This year marks the 20th anniversary of JamBase. Part of the yearlong celebration includes the 20 For 20 series featuring 20 lists focusing on 20 notable topics and events of the JamBase era. The lists were compiled by current and former JamBase staff members and contributors, music industry professionals and other experts. Stay tuned for more, as the series continues throughout the year and we look back at two decades of encouraging fans to Go See Live Music!
The series continues with 20 Festivals We’ve Lost. Music festival popularity has soared during the JamBase era and there are thousands of events taking place worldwide. While the increase in the number of music festivals being held each year gives music lovers more opportunities to see live music, recent years have also seen well-established and beloved music festivals cease operation. Read on to revisit the important legacies of 20 music festivals that played their final notes in recent years (only festivals that have definitively been shuttered and are not said to be taking year(s) off were included).
Harmony Festival | 1978 - 2011
[Video Credit: Harmony Festival 2011 Recap]
Debra Giusti-Rose was a student at Sonoma State University and helped organize the college’s California Spring Harmony Festival. When the school chose not to hold the event again the following year, Giusti-Rose and others moved to Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa to host the first Health & Harmony Festival in 1978. Eventually shortened to be called the Harmony Festival, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds continued to be its home through 2011, hosting music, arts and crafts, a health expo, workshops, environmental activism, an on-site bookstore and other community-minded activities and events. Giusti-Rose described its history in 2009, telling Peace From Harmony:
The Harmony Festival was birthed in 1978, from the passionate core values of the ’60s movement, which had touched every soul in America during that time. From the youth there was a cry, a protest, and celebration that there needed to be an evolution in our culture in how we treated ourselves, our brothers and our planet. It was an emerging new planetary consciousness, a cultural phenomenon, and a personal spiritual awakening.
Separate counter-culture movements rose simultaneously to claim new awareness around holistic health, ecology, progressive politics, the women’s and peace movement, new technology, world music, the arts and spirituality.
And in 1977 it was time to ground that new awareness in practical lifestyle changes that could make a big difference in the quality of our life and for the future of our children. So we began 31 years ago, with 500 hundred crazy, very passionate counter-culture community members, creating the first Health & Harmony Festival.
In 2009, Harmony set attendance records and added the Eco Rally Skateboard Competition. Attendance again reached a high mark in 2010, as Harmony Festival brought together over 35,000 festivalgoers. The 33rd annual and final Harmony Festival took place in 2011. That year saw ticket sales hurt by a sophisticated counterfeiting operation that fraudulently purchased over $100K in passes.
Over the course of its lengthy run, the Harmony Festival stages saw the likes of Bob Weir and RatDog, Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers, Taj Mahal, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Steve Kimock, New Monsoon, Damian Marley, Railroad Earth, Primus, The Flaming Lips, CAKE, The Mother Hips, ALO, G. Love & Special Sauce, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Jackie Greene and many, many others. Speakers included Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ralph Nader and more.
SmileFest | 1995 – 2006
[Video Credit: JamCam Chronicles: Smilefest 2004]
Born from a group of Noth Carolina Deadheads who came together after Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia’s death, the first Smilefest was organized by Bob Robertson in September 1995, one month after Garcia’s passing. Around 350 people attended Smilefest after a mailing list of invitees was created at the memorial gathering.
“It wasn’t really a festival; it was more of a party,” Robertson told the Mountain Xpress in 2005. “Tickets were eight bucks. There were three bands, camping overnight, that sort of thing.”
Smilefest continued to grow in subsequent years, moving in 2001 to Van Hoy Campgrounds in Union Grove, North Carolina. Local acts like Larry Keel, Acoustic Syndicate, Barefoot Manner and Bryan Sutton often appeared at Smilefests, which featured many top bluegrass acts and other jam-friendly performers.
As Smilefest expanded, problems with an increasingly heavy police presence began to present issues for organizers and attendees. According to Mountain Xpress, Agent Bryan Irwin of North Carolina’s Alcohol Law Enforcement arrested a 2002 Smilefest attendee for felony possession of psilocybin mushrooms. Additional ALE agents joined Irwin at Smilefest 2003, conducting undercover busts leading to the arrests of around 90 festivalgoers. ALE and the local sheriff’s department teamed to patrol Smilefest 2004, patrolling, “individual campsites to concert crowds, and even the usually private backstage areas,” while making 199 arrests.
Smilefest 2005 moved to Deerfield’s in Mills River, North Carolina and featured Jorma Kaukonen, Keller Williams, Blueground Undergrass, Bela Fleck and Drive-By Truckers. Once again moving locations, Smilefest 2006 was staged at Gorges Music Park in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina and featured Yonder Mountain String Band, Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Avett Brothers, Keller Williams, Larry Keel, Jeff Coffin’s Mu’tet and several others.
