Night #2: Thursday
Meadows of Dan, Virginia
With the weather looking a little spotty and having to make a pilgrimage into town in search of the surprisingly elusive Internet and major mobile carrier signals, we got to the festival grounds a little later than planned. We would have liked to see Michael Franti, Tauk, or Big Something again, but we had seen them each very recently, and while Steel Pulse would have been a very welcome deep-reggae fix, with so little time to tend to business sacrifices were required. It’s worth mentioning that we could have also seen the McLovins again for another set or The Mantras on a larger stage as well, and I think this is something that Floydfest does uniquely well: scheduling performers to play multiple sets on different days and on different stages. With constant competition for attention between acts and stages, I find it refreshing to have more opportunities to ensure I see all the bands I want to see play at a festival and make fewer sacrifices.
Another quick and necessary update concerning Floydfest…
In my last post mentioned the “LOVE” sign on the Floydfest grounds that I thought I recognized from the LOCKN’ Festival site. Upon further inspection and conversation, it appears that they are not in fact the same sign, although both have a similar rustic wood design. It turns out the state of Virginia has many “LOVE” works of art in different locations around the state and some are in rotation, traveling to different festivals and events reinforcing the “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism slogan and spirit.
Friday night was another fun one at Floydfest, though we battled the elements a bit, contributing to our later-than-planned arrival. There were periods of rain, some quite heavy, that we patiently waited through after getting back to Delta camping. As the weather started to break, we made our own break for the shuttle and the festival grounds, arriving at the Hill Holler stage a few minutes before White Denim took the stage.
I had seen them only once before, at last year’s LOCKN’ Festival, and was impressed. This was another band that conjured images in my head of different musicians – older, grittier, seasoned musicians. These guys sound much older than they look. The bass player Steven Terebecki looks deceivingly young for his age (thirty-three) yet has a strong and commanding stage presence that is a pleasure to photograph. They were also loud (a good kind of loud) as I remembered them from LOCKN’ Festival last year, pouring in-your-face classic rock into the audience’s ears.
Of all the bands playing on Friday night, I wanted to ensure we saw the Leftover Salmon set in the Pink Floyd Beer Garden. I had seen them many times in their early days, in some of the smaller clubs in upstate New York that my bands had also played, and long before the modern-day resurgence of bluegrass popularity Leftover Salmon was the band that bridged bluegrass with “jamband” styles of playing well before the term “jamgrass” was being used. Despite the fact that many players have come and gone, their sound remains uniquely Leftover Salmon. After about half of the White Denim set and hearing a couple of my personal favorites including “Ha Ha Ha Ha,” we set off to see Leftover Salmon.
The beer garden had a noticeably larger crowd than the night before. As usual Salmon didn’t fail to entertain, but during the second half of their set the rain started to come down again (despite a very low predicted percentage chance of rain) and people, myself included with expensive camera equipment in hand, were scurrying for shelter under vendor tents and trees. We decided to make a break for it and ran across the main thoroughfare outside of the Pink Floyd Beer Garden to the nearest covered stage, leading us to be exposed to Turkuaz for the first time live.
I love horn sections, female backup singers, synchronized dance moves, and deep-down booty-shaking funk; therefore I loved Turkuaz. You simply can’t see this band and not shake your ass. We were pleased to get a smattering of the Turkuaz horns again last weekend at the Peach Music Festival as they participated “at large,” joining several bands on stage including my personal favorite late-set rendition of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance with the always mind-blowing Umphrey’s McGee. We are looking forward to seeing Turkuaz again, hopefully for a full and fun set, in October at the Joshua Tree Music Festival.
Night two was short and a little wet, but fun nonetheless. Night three by comparison was wetter and better.