It was a picture perfect day to bring out the funk! The Equifunk Festival, held this past weekend at Camp Equinunk in the Pocono Mountains, took full advantage of the perfect weather and offered us a perfect fest. The weekend funkiness started off for me with my debut of The Main Squeeze. Fest-goers came running, beers in hand, as lead singer, Corey Frye, belted out, “I came to get down!” and danced around the stage, hitting the high notes and shining his pearly whites. The funksters got a’ movin’ and we were all feeling Frye’s vibrant energy while he and band mates blasted, “It’s time to shake it up, you’re at Equifunk!” They squeezed out a cover of Led Zepellin’s “No Quarter,” putting a new, soulful spin on an old classic. Sister Sparrow singer, Arleigh Kincheloe, joined in for a spellbinding cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”
JJ Grey & Mofro followed with some blues/soul/country/funk/rock jam fusion. One could feel the influence southern rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd had on JJ. Art Edmaiston ripped it up on the saxophone and Todd Smallie gave us a fantastic funky bass solo. The M-A-S-T-E-R-S of sound, the New Mastersounds, came next—for the first of a few appearances throughout the weekend. Eddie Roberts and the band rocked—they mastered everything including keys, guitar and sax. Boombox made a late night appearance, keeping the crowd peaking into the morning hours.
Saturday afternoon brought the renowned Equifunk pool party alongside the Pool Stage. Hair on the dog was the priority for most, as hangovers were nursed and souls were rehydrated. Keller Williams & More Than A Little funkified the afternoon, covering Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” and “Once in a Lifetime,” in addition to the Grateful Dead’s “Samson and Delilah” and “West L.A. Fadeaway.” All were crowd pleasers, in addition to Keller’s 4:20 announcement. Keller turned the golf course sand pit that everyone had been trying to avoid into a dance sand pit, to which all flocked. After taking advantage of the all-inclusive food and grabbing some dinner, I headed back over to catch Marco Benevento, playing to the setting sun. Sporting his tiger face mask he danced around and jammed favorites like “Real Morning Party” and “This Is How It Goes.” Listening to this man make beauteous music is one of life’s great pleasures for me. And there was more to come, with his campfire set scheduled to follow later that night!
Nigel Hall Band kicked off the Saturday night festivities on the E-Rena Stage shaking the tambourine, jamming some keys and filling the air with soulful vocals. A Disco Crew made their appearance in the crowd—donned in polyester, sequins, bell bottoms and multi-colored neon afro wigs. These kids knew how to get down! And they did just that as Anders Osborne and John Medeski rocked covers of the Dead’s “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” and Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35.” Soon after Soulive & The Shady Horns took the stage accompanied by Maceo Parker. Krasno and the Evans brothers wowed everyone with a psychedelic, spacey, jammy version of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” Maceo joined in after a few songs, threw on the sunglasses and blew that saxophone like no other. Along with guest singer Kincheloe, Soulive dished up the soul and then some blues, covering Ray Charles’ “Night and Day.” Next, I was off to gather around the campfire and enjoy Marco’s late night set. Decked out in his American flag pants, fit ever so perfectly snug, Marco covered everything from Marvin Gaye and The Beatles to Motley Crue and Amy Whinehouse. The crowd, along with The Main Squeeze’s Corey Frye, jubilated in singing well-known favorites like “My Girl” and Be-Be-Be-“Bennie and the Jets.”
Sunday brought an edgier side of funk, with the raging dynamics of the Mike Dillon Band. Played by Dillon, the vibraphone wafted through the thick air, accompanied by Carly Meyers’ wailing trombone. The band was great to watch, jumping around the stage—with Carly even jumping off the stage into the crowd and getting a little jog in. Their punk/funk included playing the tin can and spoke of the police state and creepy mother f-ers ruining your day. The Equifunk Allstars took the stage soon after, comprised of Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds), Stanton Moore (Galactic) and Nigel Hall (Nigel Hall Band), among others. The collaboration was sultry and soothing to start, with Tash Neal (London Souls) and Carly Meyers (Mike Dillon Band) livening things up toward the end of the set. The Main Squeeze followed with their second appearance, and I was glad to see them again after enjoying their Friday night set so much. They covered “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” which got everyone’s heads bopping. We saw their rock/jam side a bit more this afternoon, as opposed to the pure funk that Friday brought. Either way, they were great—shining their light and encouraging us all to keep the love felt during the fest in our hearts. The love of Phish brought many to Equifunk to see Jon Fishman’s solo project, Pork Tornado. As this was merely their second gig in ten years, we were all lucky to see them. With their twangy, country-rock they closed out the weekend for me.
My summer camp experience at Camp Equinuk was funky, fresh and fabulous! I packed in some great music in this intimate setting and made lasting memories with my best friends—what more could a girl ask for? …‘Twas a perfect summer festival!