An invitation-only private Smilefest Reunion took place in May 2010 at Jomeokee Campground in Pinnacle, North Carolina. Micheal Franti & Spearhead, Keller Williams (solo and with The Keels), Acoustic Syndicate, Jeff Coffin’s Mu’tet, The Pimps Of Joytime and several other acts performed. Another Smilefest Reunion was held in 2011 with Railroad Earth, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, JGB, JJ Grey and MOFRO and more filling out the lineup. Smilefest merged with the Head Jamz festival for the lone Jomeokee Music & Arts Festival in 2012. Del McCoury Band, Stephen Marley, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, The Travelin’ McCourys and more played the one-time-only event.
Gathering Of The Vibes | 1996 – 2015
[Video Credit: Levon Helm Band with Bob Weir at Gathering Of The Vibes 2011 – Deep Elem Blues]
Deadhead Ken Hays organized a memorial event in 1996 on the first anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death. Held on the campus of SUNY Purchase “Deadhead Heaven – A Gathering Of The Tribe” was the precursor to 1997’s Gathering Of The Vibes, which Hays held at Croton Point Park in Croton-On-Hudson, New York.
Gathering Of The Vibes took place each subsequent year, primarily at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Connecticut where the event was held in 1999 and 2000 and again from 2007 through 2015. As noted by JamBase in 2017, “nearly every major jam act has played the event’s 20 annual festivals and many numerous times. Organizers also have promoted local talent as many acts became members of the Vibes family and frequent performers at the event.”
The 1996 lineup included Zen Tricksters, Ominous Seapods, moe., Jazz Mandolin Project, Strangefolk, Max Creek and a few others. The 2015 GOTV lineup featured The String Cheese Incident, Wilco, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Weezer, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes with Railroad Earth, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Billy & The Kids, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, The Word, Zappa Plays Zappa, Dark Star Orchestra featuring Melvin Seals, Greensky Bluegrass, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tea Leaf Green, Deep Banana Blackout, John Brown’s Body, Kung Fu, Twiddle, Max Creek, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Strangefolk, Turkuaz, Doyle Bramhall II, New Riders of the Purple Sage and more.
Garcia’s Grateful Dead band mates Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Donna Jean-Godchaux, Bruce Hornsby and Mickey Hart all also performed at Gathering Of The Vibes over the years. While the announcement from Hays was hopeful of a future GOTV, four summers have passed since the event celebrated what was its 20th yearly gathering of live music fans.
Nederland Music and Arts Festival | 1996 – 2018
[Video Credit: Leftover Salmon with Bill Nershi & Jeff Austin at NedFest 2011 – Liza, Pasta On The Mountain – via mystic111mike]
Though its official title was Nederland Music and Arts Festival, for two decades the scenic mountain town of Nederland, Colorado was the site of NedFest. NedFest was founded by Nederland resident “Michigan” Mike Torpie, who helped organize the festival until his untimely death in 2011.
Torpie produced the first NedFest in 1996 at Nederland’s Chipeta Park. The intimate, kid-friendly camping and music fest returned in 1999 at a new location, the Jeff Guercio Memorial Baseball Field next to the Barker Reservoir, where it remained each year through 2018. Recent renovations to the park were cited by the NedFest Organizing Committee and Peak to Peak Music Education Association Board of Directors as the basis for canceling the 2019 event.
Bands on the 1996 lineup included Roots Revolt, Skin, The Buzz Harvest, Higher Ground, Available Jones, Blackdog, Koro, Drip City, Fe’, Wiley Cotton Band and more. Local Nederland group Yonder Mountain String Band was among the acts on who played NedFest when it was resurrected in 1999. Fellow Colorado-based acts (and their members) The String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon also participated in various installments of NedFest.
The final edition of NedFest featured a lineup consisting of Melvin Seals & JGB, Hot Tuna, Steve Kimock, Anders Osborne, Kyle Hollingsworth, Head for the Hills, Jorma Kaukonen, Vince Herman and others. Check out the program from NedFest 2015:
All Good Music Festival & Campout | 1997 – 2013, 2015
[Video Credit: All Good Music Festival Experience: A Mini-Documentary – via Leave Your Mark TV]
Tim Walther and Junipa Contento-Süslü held the first All Good Music Festival & Campout at Wilmers Park in Brandywine, Maryland. What became the flagship entity for the All Good Presents promotion and production company that Walther and Contento-Süslü continue to operate in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore area, the All Good Festival altered locations until settling in at Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, West Virginia between 2003 and 2011. The festival moved to Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio in 2012 and 2013. After taking a year off, All Good returned to West Virginia for a final time at Berry Hill Farm in Summit Point in July 2015.
“All Good Festival is an absolutely wonderful festival,” Dumpstaphunk keyboardist Ivan Neville told JamBase in 2008. “It’s awesome. You’ve got a fuckin’ mountainside and from what I’ve seen – we played All Good three years before – it’s one of the better festivals.”
