Yonder Mountain String Band Performs At Dexter Lake 2000: Exclusive Pro-Shot Video


JamBase partnered with Yonder Mountain String Band to present Yonder May — a month-long, weekly video series featuring archival performances. Starting today, JamBase will exclusively premiere classic footage of Yonder Mountain String Band’s original lineup each Thursday throughout the month of May.

The first installment of Yonder May is the band’s performance on June 23, 2000 at the Dexter Lake Music Festival in Dexter, Oregon. Dexter Lake was a precursor to the Northwest String Summit festival, the annual event first hosted by Yonder Mountain String Band at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, Oregon in 2002.

Yonder’s set at Dexter Lake featured Adam Aijala on guitar, Ben Kaufmann on bass, Dave Johnston on banjo and the late Jeff Austin on mandolin. The group performed alongside Leftover Salmon, Acoustic Syndicate, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress and Clyde’s Ride. Yonder’s setlist included a 4:20 p.m. cover of John Harford’s “Granny Wontcha Smoke Some Marijuana,” as well as early favorites “Half Moon Rising,” “On The Run” and more. JamBase asked Aijala, Kaufmann and Johnston to share their memories of that day at Dexter Lake, check out their responses below:

Adam Aijala:

I remember hanging backstage with Leftover Salmon and smoking copious amounts of marijuana with Vince Herman, Ben Kaufmann and Dave Johnston. Oregon weed is amazing. I’m guessing it’s because I was so high that I literally remember nothing else from this day. I mean, watch the video. I WAS THERE! I must have swam in the lake because I was wearing a RED Hawaiian bathing suit on stage? This was the festival that would help spawn the Northwest String Summit. I have many great memories with the Silver People, Guido Batista, Steve Vogt and Joe Joseph, I just can’t remember anything else from this show. I blame the weed. Enjoy!

Ben Kaufmann:

I remember being very, very stoned on something called, I think, “Snow Bud.” I don’t remember why I thought Hawaiian shirts were a good idea. I remember thinking this version of “Granny Won’t You Smoke Marijuana” was really good and that Jeff was particularly funny on it. I don’t remember being that young. I remember that our appearance at this festival was basically 100% thanks to Leftover Salmon vouching for us. We were still driving around in the Mallard RV and at that point you couldn’t push your thumb through the walls yet. It took another year for the rot to really set in. This show was us getting a foot in the door of the Pacific Northwest music scene and a very important moment for Yonder Mountain.

Dave Johnston:

2000 was a great year for Yonder in the Northwest. We opened up for The String Cheese Incident at the Convention Center in Portland and had the good fortune to make friends with Ryan Moore over at Artichoke Music, but the party at Dexter Lake that year would be one of our highlights. Not only were we playing with Leftover Salmon, who we revered in the way of older brothers, but I believe it was our first summer playing any festivals out there. It would prove to be a lynchpin in our presence in the Northwest. It’s there we met Joe Joseph and the rest of the cast of the Silver People who would eventually assist with all the rowdiness at the Eugene Hilton, the Crystal, and finally String summit. I remember Guido Batista’s cool-headedness and Joe’s enthusiasm. I remember drinking a local IPA and being impressed both with Robert Walter’s band and his grey suit. It was the beginning of the feeling that would strike me again and again whenever we came to the Northwest, that we belong here and there were plenty of people who made us feel that way.

Look for another exclusive Yonder May archival video next Thursday and watch Yonder Mountain String Band’s June 23, 2000 set at Dexter Lake here:

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