Photography and words by Steven Philips
I love the Catskill Chill, and so do most all of my friends. Over the past years we have fallen in love with Camp Minglewood, and with this year’s perfect weather and amazing lineup the theme of All Love All The Time was apropos. I’ll mostly let my photos tell the story (see gallery at the end), but I’d like to recap some of my highlights from each day.
Arriving Friday around noon, the campground was bustling with people setting up camp, or finding their cabins and getting moved in for the weekend. The staff was very helpful shuttling people and their gear around on golf carts, and many were rolling in with wagons and coolers. The music started at 3pm, and after checking out Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, I headed to the main stage for Nth Power’s soundcheck. They meticulously dialed in the sound on each piece of the large drum kit, and then the other instruments. Finally for mic check I was treated to some amazing singing with harmonies that were on point, and had me ready for the opening of the main stage with this amazing soul/funk band that jams hard with extended solos on electric guitar, the hammond organ, piano and synth, as well as a stellar solo by Weedie on the djembe during “Only Love.” They kicked off the festival with a good crowd which quickly turned into a dance party. The funk continued with Lettuce and then George Porter Jr, with Consider The Source playing a fine electric set in between. The genre switched to Jamtronica with Lotus and Break Science, and then again at 2:30am for the highlight of the day Dopakuaz, a huge ensemble which combined Dopapod and Turquaz for a disco set honoring Studio 54, New York’s famous disco dance club from the ’80’s. It was an amazing collaboration, and everyone who wasn’t asleep was dancing hard at the main stage until 4am. I was able to catch the Brummy Brothers when I went back to my cabin for a good snack and warmer clothes for the cool evening.
Saturday I was able to catch all the main and B stage sets plus an awesome campground set by Hayley Jane and the Primates. The highlight of the day for me were the Stratosphere Allstars, an amazing supergroup that I loved. Twiddle and moe. were also awesome, and everyone seemed to be sitting in with everyone. I wanted to check out Club Chill for a set by Nadis Warriors, a group I had the opportunity to interview, and my recap of that discussion is down below the photo gallery.
By Sunday the late hours caught up to me, and I had to hurry down to the stages in time for American Babies, a group that I’ve been following for the past year and they get better every time I see them. They played as well as ever, and it even sounded to me like some of their songs were polished up for radio play – tight, structured, but with enough room for great jams. Dopapod followed and they were great, as was Juno What?!, but the highlight for me was the sets that began at 9pm with Electron. They play Biscuits better than the Biscuits (in my humble opinion) and did many other covers as well as originals. Pink Talking Fish moved from Club Chill, where they played last year, to the B stage, where their set was a perfect blend of the frantic energy of the Talking Heads, the soothing tone and beautiful vocals of Pink Floyd, and my favorite, the Phish songs. Ending the festival was Particle and Family on the main stage. By the end it seemed there were almost 20 people on the stage, and after some solid jamtronica, they gave way to the disco beats that seemed prevalent all weekend.
There were so many acts I wasn’t able to see, and that’s a great, as well as frustrating thing about Catskill Chill. Having come from Lockn‘ the prior week, where there were basically no overlapping sets, I was comfortable rotating from the main to the B stages, which are adjacent and don’t overlap. But this strategy makes it hard to catch all the great music in the campground and at Club Chill. Overall Catskill Chill was my favorite festival of the summer, and it did come right at the end of summer. Enjoy the photos in the gallery, and check out Nadis Warriors in my interview recap at the end.