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Rothbury bound


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My girlfriend and I are in Utah now, heading to New Brunswick for a wedding the week after Rothbury. Just yesterday we started kicking around the idea of hitting up the fest. We were there last year and had an awesome time, so there's a very good chance we'll be there.

If anyone sees a station wagon with BC plates, bikes on the roof and a ton of crap in the back, please say hello.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Well i'm guessing that most people that are going are already on there way. We're rollin into Michigan Friday night and staying near the venue so that we can make it to Rothbury at a good time saturday morning.

Wow am I looking forward to this! Sounds like there's going to be a fairly sizeable Canadian presence!

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What an AMAZING weekend!!

Honestly, I just had the most fabulous two days. Totally restorative and utterly exhausting at the same time...if that makes any sense.

I was so impressed by nearly every show that I took in. Even the ones that I figured I would merely enjoy for the sake of nostalgia...my expectations were pleasantly surpassed.

livingstoned and I rolled in on the Saturday afternoon only to COMPLETELY luck out and enter into the festival at the exact location that we wanted to be. We were fortunate to meet up with friends within ten minutes of being there. All in all I figure there were over twenty Canadians (many of whom are skanks) in attendance which made for some great company. The festival was very well run. Only downside was how far away our site was from the festival grounds (nearly forty minute walk to the mainstage), and I think there should have been more locations where one could fill up their water bottles. My feet and hips, and legs have never been so sore!! Between the walking and the non-stop dancing...I didn't think I was going to make it back on Sunday night.

But the trek was well worth it. Here are some brief thoughts on what I was able to take in. I included a few setlists too.

Started off my festival experience by 'finally' getting the chance to see Railroad Earth. They met my high expectations and had me on my feet from start to finish. I don't know all of the names of their songs, but I think my highlight was that tune that involves a really trippy jam on the flute (or flute sounding instrument). I couldn't see the stage very well from where I stood, but I could not see a flute, so perhaps it was something else making that wondeful sound.

From there I went on to see The Black Crowes. They always deliver as far as I'm concerned. They've never dissapointed me. Somethign about them sounded markedly different but I wasn't quite able to put my finger on it...perhaps it was my own auditory "interpretation" that was a little off.

The Dead just knocked my socks off!! I enjoyed myself in Buffalo, but mostly because I just love the music so much, and enjoyed being back admist the scene. I was hoping for something more this time round, and their rothbury set was ten times better than what I took in in Buffalo. Setlist:

Set 1:

•Sugar Magnolia

•Eyes of the World

•Estimated Prophet (i couldn't get this out of my head all weekend!!)

•Loose Lucy

•Friend of the Devil

•Into The Mystic (Warren's vocals on this were just incredible!!)

•Help on the Way

•Slipknot>Franklin’s Tower

Set II:

•One More Saturday Night

•Shakedown Street

•China Cat Sunflower (another highlight)

•I Know You Rider

•Rhythm Devils (enjoyed this much more than I usually do)

•Space (even the space was good)

•Viola Lee Blues

•Morning Dew (absolutely beautiful...Bobby, I was shocked and impressed)

•Throwin’ Stones

•Sunshine Daydream


•U.S Blues (With Fireworks!!! Just awesome!)

•Not Fade Away

I just did not want their show to end...what a rush!

Afterwards I checked out Umphrey's second set, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I have seen them twice before but they never did much for me. For the first time I was able to appreciate how WICKED both of their guitarists are. I enjoyed the edgier, more rock-oriented vibe that they brought.

Early sunday afternoon I opted for Peter Rowan/Tony Rice over Toots. Although Rice was not on stage for some reason. All in all Rowan and crew put on a nice show, but I was dissapointed that Rice was not up there, and I think I prefer the quartet line-up that includes the two lovely ladies on bass and mando (the lineup that they have had at gratefulfest the past two years)... I missed the female vocals complementing Rowans own great voice.

Next was Yonder Mountain String Band which my first time seeing them. They were great energy and had me on my feet despite the sweltering, mid-afternoon sun that was beating down. I usually prefer artists to be a little more humble than show-boaty (referring to the lead singer), but his energy was infectious and the music won me over.

Checked out The Hold Steady for the first time after that. I only caught about three or four songs, but I will say that they were the band that I was least into throughout my rothbury experience. Not that I wouldn't give them another chance, but they just didn't grab me. One of the tunes that I heard had a cool melody, but the rest...meh. I think I was expecting them to sound more like The Drive-by-Truckers. I thought the lead singer came off as preachy/simple while still managing to be pretentious. Oh well. Perfect antidote? Mr. Willy Nelson.

Honestly, I don't really have anything new to say about Willy other than he is a pleasure to be in the presence of. You can't help but have a genuine love for this man. His voice sounds as good as ever, and he shows no signs of letting up any time soon. His sister can sure tickle those ivory! Toots came out to sing a duet as well, so I was happy to get to hear him despite missing his set earlier.

Was a little hesitant to leave Willie early in order to catch some of Govt Mule, but boy am I glad that we did!!! Their cover-heavy set was a complete monster!! And along with the Dead and Dylan on of my absolute highlights of the weekend!! Set list below:

1st Set:

Brand New Angel,

Streamline Woman,

I Can't Quit You Baby (sweeeeet!!)

