Photos & words by Steven Philips (StSteven.com)
This year I attended my third Rock and Roll Resort. All three have had their own flavor, and their names reflected the musical differences. 2012 was A Psybient Soiree, and featured some great techno and electronic music like Shpongle and Phutureprimitive. 2013 was A Tiny Rager, and was a funky party which honored a popular New York music blogger by that name. This year, 2014 was The Dream Machine, and continued the heavy emphasis on funk music, but included jam and rock music from groups like Tauk and Everyone Orchestra, as well as techno acts like Arclite and Business Casual Disco.
To put the vibe of the festival in perspective, first think back on the long cold winter that blanket most of the Northeast. People were already getting stir crazy by January, and some were lucky enough to get away to warmer places, and there were many music focused options like Jamcruise, or festivals in Mexico, Jamaica, and other tropical locales. But by the end of March (the beginning of Spring) the entire festival community was ready. And what could be better than an indoor festival at a Catsill resort, with food included as part of the deal. So without having to sort out the camping equipment from last year, or worrying about cooking gear, food, and other necessities for camping, we descended on the Hudson Valley Resort.
Many resorts have conferences that utilize parts of the lobby for either some booths or activities, but this lobby was completely transformed into it’s own unique village. There was a room for musical performances, which featured everything from solo acoustic folk music to DJs and techno producers, some of whom also played instruments such as electric guitar and saxophone, along with the beats and layers of sound driven by the computer and other hardware. There were vendors everywhere. From hard goods like glass, art and hula hoops, to clothing of all types, as well as snacks to supplement the food tent outside the front entrance, and the cafeteria.
Three rooms were dedicated to musical performances, and all provided not only large stages with very professional sound and lighting, but ample seating, and full bars. Add in the smoking room with pool table and the lobby bar, and you’re talking the ultimate in terms of convenience and comfort. Add in a solid lineup of music, and you’e got Rock and Roll Resort – a fun and very relaxing party.
Musical highlights for me started off Friday with the artists at large Bobby Paltauf and Jen Durkin performing an acoustic set in the lobby. The night got into full swing with the BRYAC Funk Allstars and Dumpstaphunk. Saturday was chock full of music. Everyone Orchestra featured Steve and John Kimock, a female vocal and horn section featuring Natalie Cressman on Trombone and Jen Hartswick on Trumpet, and for an added treat, Jen Durkin sitting in on vocals for a couple songs. The rest of the group was solid as well, and Matt Butler conducted the whole improvisational journey very well. Cabinet, a northeastern PA based bluegrass group played an exceptional and jazzy jammy set, and Goosepimp Orchestra brought their own brand of fun. The techno room went strong all day with standout performances by Solaris, Business Casual Disco, and F.A.M. Sunday’s pared down schedule still brought solid funk from Turquaz, and closed out the festival with a superjam.
I missed the first RnRR, but attended #2, #3, and this years version #4. I can’t wait for #5!