Some of the many All Good performers that appeared multiple times were Leftover Salmon, Widespread Panic, Dark Star Orchestra, Keller Williams, Furthur, The Disco Biscuits, Umphrey’s McGee, The Slip and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. The last installment saw a lineup consisting of moe., Primus, Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Motet, Turkuaz, STS9, Thievery Corporation and Lotus, among others.
All Good Presents held the one-off, two-day Merryland Music Fest at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland in 2016. The company hosted the inaugural 4848 Festival at Snowshoe Mountain in Snowshoe, West Virginia in July 2019.
Sasquatch! Music Festival | 2002 – 2018
[Video Credit: Guy starts dance party during Santogold set at Sasquatch! 2009 – posted by dkellerm]
Between 2002 and 2018 Memorial Day Weekend at The Gorge in Washington state was synonymous with the Sasquatch! Music Festival. Founder and promoter Adam Zacks started with a one-day event that featured performances by Ben Harper, The String Cheese Incident, Galactic, Jack Johnson, Soulive, Maktub, Patrick Brayer and The John Butler Trio.
Sasquatch! expanded to three days in 2006, as lineups continued to fill with diverse acts of increasing popularity. Pacific Northwest favorites such as Neko Case – solo and with The New Pornographers, Ben Gibbard – solo and with Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, Modest Mouse and The Decemberists made multiple appearances at Sasquatch! during its run. A comedy tent was added in 2008 and between 2011 and 2013 and again in 2015 and 2016 there were four days of programming. The festival attempted to expand to two weekends in 2014, but the second weekend planned for the 4th Of July was canceled months before it was set to begin.
According to Zacks, during its 17-year run the festival sold 1,026,095 tickets, hosted 1,313 acts and donated $723,436 to non-profit organizations. The 2018 Sasquatch! swan song brought Bon Iver, The National, Modest Mouse, David Byrne and several additional performers to The Gorge one final time.
The Bamboozle | 2003 – 2012
[Video Credit: Bon Jovi – Living On A Prayer – Bamboozle 2012 – via incuhoob112]
Promoter and New Jersey native John D’Esposito organized the Skate And Surf Festival in Asbury Park in 2001, which continued the following two years. The Great Bamboozle was also held in 2003 with Dark Star Orchestra, Keller Williams and The Roots among the acts that performed at The Stone Pony.
The second Great Bamboozle was held at the same location, with moe., G. Love & Special Sauce and Sonic Youth topping the bill. Renamed The Bamboozle and relocated to Asbury Park Convention Hall, the 2005 edition featured performances by the likes of My Chemical Romance, Thrice and Fall Out Boy.
The following year saw The Bamboozle move to the Meadowlands Sports Complex in the Giants Stadium parking lot in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Fall Out Boy returned to headline alongside Taking Back Sunday. In October 2006, The Bamboozle Left was held at Cal Poly Pomona Athletic Field in Pomona, California, with Thrice, Brand New and Dashboard Confessional among the performers. The Bamboozle went back to the Meadowlands Sports Complex in 2007 and Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance headlined the two-day event.
The Bamboozle Roadshow traveling tour took place in the spring of 2008 with Armor for Sleep, Metro Station and Saves The Day among the participants. The Bamboozle Left came back in 2008, this time held at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, California. Paramore, The All-American Rejects and My Chemical Romance headlined the West Coast fest. That year’s The Bamboozle was staged at the Meadowlands with Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Eat World co-headlining the first day and Panic! at the Disco and Coheed & Cambria the second day.
The Bamboozle Roadshow, The Bamboozle Left and The Bamboozle (as well as the east and west editions of the affiliated The Hoodwink) were all put on in 2009. We the Kings, Forever the Sickest Kids, The Cab, Never Shout Never, Fall Out Boy, 50 Cent and No Doubt were among the many performers at the various Bamboozle shows.
In 2010, The Bamboozle Left became The Bamboozle California and moved to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California for two days featuring headliners AFI and Something Corporate. The Bamboozle’s lineup included MGMT, Weezer, Paramore, Drake and others. The only The Bamboozle Chicago was held in 2010 at Charter One Pavilion. Something Corporate, Cobra Starship and 3OH!3 were among those that played the one-day event. An expanded The Bamboozle Roadshow also toured in 2010.
The Bamboozle Roadshow returned for a final run in 2011. The Bamboozle was the lone festival staged that year as well. The final event held at the Meadowlands saw performances by Thirty Seconds to Mars, Taking Back Sunday, Lil Wayne and more. A 10th anniversary edition of The Bamboozle was held in 2012 at North Beach in Asbury Park. The final installment included Skrillex, Foo Fighters and New Jersey heroes Bon Jovi.
Disputes between John D’Esposito and LiveNation led to his departure from The Bamboozle and it was not staged after 2012. The Skate & Surf Festival returned to New Jersey in 2013 for a run that lasted through 2015.
