Preview | Equifunk Music Festival 2013

Words by: Chadbyrne Dickens

Equifunk Music Festival :: 08.16-18.13 :: Camp Equinunk :: Equinunk, PA

“This is how it goes - this is it!” are the vocals off the hit release from Marco Benevento’s recently released record. Benevento aka “The Wonderful Wizard of Weird” is only one of a myriad of talented acts set to perform at the Equifunk Music Festival the weekend of August 16 - 18 in Equinunk, PA. Only two-and-a-half hours from New York City and just over 150 miles from Philadelphia, it is conveniently located for a quick jaunt leading to a musical adventure or adult “sleep away” camp. Camp Equinunk, in the heart of the Poconos in Northeastern Pennsylvania, expects over 1,000 attendees set to embark on a memorable and euphoric summer camp type experience. With over two non-stop days of top quality musical entertainment, a Saturday pool party complete with water slide, usually exquisite summer weather, endless beer and food, at an all-inclusive price ($350 for a cabin bunk, $225 for VIP camping, $185 regular camping), the festival, now in its sixth year, is poised to be a smashing success.

Last year when I reviewed the proceedings at Equifunk I said, it was “a model of how a Festival should be run.” There are a myriad of reasons why Equifunk sets the bar for quality festival programming. Equifunk is an experiment to see if a broader festival lineup with all-inclusive options will work. It does. At the festival, one will never have to dig into their wallet in order to procure another beer or food item, as it is all included in the initial ticket price. The ‘all amenities included’ approach is like going to a party where all the entertainment and party favors are provided for – thus equaling a good value for one’s money but with the bonus addition of high level funk and jam music. One must attend Equifunk to know how exemplary an experience it is – a video or second hand story does not do it justice. One should see it to believe it – or better yet, one must feel it to believe it. However, what sets the event apart is its deep and diverse lineup.

With over 30 acts, mostly rooted in the funk genre, with no over-lapping sets, the avid concert-goer grows fully satiated with superior funkadelic musical selections. The varied talented explosion includes, but is not limited to, The M&M’s (Stanton Moore, Maceo Parker, John Medeski, Papa Mali, Robert Mercurio & Marco Benevento),The New Mastersounds, JJ Grey & Mofro, Soulive with Maceo Parker, Keller Williams, Jon Fishman’s Pork Tornado, Anders Osborne with John Medeski, Boombox, Revivalists, the Nigel Hall Band, London Souls, Main Squeeze, Heavy Pets, and artist at large Arleigh Kincheloe of Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds. Marco Benevento will shine over a late night campfire set. Contest winners Mother’s Wine and Fish House Road were just announced on Tuesday and will be joining the fray. Equifunk founder Eric Kamen summed up the musical experience, “Equifunk provides the relaxed intimacy of a club, but it’s situated at an outdoor venue – the artists play at a size where the nuance of the performance is not lost (like at a large venue) - there is nothing like it.”

As usual, there will be more than music provided at this entertaining weekend of bliss. The accommodations split between the Equinunk Cabins located on the main campground and the Blue Ridge cabins located nearby across a quaint wooden walking bridge overlooking a glistening lake which offers spectacular sunrise and sunset views. One may also choose to camp. Equifunk is not simply an excuse for debauchery like its brethren, as activities such as a pick-up softball game, 3 on 3 basketball or yoga are offered. Also of note, for the first time in the festival’s history, there is music included in the music ticket for Sunday. Craft beers and varied food options will be available for purchase as well. This is a perfect option for those in the area who perhaps had weekend plans but still wanted to catch some of the quality tunes on Sunday before it’s all over and wish to purchase a day pass. Shuttle buses will shuffle festival-goers to and from New York City for $35 per person.

During a time where other festivals have seen complaints about theft and safety exponentially rise, Equifunk proves to be a respite from the masses and commercial onslaught too inherent nowadays in the Festival Scene. Equifunk proves to be about family, fun and friends with a large dose of quality music – just the way it should be.

[Published on: 7/26/13]

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