10 Standout 1-Timer Festival Sets From 2018


The 2018 Festival Season was a busy one with many acts making appearances at multiple festivals in the U.S. and beyond. However, there were a number of sets featuring tributes or inventive lineups that only took place at one festival in 2018. Here’s a look at 10 such “one-timer” festival performances from the past 12 months:

King & Strings @ Rooster Walk

At this year’s Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival in Martinsville, Virginia, two young musical prodigies debuted a new collaboration, marking the new project’s sole performance in 2018. Dubbed Kings & Strings, the performance saw the famed 22-year-old blues guitarist and vocalist Marcus King join forces with 26-year-old bluegrass rising star Billy Strings. Age is not the only thing both artists have in common, as both King and Strings have earned widespread critical acclaim, dedicated fanbases and collaborations with big-name artists in recent years. For example, King has performed with the likes of Warren Haynes, John Scofield, Lettuce and Tedeschi Trucks Band, while Strings has toured with Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon and others.

For the King & Strings set at Rooster Walk, Billy Strings and his solo band — featuring bassist Royal Masat, banjo player Billy Failing and mandolinist Jarrod Walker — were joined by King as well as Aquarium Rescue Unit drummer Jeff Sipe. The festival also marked the first time that Marcus King and Billy Strings had met in person. Despite this, the performance was electric, with the band running through selects from each bandleader’s catalog in addition to a number of classic covers that ranged across Merle Haggard, Sam Cooke, Willie Dixon, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Steppenwolf and more.

While the collaboration was initially conceived as a potentially one-time event, in December, Rooster Walk announced that King & Strings would return to the festival in 2019.

Full Set Video Captured by pieceofwork35

Little Feat & moe. with Turkuaz Horns – The Peach Music Festival

During The Peach Music Festival this year at Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Montage Mountain, the rock icons of Little Feat joined forces with jam favorites moe. and a six-piece horn section composed of members of the Turkuaz and The Midnight Ramble Band. For this one-time performance, the augmented band performed a special set built around Little Feat’s classic 1978 live album, Waiting For Columbus.

Little Feat’s keyboardist and vocalist Bill Payne; guitarist, mandolinist, and trumpeter Fred Tackett; guitarist and vocalist Paul Barrere; bassist Kenny Gradney; drummer Gabe Ford and percussionist and vocalist Sam Clayton were all on hand to guide the set and serve as the collaboration’s house band. With moe. guitarist Al Schnier serving as the performance’s musical director, the set was augmented by his moe. band mates — Rob Derhak, Chuck Garvey, Vinnie Amico and Jim Loughlin. During the festival, the Turkuaz Horns — composed of Chris Brouwers, Greg Sanderson and Josh Schwartz — served as artists-at-large. Combined with the Midnight Ramble horn section of trumpeter Steven Bernstein, saxophonist Jay Collins and saxophonist Erik Lawrence, the six-piece horn section added a larger-than-life dynamic to the all-star tribute set.

Full Set Audio Taped by Justin Marinoff

Lettuce’s JGB Tribute – Lockn’ Festival

One of the most celebrated sets of the summer festival circuit in 2018 was Lettuce‘s standout tribute to Jerry Garcia Band at Lockn’. The late-night performance in Arrington, Virginia, saw the Brooklyn-born funk act joined by many special guests, including cameos from multiple members of Dead & Company, who headlined the festival for the first time ever this year.

During the performance, the band ran through Jerry Garcia classics like “Cats Under The Stars” and “Sugaree” as well as a selection of fan-favorite covers that became staples of JGB’s live shows, such as Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue,” J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight” and Holland, Dozier and Holland’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” Across the all-star set, Lettuce was joined by former guitarist Eric Krasno, Dead & Company’s Bob Weir, John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge as well as Tedeschi Trucks Band‘s Kofi Burbridge, Alecia Chakour and . The set also saw some unexpected lead vocalists, with Lettuce trumpeter Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom, guitarist Adam Smirnoff and bassist Jesus Coomes all stepping into the role of singer in addition to the band’s primary vocalist and keyboardist, Nigel Hall.

While Lettuce’s Lockn’ performance marked the tribute’s only performance of 2018, at the beginning of December, the funk act announced that it would revive its JGB tribute on June 15, 2019 as part of their annual headlining Red Rocks show.

Full Set Video Streamed by Relix

Foundation Of Funk Celebrates The Meters’ 50th Anniversary – Lockn’ Festival

This year has been huge for The Meters, as the pioneering New Orleans funk act celebrated its 50th anniversary and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Grammys in July. To uphold the legacy of The Meters, the band’s rhythm section of bassist George Porter Jr. and drummer Zigaboo Modeliste continued their Foundation of Funk project, which features Porter and Modeliste alongside a rotating cast of other high-profile musicians.

At Lockn’ in August, Porter and Modeliste assembled a special crew to honor The Meters’ 50th anniversary. Keeping it all in the family, Foundation Of Funk invited the kin of The Meters’ original keyboardist Art Neville to join in the celebration, all of whom are New Orleans music royalty in their own right. Art’s brother, Cyril Neville; son, Ian Neville and nephew, Ivan Neville, all served as scheduled special guests in addition to Ian and Ivan’s Dumpstaphunk bandmate, bassist Tony Hall. However, these were not the only guest musicians who performed during the landmark Lockn’ performance, as Dead & Company’s Bob Weir, John Mayer, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann made a surprise appearance at the end of the set for takes on “Iko Iko,” “Fire On The Bayou” and “Ain’t No Use.”