10,000 Lakes Festival | 2003 – 2009
[Video Credit: 10,000 Lakes Festival (10KLF): A Brief Tour 2006 – via musicalearth]
Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, moe., Galactic, Leftover Salmon, O.A.R., Leo Kottke, The Big Wu, Particle, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons, Donna The Buffalo and several others were part of the lineup of the inaugural 10,000 Lakes Festival.
Widespread Panic returned to Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota in 2005 and again in 2009, the final year that also featured Dave Matthews Band, Wilco, Umphrey’s McGee, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine, Railroad Earth, Tea Leaf Green, Trampled By Turtles and more.
Other years at 10K saw performances by the likes of Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir & RatDog, Trey Anastasio Band, The String Cheese Incident, John Mayer and The Black Crowes. Despite the impressive lineups, Twin Cities promotors Randy Levy and Rose Presents shuttered the festival after seven years.
Langerado | 2003 – 2008
[Video Credit: the Disco Biscuits – Resurrection – Langerado 2008]
In March 2003, Langerado launched as a single-day concert event at Stadium Festival Fair Grounds in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. One year later the fest moved to Young Circle Park in Hollywood, Florida. Langerado expanded to two days in March 2005 and relocated once again, this time to Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida.
Markaham Park continued to host Langerado as it expanded to three days in 2007. A fourth day was added for what became the final edition of Langerado, which was held in March 2008 at Big Cypress Indian Reservation. Organizers announced plans to host Langerado 2009 in Miami, but the festival was canceled several months before it was set to begin.
Many favorites of the jam scene trekked south for sets at Langerado and official after-parties. Alumni include Trey Anastasio, Phil Lesh & Friends, Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, moe., G. Love & Special Sauce, MOFRO, The String Cheese Incident, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, The Black Crowes, Medeski Martin & Wood, Keller Williams, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Umphrey’s McGee, the Disco Biscuits, Particle, Soulive, The New Deal, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, STS9, Perpetual Groove, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and many more.
New promoters tried to resurrect Langerado with a planned return to Markham Park in 2011. The event scheduled for that October was canceled weeks before it was supposed to begin.
Wakarusa | 2004 – 2015
[Video Credit: WAKA | A Day In The Life]
Wakarusa made its debut in 2004 at Clinton State Park outside of Lawrence, Kansas. Robert Randolph, O.A.R., The North Mississippi Allstars, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Jazz Mandolin Project, Keller Williams, Leftover Salmon and Tea Leaf Green were part of the debut lineup. After reports of between 80 – 140 arrests surfaced following Wakarusa 2006, law enforcement officials denied reports that they employed high-tech surveillance equipment on the festival grounds. Wakarusa organizers issued a statement ahead of the 2007 festival, which read in part:
We are working hard to make sure this year’s Festival is the best it can be. The management of the Festival has met with County and Park officials to address concerns about appropriate security and law enforcement for the festival. We have been assured that there won’t be highway checkpoints and there won’t be surveillance equipment. We have instituted several other programs this year to provide for a positive approach to security issues.
It must be clearly stated that Wakarusa did not have a hand in planning the specific law enforcement efforts for the 2006 event. We were not aware of specific law enforcement tactics prior to the event and we in no way support or condone such heavy-handed tactics. In fact, we are working tirelessly to insure a peaceful and harmonious event for 2007.
In 2009, Wakarusa relocated to Mulberry Mountain near Ozark, Arkansas, where it was held each consecutive year through 2015. Widespread Panic, My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers, The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Railroad Earth, the Disco Biscuits, The Black Crowes, Gov’t Mule, STS9, Yonder Mountain String Band, Les Claypool, Zappa Plays Zappa and ALO were just some of the many Wakarusa performers during its run.
In late-2015, Wakarusa announced there would not be an event in 2016, and issued another statement identifying the cause, asserting:
Wakarusa was significantly damaged by partners claiming to share our vision. Sadly, they lied. They are being dealt with appropriately through the legal system. Further, we have found that the universe is often much more effective in dealing with these perpetrators than the legal system. Regardless, it is our sincere hope and anticipation that what we have built together – we will once again enjoy on our beloved and magical mountain.
Wanee Festival | 2005 – 2018
[Video Credit: The Allman Brothers Band – In Memory of Elizabeth Reed – 2014 – via Suwannee HD Streams]
The Allman Brothers Band hosted and performed at every Wanee Festival between 2005 and 2014, when the legendary rockers stopped touring. Members of The Allman Brothers Band frequented the stages at Wanee over the years with their various projects. Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks and Oteil Burbridge were among the Allmans alumni who played at various Wanee installments.
The Spirit Of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida continued to host the event with Wanee regulars Widespread Panic taking on headlining duties. Following the 2018 Wanee Festival, organizers cited overlapping religious holidays as the cause for not holding the 2019 event at The Spirit Of Suwannee Music Park. A note organizers shared reads:
The traditional weekend for the Wanee Music Festival in 2019 falls on the same weekend as Good Friday, Easter and Passover.
