Fans Get Down At 2012 Catskill Chill Music Festival
Words by Dan Pasquarello & Photos by Steven Philips
The Catskill mountain range in upstate New York sets the scene for the third annual Catskill Chill Music Festival. This festival is always an amazing weekend toward the end of the 2012 festival season. The three day festival hosts a wide variety of music from funk to blue grass to jamtronica.
Catskill Chill started at 3:00 pm Friday and raged on until 4:00 am Sunday morning. This year the weather was mostly great, despite a Saturday rainstorm and tornado warning. Camp Minglewood hosts the festival. This camp is a great location for the festival: vendors have tons of room, campers are never cramped, and the food and beverage remains tasty, yet fairly priced. The three things people love about festivals are good music, good people and good location. Catskill definitely provides all.
A little added value about the Catskill Chill Music Festival are the cabins throughout the campground. These cabins always seemed to have some sort of entertainment throughout the entire weekend. From bands getting funky to late night ragers, the cabin party scene never seemed to end. Of all the cabins, the “Fikus” cabin seemed like the popular cabin to see music and get down.
But, of course, everyone attends for the main line-up on stage. Caravan of Thieves kicked off Friday afternoon followed by a fire set from Jerry Garcia Band featuring Melvin Seals. Opening the set with “The Harder They Come” and ending a stellar show with the Grateful Dead classic “Deal”.
Conspirator, one of the few super bands that hit the stage, really switched up the energy by turning things up to kick Friday night into full swing. They really pumped up the crowd by throwing in a cover of “Scarlet Begonias.” Kung Fu played a great set as well and really brought it with high energy psychedelic funk. Lettuce, which was my favorite set of the night, bringing what Phish fans would call a type 3, 70’s style porno funk jam to the stage. They played a few songs from the album Fly before welcoming Nigel Hall to the stage to sing “Move on Up”. Next, Dopapod took the stage, a genre bending blend of funk, jazz and trance. Eoto, featuring String Cheese Incident’s Jason Hann and Michael Travis brought improvised jungle bass that really brought some fun energy to the late night. Friday’s late-night belonged to Swizz, who played an awesome set with music continuing until sunrise. Friday was going to be tough to top after an amazing line up with a late night cabin jam session for the encore.
Waking up on Saturday to the announcement that everyone should take cover and prepare for 70 mph winds, heavy rain, and a severe tornado warning put a damper on the morning. It was a nice chance to recover from the night before, eat some food and catch up on rest for the night which lay ahead.
With little rain, no tornado and kicking Saturday afternoon of with The Source – a trancing blend of Middle Eastern fusion jams – things really did go our way. Source also had guests such as Tim Palmeiri and Rob Summerville of Kung Fu and Jon Schmarak of Fikus. The Alan Evans Trio played a great show as well with their Jimi Hendrix style funk, Alan was really killin it on vocals.
I felt like Yonder Mountain String Band really put the party in full swing early Saturday night.They packed in one of the fullest, most exciting crowds of the weekend. The fast paced jam-grass brought a great variety to the festival and they put on one hell of a show. SoulLive had a good variety of covers during their set ranging from “ Eleanor Rigby” to “Third Stone From the Sun” by Jimi Hendrix. Particle killed the late night playing until 4:00 am bringing their high energy dance music to the table they covered a Pink Floyd songs including “Pigs,” “Have a Cigar,” and “One Of Those Days.” Particle played an awesome set and really closed out Saturday night well.
Usually Sundays at festivals are more laid back, but not at the Chill. The Jen Hartswick band kicked off the afternoon with some Stevie Wonder covers and a “First Tube” tease. The McLovins followed with a few awesome covers: the Dead’s “Shakedown Street,” The Band’s “Cripple Creek” and Bob Dylan’s “Quinn the Eskimo.” Mclovins turned late Sunday afternoon into a full on rager. Fikus got everyone really pumped with a great set before the Lotus show with the new song “Nightwalker” and then an awesome cover of David Bowie’s “Lets Dance.”
Lotus then took the stage as Sunday night’s headliner, with their fast pace electronic funk there brought an amazing energy from the stage that was felt throughout the entire crowd. The Heavy Pets took the stage next for what was my favorite set of the night. Chuck Morris from Lotus sat in as they played “Girl You Make Me Stupid” as an aerial performer broke out some awesome moves. They also had a beat boxer come on stage and tear up a solo. The band who closed the night out was also another one of the super bands who had a set at the chill. Consisting of Barber from the Disco Biscuits and Eli Winderman from Dopapod they encored a Led Zepplin song “No Quarter” which seemed to put an end to an amazing weekend full of great music and friends.