Entries in music festival (2)


Eaux Claires Music Festival 2016

The second Eaux Claires festival (Eaux Claires "Deux") really got underway back in February. Fans who preordered tickets to the festival without knowing who would be on the lineup were rewarded with a literal cassette mixtape of songs handpicked by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of The National. This genius marketing move announced the lineup in a clever way and helped build buzz through word of mouth as the follow-up to last year's inaugural Eaux Claires approached. Patrons who attended last years festival (myself included) looked forward to this iteration with anticipation. And, a few hiccups aside, the second Eaux Claires really exceeded expectations.
Aaron Dessner of The NationalBon Iver
    There were some big name headliners, to be sure, and we'll get to those in a bit. But this festival was really the year of experimentation for many artists. A few members of The National and Beirut teamed up as LNZNDRF, Aaron Dessner performed with Lisa Hannigan (no National this year), and a powerhouse combination of The National, PhosphorescentLNZNDRF, Lisa Hannigan and Richard Parry of Arcade Fire, and more paid tribute to The Grateful Dead.

    No experiment was bigger than Bon Iver's revealing, and subsequent performance of, their new album 22, A Million. A clear departure from their previous efforts, the new album replaces many of the building horns and percussion with synths and saxes, Vernon's vocals less ethereal falsetto than staccato and synthesized. Technical sound problems aside, this was a soaring unveiling. Each song on the new album is brief and succinct, ending almost mid-stride. It will be interesting to hear how this translates to the headphones.
    The rain soaked day one of the festival had many highlights before Bon Iver's closing. Phosphorescent Vince Staplespeppering old material with new, as a cover of This Land Is Your Land led seamlessly into the showstopping Song for Zula. Vince Staples mixed tracks from his Summertime '06 and Hell Can Wait projects, successfully igniting the crowd with energy before ending his set with a mashup of Summertime and Blue Suede Park. LNZNDRF took to one of the side stages to introduce many newcomers to songs from their self-titled effort, and James Blake's somber keys served as a perfect soundtrack as the day gave way to night and the rain kept falling.

    While one could argue that day two of the festival was lighter on star power, it'd be tough to convince anyone that it didn't match the highlights of the first day. Case in point: Mavis Staples. Just as Charles Bradley in the first year, Mavis delivered perhaps the most energy of any performer despite being one of the oldest. She had the crowd eating out of her hand, and by the time Lucius joined her on stage, it was game over.
Mavis Staples
    Jenny LewisElsewhere, Jenny Lewis (also joined by Lucius - man they really earned their paycheck at the festival) effortlessly delivered a beautiful set, Lucius continued to show why they are one of the most in demand bands in the world right now by putting on a typically flawless show, and Har Mar Superstar had a crowd of thousands dancing happily to his infectious melodies. (Editor's Note: we were able to sit down with Har Mar at the festival for an interview, which will be forthcoming). Seattle was represented, too, as Shabazz Palaces packed The Dells stage to max capacity, the crowd eating up their bass-heavy, spaced out blend of hip hop.

    Perhaps the biggest letdown of the festival was Erykah Badu's heavily, heavily truncated set. Scheduled to start at 8:45, fans grew restless as 9 approached with no sign of her. Then 9:10. Then 9:20. It wasn't until 9:25 that she finally took the stage, to the clear dismay of many in the audience. Scheduled to end at 10:15, she sort of just…disappeared from the stage right before 10. No doubt about it: when she sings, she's one of the most transcendent voices alive, and an impeccable performer. The roughly 30 minutes she did manage to perform were quite special. But when folks are expecting well over an hour set, performing for less time than practically everyone else at the festival can't help but end up being a colossal disappointment.

    Still, the festival ended on a high note as Chance the Rapper saved the day by making a surprise appearance for Francis and the Lights' festival closing set. (What can't that guy do?) Couple that with the many phenomenal aforementioned performances, copious delicious food vendors, bathrooms and water stations aplenty, and abundance of community, camaraderie, and charm, and Eaux Claires has something special going on. Maybe there's something in the water, but if there is indeed a third Eaux Claires, you and everyone you know would be highly encouraged to return to the river.



Photos // Words by Alexander Hallett


T​weed River Music Festival​ - 2015

Tweed River Music Festival is less a showcase for bands and more a celebration of everything great music embodies: the deeply personal link between artist and fan, the spirit of community and cooperation, and yes, the magical atmosphere of a great show in an indescribable setting. After taking a breather in 2014, this year's music and arts camping festival ­­ the sixth overall ­­ arrives this summer revitalized, re­imagined and packed with incredible performers. Of course, loyal patrons will still find a boutique festival offering an experience that major music festivals simply cannot achieve.

Set on a bucolic swath of land nestled between the Green and Northfield Mountains in the Mad River Valley in Waitsfield, VT, the 2015 Tweed River Music Festival will host more than 30 acts, including staples such as B ow Thayer, Tim Gearan, Andrea Gillis, White Dynomite a nd T he Curtis Mayflower, while also welcoming B loodshot Records r ecording artist L ydia Loveless, Vermont natives W aylon Speed, A lligator Records recording artist (and Boston native) J esse Dee. Other great musical acts include J oe Fletcher, JP Harris and The Wrong Reasons, Caitlin Canty and A NTI Records recording artist C hristopher Paul Stelling.
From wood­fired pizza to Heady Topper IPA, Tweed will also offer the finest in food trucks and handmade crafts, along with a world­class beer and wine garden. A family­friendly event, there are performances specifically designated for children like the N o Strings Marionette and P uppetree, as well as a variety of games and activities throughout the grounds.

EVENT: Tweed River Music Festival 2015

WHAT: More than 30+ bands at a weekend music and arts camping festival
WHEN: July 31­Aug. 2, 2015

WHERE: 3337 Main Street Waitsfield, VT
PRICE: $160 for full­weekend camping passes; individual day passes also available. Free for children under 12 FULL INFORMATION: tweedrivermusicfestival.com

* * * T W E E D  H I S T O R Y * * *

Founded in 2009 by musicians Bow Thayer and Jeremy Moses Curtis, Tweed River Music Festival has grown from a backyard 4th of July party into a summer festival that showcases the rich musical scene in greater New England as well as nationally signed touring acts. Past lineups have included notable artists such as Booker T, Dopapod and Caravan of Thieves. Even a full­length documentary movie has been made in the name of Tweed!
Curtis and Thayer have decades of experience playing some of the biggest music festivals in both America and abroad and have witnessed the ever­changing landscape of the music industry first hand. Along with their fellow members in Tweed River Productions LLC, they have taken those observations and distilled them into an atmosphere that caters both to fans and musicians and their families, as well. “ When the division between the fans and musicians is removed and the two can exist together as a true community, an experience is created for both that is like no other,” C urtis says. This is the magic of which you will hear every Tweed fan speak.
While spirits and energy run high, the three­day event has an uncanny ability to maintain safety for all, through the cooperation of organizers, volunteers and attendees. Thayer says: “ People take pride in having an event that they truly feel a part of and have a hand in creating. It really fosters the ability to keep peace on site and allows the festival to be all it can be.”

Tickets, lineups and full information can be found at tweedrivermusicfestival.com ***

Web­ tweedrivermusicfestival.com

FB­ facebook.com/tweedrivermusicfestival

Twitter ­ @tweedrivermusic
Instagram­ @tweedrivermusicfestival