It has been the Wanee Festival experience in the past that many of our regular festival goers decide not to attend on this weekend, due to the holiday being one that many choose to spend with their family, friends and religious faith.
For this reason, the Wanee Music Festival will not take place in 2019 at The Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park.
A new location was never announced and Wanee did not happen this year. The inaugural Wanee Block Party was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in March 2019. Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band with Cody Dickinson and Luther Dickinson, The Marcus King Band, George Porter Jr. Trio and others performed at the two-day fest. The Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park was the site of the debut Suwannee Rising Music Festival in April 2019. The three-day lineup featured Lettuce, moe., Oteil & Friends and more.
Vegoose | 2005 – 2007
[Video Credit: Phil Lesh & Friends With Trey Anastasio – Vegoose 2006]
Three years after throwing the first Bonnaroo in the middle of a farm in rural Tennessee, organizers AC Entertainment and Superfly Presents tried their luck in Las Vegas with the first Vegoose festival that was held October 29 – 30, 2005. Anchored at Sam Boyd Stadium, Vegoose included late-night performances at several other venues around Sin City. Despite lineups perennially stacked with popular jam scene acts, Vegoose cashed in after three years.
The jam-stacked inaugural lineup boasted Dave Matthews & Friends, Widespread Panic, Jack Johnson, Phil Lesh & Friends, Trey Anastasio, The String Cheese Incident, moe., Gov’t Mule, North Mississippi Allstars, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Umphrey’s McGee, ALO, The Codetalkers featuring Col. Bruce Hampton and more. Year one’s lineup also included Beck, Primus, Ween, The Meters, Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips, The Shins, Spoon, Talib Kweli, Sleater-Kinney, Digable Planets, The Decemberists, Atmosphere, Blackalicious and Lyrics Born.
In 2006, while Phish was on hiatus, guitarist Trey Anastasio performed with Phil & Friends and bassist Mike Gordon performed with The Rhythm Devils featuring Grateful Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. Year two was headlined by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, with its lineup also including Widespread Panic, Keller Williams with The String Cheese Incident, The Black Crowes, The Raconteurs, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Medeski Martin & Wood, The Roots, G. Love & Special Sauce, Galactic and Yonder Mountain String Band. The second Vegoose also saw performances by The Coup, The Killers, The Mars Volta, Band Of Horses, Cat Power and The Memphis Rhythm Band, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins and late-night programming that saw Trey join Robert Randolph, Panic with The Meters and other collaborations.
There was a noticeably less jam-focused lineup assembled for the final Vegoose. The 2007 bill was made up in part by the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Daft Punk, Iggy & The Stooges, The Shins, Queens Of The Stone Age, Muse, Cypress Hill, Public Enemy, Mastodon and M.I.A. The last installment did not completely abandon its jammy roots as the lineup did incorporate moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Michael Franti & Spearhead, ALO, Robert Randolph & The Family Band and STS9 among the final Vegoose performers.
“We’re not going to do Vegoose this year,” Superfly president Jonathan Mayers told Billboard in 2008. “We’re not saying it’s killed, it’s just not going to happen in 2008. Over the last few years we’ve built some great relationships out there. We’re really studying the model out in Vegas as to what makes sense. I think there is a model out there to do other events in Vegas, it’s just different.”
No additional Vegoose events have been held since 2007. In August 2008, Superfly partnered with Another Planet Entertainment to produce the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Jam In The Dam | 2005 – 2008, 2010, 2012
[Video Credit: Jam In The Dam Capsules 2005 – 2008 Playlist – via Armand Sadlier]
The jam scene went international for three nights in March 2005 when the inaugural Jam In The Dam was held at the Melkweg in Amsterdam. Umphrey’s McGee, the Disco Biscuits, Particle and Keller Williams were aboard for the first year in The Netherlands. Fans were able to traverse between stages within the Melkweg to witness frequent sit-ins among the four acts.
The Melkweg continued to be a breeding ground for cross-collaborations in 2006 as UM and tDB returned the following year with STS9 and the Benevento/Russo. In 2007, Keller Williams was the only Jam In The Dam veteran on the lineup as KW was joined by Dark Star Orchestra, Yonder Mountain String Band and Galactic. The festival expanded to four days and the lineup grew beyond four acts as Jam In The Dam alumni Umphrey’s McGee, the Disco Biscuits and Dark Star Orchestra made it back to the Melkweg in March 2008 along with Tea Leaf Green, Perpetual Groove and Lotus.
Jam In The Dam founder Armand Sadlier took 2009 off to recuperate from a double-lung transplant, and no event was held. After one year off, JitD returned in 2010 — as did Umphrey’s and Yonder — along with Les Claypool, The New Mastersounds, The Bridge, Josh Phillips Folk Festival and Brendan Bayliss and Jeff Austin’s duo project 30db. A lack of suitable headliner kept Sadlier from throwing Jam In The Dam in 2011. The last JitD was held in March 2012 and once again voice actor John DiMaggio (Bender on Futurama) served as master of ceremonies. First-timers moe. and Mike Gordon made the trek to The Netherlands with returning performers DSO, Lotus and Keller Williams.
