Reviews > Shows
Blackwater Music Festival at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Blackwater Music Festival
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
August 26-28, 2010
G. Love – photo by Julia Rickert
The first annual Blackwater Music Festival took place August 26-28 at Florida’s Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. The small festival was marked by reggae, electronic and rain with headliners Slightly Stoopid, Michael Franti and Spearhead and Sound Tribe Sector 9.
The festival got its name from the dark and apparently black Suwannee River that the grounds are perched on. Logically enough, it rained throughout the entire weekend, just to give the name even more truth.
Perpetual Groove and Sound Tribe raged the rain Thursday night to start off the weekend. Tribe tore through an awesome “Moonsocket” as the rain continued to pour down.
The likes of Tea Leaf Green, Toubab Krewe, Boombox, JJ Grey and others started Friday afternoon off. The bands played through scattered downpours before the sky cleared up a little for the evening sets. One highlight of the afternoon was during Tea Leaf’s set when the rain was at its hardest, those who braved the rain were lucky enough to catch the “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” tease during “Red Ribbons Bouncing Betty.”
Friday evening was a bit drier and by the time G Love took the stage there was no rain in sight, although they were prepared for it. G Love sat nestled in between equipment covered in white tarps. He played a solid solo set jamming out on “Thanks and Praise,” covering Neil Young’s “Old Man” and closing it all off by getting the crowd really dancing to “My Baby’s Got Sauce.”
Rebelution took the stage next playing some comforting, classic reggae music. Michael Franti and Spearhead came after and played a typical Franti set with songs like “Say Hey (I Love You),” “Sound of Sunshine,” and “Yell Fire” and even joined the audience in the rain during “Hey Hey Hey” off his upcoming album. Closing out the night was a late night dance party hosted by the Disco Biscuits.
Saturday started off looking like the sun may come out. After Groundation’s wake-up set, Zach Deputy’s croon stirred a surprising number of festival-goers for an early afternoon show and drew them down to the amphitheater stage with extended one-man-band jams like “Into the Morning.”
Later that evening sure enough, the rain showed up again. However torrential downpour did not stop Particle from melting faces. With special guest Michael Kang this set was a major highlight of the festival, particularly their closer cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” JJ Grey returned to the stage after Particle except this time he was accompanied by Mofro.
Next up was Slightly Stoopid. Stoopid’s set was a surprise highlight of the weekend. They played a lot of their classic hits—“Runnin’ With a Gun,” “Wicked Rebel,” “Closer to the Sun,” “Somebody,” “Officer,” “Collie Man”—but also strayed into their metal-y side. They played a couple metal-ish songs but always came right back to their roots; in the middle of “Wiseman” they diverged into a “Roots Rocks Reggae” jam and also played a reggae version of “Leaving on a Jetplane.” Surprise guest Don Carlos joined the band onstage for a couple songs as well.
Immediately following Stoopid was a late night funk fest with Galactic featuring special guest Cyril Neville. It was a bit of an odd transition going from Stoopid’s calm, reggae vibe to funky dance grooves, but they brought that Galactic heat keeping people on their feet and dancing until two in the morning.
Next year, Blackwater definitely has the potential to flourish. Its small and intimate size made seeing bands like Sound Tribe and Michael Franti, who usually have more sprawling crowds, a different experience. We just have to hope that it doesn’t rain.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
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Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
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