Full Set Video (Starts Around 7:33:00) Streamed by Relix

Celebrating Women Of The Galaxy – Suwannee Hulaween

Each year, The String Cheese Incident celebrates their annual Halloween music festival at Live Oak, Florida’s Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park with a unique themed set. This year, in keeping with the 2018 theme of “Creatures of the Galaxy,” the band played a female-focused, interstellar set dubbed “Women Of The Galaxy.” For this performance, the Colorado jam favorites were joined by special guests , Jennifer Hartswick, Rhonda Thomas, Lisa Fischer, Tony White and the horn section of Mofro.

During the main set, the group ran through beloved covers that allowed their special guests to shine, with selections spanning classic artists such as Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Roberta Flack, Amy Winehouse, Pat Benatar, Cream, The Rolling Stones and Bob Marley. For the band’s encore, The String Cheese Incident focused on the “galaxy” portion of the weekend’s theme, using their tune “Rollover” to house an intergalactic “space jam” with references to Star Wars, Star Trek, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Space Jam Encore

Jon Batiste’s A Change Is Gonna Come – Newport Folk Festival

On the final evening of the annual Newport Folk Festival this year, Jon Batiste closed out the main stage on Sunday with a themed set dubbed A Change Is Gonna Come. With music primarily focused on Civil Rights-era protest tunes, the performance saw the Late Night With Stephen Colbert band leader team with soul favorites The Dap-Kings as the house band.

Batiste curated a stunning selection of music to close out Newport Folk, with a well-rounded set of covers featuring famed protest tunes such as “This Land Is Your Land,” “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “Freedom Highway” and more. Notably, the performance boasted dozens of sit-ins from big-name performers like Mavis Staples, Maggie Rogers, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Valerie June, Chris Thile, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Rachael Price.

I’ll Fly Away w/ Jon Batiste, Leon Bridges, Chris Thile & PHJB Captured by rac3m

Freedom Highway (finale/encore with all performers on stage) Captured by Chad

Keller & The Andys at Northwest String Summit

At Northwest String Summit at Oregon’s Horning’s Hideout this summer, Keller Williams hosted a fun, collaborative set based on the name “Andy.” For the show, Williams invited three bluegrass virtuosos named Andy — Leftover Salmon banjo player Andy Thorn and The Infamous Stringdusters‘ guitarist Andy Falco and dobro player Andy Hall — to join him for the festival debut of Keller & The Andys.

Across the lighthearted afternoon set, the band showed off their high-caliber music abilities and jovial senses of humor. Selections from the Keller & The Andys’ performance included covers of the Grateful Dead, The Band, Fiona Apple and Peter Rowan as well as Keller Williams’ own “Portapotty,” “High,” “Warning” and “Broken Convertible.” To nail its “Andy” theme home, the band used the theme from The Andy Griffith Show (also known as “The Fishin’ Hole”) as an introduction into Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good.”

Theme From The Andy Griffith Show Streamed by JamGrass.TV

Feel It Still Streamed by JamGrass.TV

Nailed It! – A Tribute To Nine Inch Nails – Summer Camp Music Festival

On the first day of Summer Camp Music Festival this year, an all-star band came together for the first and only time to pay tribute to the industrial rock outfit Nine Inch Nails. The set, which was titled Nailed It!, featured Umphrey’s McGee‘s Ryan Stasik and Jake Cinninger alongside Eliot Lipp, Cherub‘s Cherub’s Jason Huber and Zoogma‘s Brock Bowling and Matt Harris.

For the gritty late-night performance at Summer Camp’s Red Barn, the band dressed the part, with each member clad in black as a nod to the Nine Inch Nail aesthetic. The band performed an expansive collection of classic NIN tracks, such as The Downward Spiral’s “Closer” and “March Of The Pigs,” Pretty Hate Machine’s “Head Like A Hole” and “Terrible Lie” and With Teeth’s “The Hand That Feeds” and “Love Is Not Enough.”

Full Set Captured by shinepigeon

The Bluegrass Congress – DelFest

This year’s DelFest at Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, Maryland over Memorial Day Weekend was highlighted by a set from an all-star group of bluegrass musicians put together by the festival’s host, Del McCoury. The Bluegrass Congress featured the Del McCoury Band along with David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Bryan Sutton and Stuart Duncan.

Del’s Bluegrass Congress played a selection of genre classics as members shuffled on and off-stage throughout. At one point, Joe Craven read a declaration about the one-time-only event, which featured a surprise appearance from Richard Thompson on his own “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.” By the end of the Saturday evening set, all of the performers came together for takes on such songs as “Dark Hollow” and “White House Blues.” – Written by Scott Bernstein

White House Blues

Brain Damaged Eggmen – Resonance Music & Arts Festival

Made up of Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger and Kris Myers of Umphrey’s McGee with Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits, the Brain Damaged Eggmen performed for the first time since 2012 at this year’s Resonance Music & Arts Festival in Thornville, Ohio back in September. The quintet, who honor the music of The Beatles and Pink Floyd, originally made their debut aboard Jam Cruise in 2006 and went on to perform a handful of headlining shows before going on an unofficial hiatus after an appearance at the 2012 Summer Camp Music Festival.

The first half of their hour-plus set focused on the music of The Beatles. After opening with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band,” the five-piece leaned on Abbey Road next delivering a portion of record’s famed suite. Brain Damaged Eggmen would then cherry-pick material from the Fab Four’s catalog before shifting gears to the Pink Floyd songbook. The band sandwiched a pair of selections from Dark Side Of The Moon between “In The Flesh Part 1” and “Young Lust” from The Wall with takes “Comfortably Numb” and “Brain Damage” closing things out. – Written by Jeffrey Greenblatt

Full Set Video Captured by Roy Loeffler