Phases of the Moon Music & Art Festival / Harvest Music Festival | 2006 – 2014
[Video Credit: Yonder Mountain String Band – Harvest Festival 2014 – posted by evenstev]
Originally called the Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival upon its debut at Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas in August 2006, it retained that title each year through 2009. In 2010, Yonder Mountain String Band became the festival’s official hosts and the multi-day event was renamed Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Music Festival and moved to October. YMSB continued hosting Harvest at Mulberry Mountain annually through 2014.
In September 2014, organizers held the first Phases Of The Moon Music & Art Festival in Kennekuk County Park in Danville, Illinois. Widespread Panic and The String Cheese Incident were among the acts on the inaugural lineup. Bad weather plagued the start of the first Phases, which featured SCI performing a moon-themed Lunar Landing Conspiracy set.
[Video Credit: The String Cheese Incident Lunar Conspiracy Set – Phases Of The Moon 2014 – posted by skriddler]
Phases Of The Moon promotor Sam Shear announced in January 2015 that he had joined with Harvest Music Festival organizers Pipeline Productions to merge Phases with Harvest. The event, which was called Phases Of The Moon Music & Art Festival, was planned for Mulberry Mountain in October 2015, with Yonder, moe. the Disco Biscuits and STS9 among the acts on the lineup. In September, weeks before it was to start, Phases Of The Moon (and by extension the absorbed Harvest Music Festival) was canceled.
Treasure Island Music Festival | 2007 – 2016, 2018
[Video Credit: Treasure Island Music Festival – Official 2013 Video]
Another Planet Entertainment and Noise Pop founded the Treasure Island Music Festival in September 2007. Held over two-days on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, the first year presented sets by Thievery Corporation, Modest Mouse, Spoon, Built To Spill, DJ Shadow and several others. Bands like Justice, The Raconteurs, TV On The Radio, Vampire Weekend and Tegan and Sara were on the Treasure Island lineup in 2008.
The festival moved to October in 2009, with MGMT and The Flaming Lips topping each day’s lineup. Treasure Island welcomed LCD Soundsystem, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Deadmau5 as well as Belle & Sebastian, The National and Broken Social Scene for the 2010 edition. The following year saw Empire Of The Sun and Death Cab For Cutie headlining, while 2012’s lineup featured Girl Talk and The xx.
The supergroup Atoms For Peace headlined in 2013 alongside Beck. Treasure Island 2014 was highlighted by hip-hop legends Outkast and trip-hop icons Massive Attack. Treasure Island brought back deadmau5 and The National to headline the 2015 lineup that included STS9, Father John Misty, The War On Drugs and several others.
Prior to hosting Treasure Island 2016, organizers revealed it would be the final year held on the island with plans to move to a new Bay Area location in 2017. Construction at Treasure Island’s Great Lawn on the west side of the island forced the 2016 edition to be held at a new location on Treasure Island’s eastern shore. Plagued by canceled sets, TIMF 2016 did host headliners Ice Cube and Sigur Ros.
Though Treasure Island Music Festival was expected to be moved to a new location in 2017, no event materialized that year. Noise Pop and APE brought Treasure Island back in 2018 for a sole installment staged at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland. Tame Impala, A$AP Rocky, Courtney Barnett, Lord Huron, Sharon Van Etten, Jungle, Pusha T and several more acts were part of the final Treasure Island.
“Bringing the festival back to life last year following the relocation was a massive undertaking,” APE and Noise Pop wrote when announcing the end of the festival. “[B]ut with the new issues facing the site location, we feel strongly as though putting on a festival to the degree for which our fans have come to expect over the past decade is simply not possible … As they say, it’s time for this ship to sail off into the sunset.”
Bear Creek Music and Arts Festival | 2007 – 2014
[Video Credit: “Sugaree” – Anders Osborne, George Porter Jr., Stanton Moore & Billy Iuso — Bear Creek 2011 – posted by Jeremy Sewell]
Umphrey’s McGee, Little Feat, Perpetual Groove and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk were among the performers at the first Bear Creek Music and Arts Festival, which was supposed to be held in November 2007 at The Ponderosa Wildlife Preserve located in the Lake Talquin Recreation Area in Quincy, Florida. When the festival was denied permits by Gadsden County, a late switch was made to The Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. Spirit Of The Suwannee remained the home of Bear Creek through 2015.
Umphrey’s returned to Bear Creek in 2010, 2012 and for what was the final installment in 2014. Galactic was set to return to Bear Creek in October 2015 with Dumpstaphunk, Soulive and The Motet among the other artists on the ill-fated bill.
“In hopes of producing the best possible event for everyone involved, we switched our dates and tried to diversify our lineup to keep things fresh,” organizers wrote when announcing the 2015 event’s cancelation. “Unfortunately, things just were not working out in our favor this year and we were not willing to let the show go on unless everything was absolutely perfect.”
