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Dark Star Jubilee • May 24-26
Headliners Dark Star Orchestra, Mickey Hart Band, Yonder Mountain String Band
Tix $119 three-day pass ($235 for VIP)
Where? Thornville is east of Columbus, just south of I-70. Legend Valley is, to be repetitive, legendary in the canon of the Grateful Dead.
Don't Miss! Ohio boys The Werks are one of the ascendant jam bands on the scene these days. But for being semi-local, they don't stop in CLE too often. Be sure to catch their set. Also, get spacey and give Marco Benevento a listen. He played Beachland Tavern recently and fucking ROCKED. John Brown's Body, for their part, has been through monumental ups and downs over the years. Their latest album showcases just how on top of the game they remain. Check 'em out. And Dark Star Orchestra is the mantelpiece here. Don't be a spun-out fool; catch their show!
Skip It The whole lineup is absolutely riddled with gems, but you can drop Elephant Revival from your schedule. Their avant-gardey folk vibe is nicely chilled-out, but it feels rather apart from the rest of the weekend's offerings.
What To Bring This is a mostly Dead-themed festie, so toss a flower in your hair and pack your picnic basket full o' Jerry Rolls.
Good Grub Much like the festival's "older brother" All Good, the demand to bring fresh tastes and heady brews from around the country to Jubilee is high. Offerings aren't announced yet, but you can bet that your cravings will be taken care of with delicious diligence.
Green Cred Recycling bins, trash cans and bags are available throughout the grounds. But, seriously, if you're trying to hang at a Dark Star fest and you're not living a "green" lifestyle, then you've gotta realign your approach. The scene revolves around care and concern for the natural and human world around you; do your part to pitch in and keep things clean and green.
The History Last fall, organizers held the first Dark Star Jubilee. The whole thing went over extremely well, offering Deadheads a unique outlet for their love. "Intimate" was a word used frequently by co-founder Tim Walther. He noted that the bands freely interacted with attendees and even got in on a few impromptu drum circles. "It's about reliving experiences from the past and just feeling the experiences in the present," Walther says.
Watch Out For... The vibe is sure to be peaceful, but beware the holier-than-thou jam vets who espouse their knowledge of the scene as if it were gospel. ("Man, you missed out big-time on the Beacon in '76! What were you thinking?!") Also: bunk acid. (Sandy)
Gentlemen Stopover • Aug. 30-31
Headliners Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Tix $109 two-day pass
Getting There Troy, a cool little slice of Americana, is located along I-75 just north of Dayton. You're looking at a three-and-a-half hour drive from CLE.
Where? Mumford (duh) will bring the heat Aug. 31. Note also that this is one of their few appearances anywhere near Cleveland this year (according to dates released so far). And Old Crow Medicine Show — goddamn; this band is fantastic and they'll definitely dish up a terrific set. We'll give a nod to Half Moon Run, as well. Great stuff.
Skip It Those Darlins, while firstly eliciting mostly "meh" reactions, also don't entirely fit in with the overall sound of the Stopover. The thing with festivals of any size is that there's always so much to do beyond the scope of the music. G'head and drop this set and check out the multitude of offerings presented by both the event organizers and the city of Troy.
What To Bring Your camera will be your best friend as you spend the weekend camping on the historic levee on the banks of the Great Miami River.
Good Grub Kick-ass food vendors will be on hand, but please do wander into Troy to grab a bite at K's Hamburger Shop, which casts a hearty tip o' the hat to 1940s burger joint aethetics (and prices!). Leaf and Vine is a local wine bar that also sells cigars. Get in the mood with some vino and a tidy smoke before ducking into the Magnetic Zeros' set.
Green Cred Tour producers picked their tour stops by taking into consideration the city's "green initiatives." We got nothing more specific, but we'll take their word that Troy is all about the recycling and conservation.
The History The Stopovers started in earnest last year. "We spent months selecting unique places, creating venues, building the lineups, planning the aftershows and getting to know the local people who helped make the whole thing work," organizers explain. It's a massive undertaking, but the vibe is rather up-close and personal. Taking national acts/phenomena and producing an inherently "local" community is a beautiful thing. A trailer for this year's round of shows is available on YouTube. (It's a really cool video, by the way.)
Watch Out For... Mumford's cred is through the roof right now, so do beware the screaming hordes. Also: Beware the waves of jealousy you'll encounter from ticketless friends before and after the event. (Sandy)
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