Kaleigh Mathis from Wanderlust Photography went to Harvest Music Festival for TreeThugger and has reported back with a list of her favorite moments from the event. Check ‘em out!
TreeThugger’s Top 10 Moments @ 2013 Harvest Festival
#10 – Clusterpluck – This was the first band I caught on thursday and it was a great way to set the mood for this little party in the woods. This folkgrass fivesome is as fun as their name, and any chick with a washboard is cool with me. It truly looked like this band was having a blast being on stage. With a gypsy-like swing, they got the crowd dancing to a tune about pirates while chanting “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!”
#9 – Moai Broadcast – An unexpected highlight from Saturday Night was this electro/rock/jam/funk band out of Tulsa, OK. These guys had a large crowd in the Roost Tent grooving steadily through their whole late-night set. This band seems to have a very loyal fan base and I can see success in their future. After a couple of songs, I made a promise to myself to catch these guys again very soon.
#8 – Yonder Mountain String Band w/ Anders Beck from Greensky Bluegrass – Yonder closed out the first night of their festival in the Harvest Tent, which made it a lot easier to forget about the near-freezing temperatures. Anders Beck from Greensky Bluegrass, joined Yonder for the last half of their set, accompanied by his dobro guitar. I had missed Greensky Bluegrass’s Main Stage set earlier that day, so this was a nice preview of how great their second set would be the following evening.
#7 – The Tedeschi Trucks Band – I was naturally excited to see Derek Trucks perform, but I wasn’t too familiar with the band he had formed with his wife, Susan Tedeschi, and 9 other band members, whom he & Susan refer to as family. This talented group of musicians proved why they are Grammy Award winners as they followed Yonder on the Main Stage in the freezing rain. Derek proved he will forever be a master of the slide guitar, but he took a back seat to Susan’s soulful voice on stage. The highlight for me was when Susan belted out an incredible cover of “Angel from Montgomery,” which would have made any Bonnie Raitt fan do a double take.
#6 – Beats Antique – Considered the oddball act of this Bluegrass festival, this electronic fusion act was fresh off the release of their new album “A Thousand Faces,” which is accompanied by an elaborate stage set up. I was a little disappointed when I didn’t see any of the new visual effects, but that could be because they were trying to warm up this foot stompin’, banjo lovin’ crowd to their Middle Eastern vibe. Violinist David Satori introduced a new song called “Beelzebub,” in which they had collaborated with Les Claypool. Disappointment soon followed again when they began the song without Claypool, who had just been at the festival the day before. However, belly dancer Zoe Jakes is so captivating that I stayed until the end and I was glad I did. For their last song, Beats Antique were joined by the Astral Gypsies, a group of giant puppets who have become a Mulberry Mountain staple. “Are you guys ready to get weird?,” asked Satori, as the stage was overrun by dancing mushrooms and a giant cyclops. The crowd and the band ate it up and everyone was dancing.
#5 – Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang – Being a huge Primus fan, I had to check out Les Claypool’s newest project Thursday night on the Main Stage. With nothing on stage but a plastic, glowing fire pit, Claypool and bandmate Brian Kehoe picked away while the crowd danced and cheered. Claypool’s style of bass playing is just too infectious, and his comedic anecdotes had faces smiling everywhere. I screamed with excitement when they began to play “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” a Primus rarity these days, and my festival had already been made.
#4 – Hot Buttered Rum w/ Allie Kral – Allie Kral is an amazingly talented performer. The energy of the show was the perfect way to end the first night of the festival and keep us all itching for more. Watching Kral shred the fiddle made everyone inside the packed Harvest Tent forget the bitter cold. While Kral definitely stole the show with her looks and talent, the group as a whole put on a stellar performance. It’s heartening to see musicians who have so much fun performing for an eager crowd. I am excited to see them work together in the future much more.
#3 – Everyone Orchestra – This special performance was exactly that: special. This ever-changing, experimental improv group featured a laundry list of Harvest musicians, including a special appearance from Moe.’s Al Schnier. Just picture all of the awesomeness you can cram on one stage with strings flying and horns wailing. Matt Butler’s eccentric style and enthusiasm had the audience engaged as he conducted the all-star orchestra for one of my favorite performances of the entire festival. Truly an amazing experience to be able to watch so many talented musicians improv in such an intimate setting.
#2 – Saturday Press Conference – Being able to be in the same room as members of Yonder Mountain String Band was enough to make me a little starstruck, but throw in members of Beats Antique, Railroad Earth, Moe, & Elephant Revival, and I am a bit taken aback. It was so cool to see these artists in a relaxed setting to discuss what brought them all together. “I am so excited Beats Antique is here,” said Jeff Austin when asked what acts he wanted to catch over the weekend. Members of Elephant Revival discussed the importance of keeping our waters and our planet clean and how they want their legacy to reflect such values. The members of Beats Antique discussed that although they are veterans to the festival scene, bluegrass music is somewhat foreign to them, but they are trying to make that connection between electronic and folk music, citing Yonder Mountain String Band as one of their biggest influences.
#1 – Railroad Earth – Railroad Earth now holds a special place in my heart after Harvest Festival 2013. I can’t decide which of their two shows I liked better; the Harvest Tent was more intimate and beautiful, while the Main Stage show on Saturday night was a bit more rowdy, featuring the winner of the Fiddlin’ & Pickin’ Contest, Ron Landis, of Eureka Springs, AR. Ron fit right in with the rest of the guys, and it really showed that the band was glad to have him as a guest on stage. Overhearing fans in the crowd comment that the band was on fire that evening, it was obvious that nobody wanted it to end. I am already planning my return to Mulberry Mountain next October.