Over the years many jam acts appeared at Bear Creek, several making repeat visits to Live Oak. In 2012, Daptone Records and Royal Family Records were tasked with programming the Bear Creek Stage. The Daptone Super Soul Revue showcased Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, The Budos Band, The Sugarman 3 and The Como Mamas while the Royal Family Affair presented sets by Soulive, Lettuce, Break Science, Nigel Hall, Alecia Chakour and others.
Collaborations were regular occurrences at Bear Creek over the years, like in 2008 when The Everyone Orchestra featured Phish drummer Jon Fishman and String Cheese Incident multi-instrumentalist Michael Kang or in 2014 when the roaming Artists-At-Large included Bernard Purdie, Pee Wee Ellis, George Porter Jr., Oteil Burbridge, Skerik, Nicolas Payton, Jennifer Hartswick, Grant Green Jr., Roosevelt Collier and the at the time 11-year-old guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. The often spontaneously collaborative nature of Bear Creek can be seen in the above video from 2011.
Rothbury Music Festival | 2008 – 2009
[Video Credit: Trey Anastasio – Rothbury 2008]
Lasting just two years, the significance of the short-lived Rothbury Music Festival is perhaps in the legacy of what followed its brief run. First held over the Fourth of July in 2008 at Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, Michigan, the four-day event faced several obstacles leading up to its return in 2009. Shortly after the first festival, the Double JJ Resort filed for bankruptcy.
In early-2009, Rothbury co-producer AEG Live secured a court ruling that allowed it to lease the land used as a campground in 2008. AEG and Madison House Presents returned to Double JJ for the second Rothbury Music Festival but chose not to hold the event in 2010. After taking a year off, the co-organizers staged the first Electric Forest Festival at the Double JJ Resort where it’s been held each subsequent year ever since. Electric Forest, which each year has featured The String Cheese Incident, expanded to two weekends in 2017.
Rothbury made an impressive first impression in 2008. Though they would play Rothbury in 2009 and become an Electric Forest mainstay, The String Cheese Incident was not on the first Rothbury lineup despite each of the band’s six members appearing at the festival with different side projects. All but one of the members of Phish performed in 2008, as did the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh in separate groups. Others on the year-one lineup were Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Gov’t Mule, the Disco Biscuits, The Black Keys, STS9, Medeski Martin & Wood, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival, Railroad Earth, Keller Williams & The WMD’s, Yonder Mountain String Band with Jon Fishman, Steel Pulse, Snoop Dogg and many more.
As mentioned, three-fourths of Phish – Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon and Fishman – appeared at Rothbury 2008, mere months before they would end a hiatus imposed in 2004. Their appearance on the Rothbury poster immediately gave the festival stature in a growingly crowded scene. Here’s what JamBase contributor Cal Roach wrote about the Phish contingent in his original Rothubury 2008 review:
Trey emerged innocuously, alone, and busted into “Back On The Train.” For a few songs, it was a bit surreal but most of the crowd hardly seemed to really care what was going on here. I wasn’t even feeling much impact. But for some reason, “Let Me Lie” really got to me. I think when I’d first heard it, it sort of felt like the first real Anastasio/Marshall song I’d heard in ages. “Wading In The Velvet Sea” was pretty emotional, too. But of course, when Mike Gordon came out, the crowd really came alive. Trey quipped, “If only we could find a drummer and a keyboard player.” The first brand new song, “Backwards Down the Number Line,” seemed like a fairly solid Trey tune, but “Alaska” actually had something else – it was funny. It was pure fun, and they were having a blast singing it, and then “Chalk Dust Torture” was over with and everyone rushed over to the Ranch for Gordon’s set.
Gordon and his band played several tunes from his upcoming solo album, which sounded great, but the last two were sabotaged by anticipation for Trey; who’d come onstage, then left as Mike told everyone they had to find a guitar somewhere. After Trey’s actual entrance, they played another new song, and then “Meat,” smiles beaming from stage and crowd alike. No one could have missed the connection going on between the two “former” bandmates. Finally, enter Fishman, who accompanied the band for the final song, The Beatles’ “She Said, She Said.” It may have been nothing momentous, but there were moments when it seemed like Trey and Mike were hinting at leading the little jam astray, in the best possible sense. And like that, the three-quarters Phish reunion was over.
In addition to SCI, those returning to Rothbury in 2009 included Keller, Yonder, Bisco, STS9, Mule, RRE and others. They appeared alongside The Dead, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Toots and the Maytals, Umphrey’s McGee and several additional Rothbury one-timers.
