Umphrey's McGee

The inaugural Sacred Rose Fest is less than 2 weeks away. For the first time ever there will be a weekend full of music as diverse as the Grateful Dead in its current form. Phil Lesh playing with Nels Cline and Jeff Tweedy as well as Karl Denson, Stu Allen, Grahame Lesh, Jeff Chimenti, and Elliott Peck all in one headlining slot!?! Khruangbin, JRAD, Umphrey’s McGee, Disco Biscuits, Lotus, Elliott Peck’s Midnight North, Holly Bowling, and the Gone Gone Beyond are kicking it all off?!? The list is exciting and inviting.

To kick off their “New Wings” music video, perennial improv-rock favorites Umphrey’s McGee turn to a George Lucas-esque setup before the tape rolls:

“It is March 2020. The world has entered a pandemic lockdown. EVERYONE IS HOME. After 22 years, Umphrey’s McGee is unable to tour. Amidst the global chaos, they reach out to each other, and to their fans. To do this, they must spread NEW WINGS.”

Where to even begin when trying to tell you about the last ever Northwest String Summit? To put into words what this last gathering was, and the effect that this festival has had on the Northwest over the last 20 years is nearly impossible. After three long years of waiting out a pandemic, this gathering was what everyone’s heart needed. It truly was a labor of love, and you could feel it in every corner of the venue.

In the twenty-four years since eclectic improv-rock band Umphrey’s McGee formed, their sound has been an amalgamation of genres, moods, and tempos, effortlessly flowing from one feeling to the next throughout an album or concert—or sometimes within a singular song.

Rock behemoths Umphrey’s McGee descended upon the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado this Friday for their first of two shows, delivering an all-encompassing set of classics, new tunes, sit-ins and covers, including an emotional rendition of the Queen and David Bowie classic “Under Pressure” featuring the great Jennifer Hartswick of Trey Anastasio Band on vocals.

In Umphrey’s McGee’s never ending quest to provide their fanbase with the most unique live and recorded musical experiences, the band has adopted, or in most cases, developed, a quiver of show- and album-enhancing tools for fans.

Pulling into Summer Camp for my first time I couldn’t help but feel a bit apprehensive. Everything I’ve read or seen on the web says “It’s an amazing fest… as long as it doesn’t rain“ Yet, here I was, pulling up to the gate on Friday morning after 3 solid days of precipitation. Stepping out of my jeep into the parking lot I immediately sunk into the mud up to my ankles and thought to myself “Welp, I guess it’s time to get dirty!” 

Cabin fever is revived and revved up to an 11. This summer is finally showing itself, both societally and weather permitting. Let’s kick it off on Memorial Day weekend and see some music! My app is downloaded, I’ve scribbled down which sets I want to go to, and now comparing notes with friends, I still can’t decide which is my best option. It’s all posted online because it is time for Summer Camp 2022! It’s Sunshine, Moonshine, Soulshine, and Starshine stages to rage your face off.

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