Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vibes inks a five-year deal in Bridgeport

By Dan Ruby

After trying out several sites during its 13-year history, Gathering of the Vibes is settling in for an extended stay at the 370-acre Seaside Park in Bridgeport CT. The festival and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch will sign a five-year contract that will keep The Vibes in place through at least 2012.

This year's event comes off July 31–Aug. 3 with The Neville Brothers, The Black Crowes, and Phil Lesh & Friends headlining. This will be the second consecutive year at the site since the park was renovated several years ago. GOTV also took place in the same location in 1999 and 2000.

In a statement, Mayor Finch said, “We’re excited to continue developing Bridgeport’s relationship with Gathering of the Vibes. The Vibes is an exceptional addition to Bridgeport’s blossoming arts and entertainment scene, as well as a tremendous opportunity to showcase the Park City to thousands of out-of-town guests from throughout the country.”

The four-day festival attracts as many as 20,000 attendees per day. In addition to hosting 40 bands on three stages, the festival features environmental activities, custom arts and crafts vendors, and kids program. Public transportation options are plentiful, making the site easily accessible from anywhere in the region.

The festival and city officials will hold a public contract signing event June 27 at the Seaside Park Bandshell, and the 2008 festival opens for business just about a month after that.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Outside Lands...it just keeps getting better and better

By Mike Ruby

It's always refreshing when a brand new festival emerges onto the scene for the general public to sink its teeth into. Outside Lands has done just that, and while its still two months away, the festival has already proven itself to be the new kid on the block who's intriguing mystique lures people in. I'd put my money on Outside Lands selling out, especially after its latest additions to the lineup. Toots & the Maytals and Rogue Wave are two new ones that I thoroughly look forward to. I've been a loyal Toots fan ever since I discovered them during a reggae festival at Berkeley's Greek Theater. Considering how long the Maytals have been around, they carry themselves on stage as if they hadn't been playing the same songs for thirty years. Their performance at Outside Lands is not to be missed.

As for Rogue Wave, a band from my home town of Oakland CA, their indie vibe ought to integrate quite nicely into the already diverse lineup. Frankly, it took Rogue Wave a couple albums to get their sea legs, but at this point in time, they're ready to rock. When I watched them open for Death Cab a few days ago (also incidentally at the Greek), the band played with enough energy and confidence to turn the thankless job of being the opening band into a legitimate performance. If you've never seen Rogue Wave, circle them on your festival schedule. Also recently included are The Walkmen, Mike Gordon, Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet feat. Bela Fleck, Vienna Teng, Howlin' Rain, Everest, The Dynamites and Carney. Not too shabby.

Like Rothbury, another freshman summer festival, Outside Lands has a group of headliners that would make the average festival-goer require a clean pair of undergarments. Personally, I'd say that the Radiohead/Beck/Primus trifecta seems like more than enough reason to attend the festival. On top of that, Tom Petty, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and the Coup sweeten the deal and The Black Keys and Ben Harper are icing on the cake.

As part of my previous post, I stated my views toward Jack Johnson and how he is less than deserving of the closing slot. However, looking at the size of his fan base, lots of people clearly see in his music something that I don't. So if he's gotten successful enough to headline the final day of a three-day festival, more power to him. The same goes for Wilco and Widespread panic. I don't really get all the hype, but in all fairness, I haven't seen either live, so you never know. The important thing is that all the other bands are still there and the great vastly outweighs the mediocre.

My hat goes off to the producers of Outside Lands. If it turns out as well as I think it will, San Francisco is in for an event the likes of which it has never seen. Hang in there. There's only two more months left to go. Stay tuned for more posts on Outside Lands.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

California Worldfest set to kick off July 17th

With Ozomatli as the veritable headliner, the California Worldfest will run from the 17th to the 20th at the Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, CA. With more artists TBA, Worldfest already boasts over 25 artists, and the festival certainly retains the right to use the word "World" in its title-- it's not just reggae that will be played here. Celtic rock, gypsy, Afropop and Sufi trance music are just  some of the world musics that will be encountered in Grass Valley this year; bands are coming from locales as diverse as Iran and Australia.

In keeping with its name, this event will not only feature musicians, but also artisans from around the globe. In addition, there will be a kids program for youngsters' entertainment while adult festivalgoers enjoy the jamming coming out of the festival's eight stages.

If you get your tickets in advance, you can get access to the festival's four days of music and activities, as well as camping, for $140, while non-camping four-day passes go for $120. Single-day tickets will be $60 w/camping and $39 without camping in advance, with the gate prices for campers and non-campers being $70 and $45, respectively.

To check out more of what the 2008 edition of the California Worldfest has to offer, go to the festival's official website.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Take the ferry to All Points West

The All Points West Music & Arts Festival will operate a ferry service to deliver customers between downtown Manhattan and the festival site at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Needless to say, this will provide an attractive option for New Yorkers going to the festival.

Ferry service begins at noon and runs until all festival patrons have returned to Manhattan on all three days of the festival, August 8, 9 and 10. The 15-minute excursion departs from Pier 11 at Wall Street on the East River. The ride passes the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The round-trip fare is $20 at the early bird price and $30 purchased the day of the show. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com. Three-day ferry passes are not available.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rothbury Makes Adds, Think Tank Announcements

The addition of Trey Anastasio to the lineup of Rothbury Music Festival has just been announced by festival organizers. He is set to perform officially for the first time since December of 2006 at the festival. Anastasio is only one on a list of additions, that include Kraak & Smaak, Underground Orchestra,  DJ Harry, Pnuma Live PA and Fiction Plane. The new lineup can be viewed here

In addition, organizers have released the schedule for Rothbury's in-house thnk-tank. Notable events and panelists include Nobel Prize-winning climate scientist Dr. Stephen Schneider and a live taping of the nationally syndicated radio show etown. For the Rothbury Think Tank's full schedule, click here.