Catskill Chill Music Festival | 2010 – 2016
[Video Credit: Dopakuaz Plays Studio 54 – That’s The Way (I Like It) – Catskill Chill 2015]
Catskill Chill made its debut in September 2010 at Camp Minglewood in Hancock, New York. The following year, the two-day event expanded to three days. A “Farewell To Minglewood” edition was held in 2015 ahead of the event’s move to New Minglewood in Lakewood, Pennsylvania in September 2016. Organizers confirmed there would not be a Catskill Chill in 2017 and no festivals have been staged since.
The lone Pennsylvania-based Catskill Chill’s lineup had Mike Gordon, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Electron, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass, Break Science, Dopapod, Perpetual Groove and many more. Prior to that, Catskill Chill lineups were filled out over the years by the likes of moe., Lotus, Zappa Plays Zappa, Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band, Soulive, The New Deal, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Papadosio, Twiddle, The Motet, The New Mastersounds, Particle and scores of others. The Chill gained notoriety for its inventive tributes and all-star collaborations, such as the “Dopakuaz Plays Studio 54″ set from 2015 featuring Turkuaz and Dopapod.
When announcing that there would be no Catskill Chill in 2017 organizers addressed The Chillfam, writing in part:
Every year, as we all start planning for our annual celebration, we have one thing in common ~ the baseline intention of “All Love, All the Time”. When thousands of us carry that into our weekend, we generate an atmosphere of acceptance, love, connection, and unity. Although there will be no Chill this year, we ask you to join us in weaving the intention we’ve dedicated to one weekend in September into our day-to-day lives. When love is our intention, we are most likely to succeed in connection.
AURA Music and Arts Festival | 2010 – 2016
[Video Credit: Kung Fu with Nigel Hall Stevie Wonder Tribute – Do I Do – AURA 2013]
“Since the inaugural AURA in 2010, over 18,000 tickets were sold, over 175 musical acts performed, over 50 visual artists painted live and over 150 different staff members came together to make this all possible for YOU!,” reads a message written by founder Daryl Wolff on the website for the AURA Music and Arts Festival, which last took place in 2016.
First held over three days in January 2010 at Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville, Florida, AURA’s year-one lineup was made up of Brother Bean, The Malah, Papadosio, Soular System, Cope, Aquaphonics, Diocious, Lingo, Before Trees, Emily Carroll, Bill Talley, DJ Craig Heneveld, DJ Lexxx, Aquarium, Labyrinth and Min//Max. Papadosio moved to the top of the AURA poster in 2011 and the festival moved to Forever Florida’s Crescent J Ranch in Saint Cloud. AURA remained at the second location in March 2012 and Papadosio remained at the top of the bill that again featured Florida natives The Heavy Pets.
Beginning with the Papadosio-headlined February 2013 edition, AURA was added to the list of festivals that at one time called the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park home, landing in Live Oak for the final four installments. Lotus joined Papadosio at the top of the AURA bill in February 2014, which also featured the Disco Biscuits side-project Conspirator who had appeared the year prior as well.
In March 2015, moe., the Disco Biscuits and Papadosio headlined AURA. Bisco was back in Live Oak in March 2016 to headline the final staging of AURA. Along with music, AURA also included extensive yoga programming and workshops, the Vibe Village hosting experiential multimedia live art and installations, visual artists and many other activities. One of several collaborative tribute sets that took place at various AURA events, the last year saw perennial local performers The Heavy Pets team with Trey Anastasio Band horn players Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman for a 1980s-themed set.
The Mad Tea Party Jam | 2012 – 2017
[Video Credit: The Mad Tea Party Jam 5 Recap Video]
The Jamwich (formerly the Appalachian Jamwich) publishers Taco Olmstead and Elise Olmstead founded The Mad Tea Party Jam in 2012. The event initially held outside Hedgesville, West Virginia was meant to be a celebration of the couple’s wedding anniversary.
“Nine years ago I proposed to Elise, over a candlelit dinner,” Taco Olmstead stated in 2017. “Two years later we were married on the banks of the Potomac River, surrounded by family and friends. The theme of the wedding was Alice in Wonderland, so began a yearly celebration.”
Taco and Elise moved The Mad Tea Party to Four Quarters Interfaith Farm in Artemis, Pennsylvania for the 2016 and 2017 festivals. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center in Purcellville, Virginia was selected for the 2018 party, but that event was canceled. A two-day Mad Tea Party Farewell Jam was held at The 8×10 in Baltimore the weekend the canceled festival was supposed to take place.
The Mad Tea Party 2017 was marred by many attendees and headliners Papadosio becoming ill. Papadosio was forced to cancel one of their sets when three of the five members were too sick to perform. It was later determined that “outbreaks of a very contagious Viral GI illness” occurred at Four Quarters, which dealt with similar issues following the previous weekend’s WickerMan Burn. The venue suffered an outbreak that led to illness in 2008 as well.
Along with plenty of local Baltimore-area talent, The Mad Tea Party invited many up-and-coming jam scene acts to its stage during its run. Twiddle, The Werks, TAUK, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, BIG Something, Spafford, Aqueous and Turkuaz were among the many Tea Party guests.