mike Dillon Band
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
The Mantras
The Fritz
Ghost Owl
Cosby Sweater
Brother Bean
Ketchy Shuby
Uproot Hootenanny
Funkin’ Grateful
Lather Up!
Fat Mannequin
Stinky Pockets
Artists at large: The Shady Horns

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fest in the Lovely Keys This Weekend

Virginia Key, Florida

The very fine Virginia Key Grassroots Festival happens this weekend in a park just outside Miami. Expect a buffet of world-beat groove among the palm trees for this one.

The festival showcases musical roots and food in one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet. Plus, you get to camp by a little beach! Here's a look at the lineup:

·        * Afrobeta
·        * AJ Ghent Band
·        * Big Mean Sound Machine
·        * Bobbie Henrie
·        * Brendan O’Hara
·        * Chantil Dukart
·        * Consortes
·        * Cortadito
·        * Danay Suarez
·        * Dark Water Rising
·        * DJ Bill Kelly
·        * DJ Richard McVay
·        * Donna The Buffalo
·        * Driftwood
·        * Elastic Bond
·        * Electric Piquete
·        * Ephniko
·        * Fabi World Experience
·        * Jim Lauderdale
·        * Juke
·        * Keith Frank & the Solieau Zydeco Band
·        * Keith Secola & His Wild Band of Indians
·        * Lanzallamas
·        * Lobo Marino
·        * Locos Por Juana
·        * Marco Benevento
·        * MC Yogi
·        * Morikeba Kouyate
·        * Nag Champyons
·        * Nativos Orchestra
·        * Nikki Talley
·        * Osceola Brothers
·        * Preston Frank
·        * Richie Stearns & Rosie Newton
·        * Rubblebucket
·        * School of Rock
·        * Sihasin
·        * Sindy Rush
·        * DJ Le Spam & the Spam Allstars
·        * SUENALO
·        * Swear & Shake
·        * Tamboka
·        * Telekinetic Walrus
·        * The Applebutter Express
·        * The Baboons
·        * The Blind Spots
·        * Uma Galera
·        * Uproot Hootenanny
·        * Eru Chambo
·        * WildCat Creek
·        * Zey Ta Blan

    * Zona De Bomba

Tara Nevins of Donna The Buffalo
Four-day tickets are $100 advanced, $120 at the gate (not including tax.) There are small fees for parking and camping,so it's a good idea to check the ticket link for details. Single-day ticket options are available as well, there is a discounted youth ticket price, and the littlest festers -- kids 12 and under -- are free.

festgrrl has not been fortunate enought to attend this fest but has heard great things from  her many dance-tastic correspondents!


Monday, January 26, 2015

A Florida Fest on Valentine's Weekend!

Heads up on a new camping fest outside Lakeland, Fla., happening over Valentine's Weekend!

It's Gov Fest, Feb. 12-15, four days, two stages, 35 bands, art installations, a kid's tent, yoga, workshops and campfire jams at Maddox Ranch. Weekend tickets include primitive camping and are $75 advanced, $100 at the gate. Kids 12 and under are free.

This is a fun group of people with an eclectic lineup of good performers in a laid-back environment. You can get the latest details on the festival's Facebook page.

The promoters say:  

"This is a “bring your own cooler to the stage” event, we will NOT be selling alcohol of any kind! Come prepared…. And please NO GLASS!! We will have many food and merchandise venders here set up for your shopping pleasure.There is ATM on site and also an Ice / Firewood Vender set up by the Maddox Ranch.Maddox Ranch is fully equipped with Outdoor showers to wash off whenever, we will have many port-o-johns onsite for use. No electricity is provided, but generators are welcome as long as they are properly maintained and not disruptive."

Here is the lineup:

1. Beeb’s and her Money Makers
2. Dangermuffin
3. Big Something
4. Come Back Alice 
5. Grandpa’s Cough Medicine 
6. Juanjamon Band
7. Copious Jones
8. Savi Fernandez Band
9. Stadelman Bros. (An acoustic Beatles tribute)
10. New Earth Army
11. Bath Salt Zombies
12. Donna Hopkins Band
13. Lucky Costello
14. Yamadeo
15. Displace
16. Freddys Finest
17. Rev D and the New Diggz
18. Post Pluto
19. Ajeva ( Michael Jackson Tribute)
20. Legacy Orchestra Collective
21. Future Vintage
22. Marvelous Funkshun
23. Fungus Garden Reverb
24. Holey Miss Moley
25. Flat Land
26. The Happy Campers
27. The Greenes
28. Sgammato’s Loopy for Love
29. Travis Reynolds Project
30. Currentz
31. Dropin Pickup
32. Not Tuna 
33. Row Jomah
34. The Groove Orient
35. Prison Wine
Artists at Large: Johnny Nichol, Alex Sears, Corey Peterson, Este Loves 

Just a couple more tips -- you can have a fire only if it is in a raised, contained pit or grill. No pets, golf carts, or fireworks. Kids 17 and under need an adult with them.

Other than that, all ya need is love, love, love festivarians!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Florida Deadhead Has Online Petition to Allow Camping at Chicago Shows

Florida Deadhead Jeremy Davis has started an online petition to Chicago city officials, asking them to allow camping in the parking lots around Soldier Field, where the remaining members of the Grateful Dead and special guests will  play their final three shows July 3-5 in honor of the band's 50th anniversary.

Well HELL YES Jeremy Davis! It's a high bar indeed for folks to swallow both the travel prices, ticket prices, and Chicago hotel prices, and camping would be so ... Deadhead-lot friendly.

Oh we know we will have to endure the insipid media interviews about the 1960s still being alive, blah blah, as reporters wander among the assembled Dead family. But that's the price of hanging on and making history.

Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann will be joined by Trey Anastasio (Guitar), Jeff Chimenti (Keyboards) and Bruce Hornsby (Piano), and will perform two sets of music each night.  You can get all the details about the shows at, and you can see some killer ticket mail order envelope art here.

Take a minute and sign Jeremy Davis' Soldier Field camping petition, won't you?

Finally, a "Florida man" we can be proud of!!