Picture it: The most beautiful outdoor festival grounds at Planet Bluegrass in stunning Lyons, Colorado. Three days full of world-class musicians from around the globe. 5,000 of your new best friends. For music lovers, this is a dream come true.
The epic music extravaganza this past weekend was beyond stellar. I loved all the music, and the following were my favorites:
Dark Star Orchestra is holding their seventh annual Dark Star Jubilee festival this coming Memorial Day May 25-27 at the venue which is now known as Legend Valley, in Thornville, Ohio. Back in 1993, it was known as Buckeye Lake Music Center, and on June 11, the Grateful Dead rolled into town. Nearly 25 years to the date, and at the same location, Dark Star Orchestra will be recreating the original band’s historic set during one of the night at The Jubilee in a rare, advanced announcement for the band to confirm a show they’re playing.
What a magical weekend it was indeed at the Dark Star Jubilee. Each year is just as good as the last if not better. I had the honor of attending this festival for the fourth year in a row out at Legend Valley, Ohio over Memorial Day weekend. There are so many positive things to be said about this festival. It is a world of its own filled with beautiful music, positive people, smiles in every direction, and of course Grateful Dead Tunes.
Commercial success is a tough concept to toy with for many bands in their breakthrough moment. How do you compromise your stylistic integrity and what you want to play versus what a major record label or mainstream audiences are thought to expect out of pop music? It ruins the authenticity of certain bands willing to make that sacrifice. The braver bands with stronger roots and integrity can withstand such temptations, doing things their own way, and still gaining mainstream popularity and success on their own terms.
The String Cheese Incident celebrated its 20th anniversary as a Boulder band during a three-day New Year’s Eve run at the 1st Bank Center. Out of all the big name jambands that got their start in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I can say with certitude that SCI has evolved the most from its incipient incarnation. On its first night, it opened with a Sgt.
Saturday saw some true veteran acts of NedFest returning for the 14th year. San Francisco jam-band New Monsoon returned to Colorado after an extended hiatus from national touring (people get married, have kids, you know?) I used to see New Monsoon a few times a year in Colorado back in the mid 2000s.
Los Lobos played an intimate acoustic performance on Friday night at the Boulder Theater. The Mexican-American rock and roll band who are probably best known for their work on the “La Bamba” soundtrack brought the house down, but had a bit of a hard time keeping the show fully acoustic. The theater broke out the auxiliary chair stash for the performance, filling in the normally empty floor section.