How Many More Years > Higher Ground tease (and what a tease it was),

Don't Step On The Grass,


Patchwork Quilt,

Sugaree, (this was just amazing!! What a knarly, dirty groove he had goin' on for this..

Then Grace Potter (who was lookin' smokin' hot in a black sequined dress I might add...you go girl!)and one of her guitarists joined the Mule for

Find The Cost Of Freedom >Ohio Grace's pipes had no problem matching Warren's!!! What a powerhouse, hard-hitting jam that was.

Fallen Down >

The Other One jam,

All Apologies (wasn't expecting that!!)

Gimme Shelter tease outro,

I'm A Ram

Ended off the night with Dylan. I was a little concerned that his set was going to be anti-climactic in comparison to what I had just seen. Last time I saw Bob it was fairly uninspiring. But honestly, that was the best I have EVER seen Bob. It was sooo good to see him up there enjoying himself. He looked so sly in his black suit, and his demeanor was just so captivating. He is still one groovy SOB!!

Here is his setlist:

1.Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob on guitar)

2. Senor (Bob on guitar)

3. Tangled Up in Blue

4. Rollin' and Tumblin'

5. Spirit on the Water

6. High Water (for Charley Patton)

7. 'Til I Fell in Love with You (center stage with harp)

8. Po' Boy

9. Highway 61 Revisited

10. Ballad of a Thin Man

11. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again

12. Nettie Moore

13. Thunder on the Mountain

14. Like a Rolling Stone


15. Jolene

16. All Along the Watchtower

17. Blowin' in the Wind

Although he ended earlier than I would have liked, his setlist was fantastic, and I now realize that I NEED to get out and get his latest album.

I opted to turn in early on Sunday night. Glad I did. Getting out of the festival on Monday morning was a total breeze. I would go back in a heartbeat....(but I really hope they have the two-day pass option again, and that those two days have a stellar lineup like this year, because I don't know if I could handle a four day run anymore) I'd rather do it up proper for two and have the energy to catch all that I wanted to.

Okay, I really need to do some work now.

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Luther Dickinson is what makes the Crowes sound so much better now adays...

We watched the webcast and I couldn't believe how many solos the guy took, and the fact that Rich let himself get upstaged like that.

The Crowes have been back at it and worth every penny since Luther joined and I for one am very happy about that.

The 15 minute Wiser Time opener was hot to say the least....

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Thanks for the review edger. Sounds fantastic. The sets I caught on iClips were really fun and the crowd looked like they were having a blast. The crowd didn't seem to be overly massive either, but maybe it was that the acts were on the second stage? It all looked so green, open, sunny, friendly. Definitely looking at this as a possibility next year.

Rothbury or Gratefulfest? Probably hard to compare but what's your take?

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Thank you edger, I don't have too much to add to her review as it pretty much covers everything I would have said.

I will say though that it was my first time seeing everyone we caught with the exception of Willie and Gov't Mule. I was either thoroughly impressed or completely blown away by each.

Basically The Dead, Black Crowes, Bob Dylan and Gov't Mule completely blew me away, the rest that we were able to catch; Willie Nelson, Railroad Earth, Umphrey's, Peter Rowan, Yonder Mountain were on all great and completely met up to any expectations I may have had going in. I feel like I'm forgetting some. Either way wow.

I was also able to hear a bit of STS9, Sam Roberts as I was walking from place to place. I heard a bit of Grace Potter in my search for shade during Yonder Mountain holy moly - she also as edger mentioned joined Gov't Mule for a couple - double holy moly.

This festival was by far my best musical experience to date. The location, Sherwood Forest and the company helped make it my best festival experiences to date.

We were able to catch everyone we hoped to and were able to find or bump into almost every person I hoped too see.

I was also amazed at the space available at EVERY stage for every show. Whenever I looked around or whenever the big screen would show a shot of the crowd behind me/around me it seemed like it was from another place just because no area was crowded really at all. We found a new bathroom during Bob which was right of the stage I navigated the crowd so easily I almost forgot to look up but when I did I was right in front of the stage. Glad I did look up and stopped for a bit to take it in!

I really hope to make it back there again!!!

Wow, I guess I had a bit more to say then I thought.

All in all I had an amazing time and I'm oh so glad we made the decision to go.

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Great write-ups, folks. It was indeed a special weekend yet again, and the setting and little extras (Sherwood Forest) make for a more complete feel than other events of similar size and scope.

Highlights for us: YMSB, Brett Dennen, the first set of Dead, Peter Rowan (though I was bummed that Tony Rice wasn't there) and Dr. Ralph Stanley.

All around a great time, with the exception of some rather selfish neighbours. Sorry to not have connected with most of you, though I would imagine our paths did cross. Great to see some Canadian flags flying in the campgrounds and I'll say again that you're not going to find a better package in a big festival.

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Rothbury or Gratefulfest? Probably hard to compare but what's your take?

Well...yeah, as you said it is apples and oranges in many ways. A lot of my most favourite moments from gratefulfest had as much to do with the people that I shared them with as it did the place. Having said that, the set-up at gratefulfest is pretty damn sweet, and you can see some awfully great acts within a nice, comfortable, care-free, no hassle, intimate setting. The re-charge swim each morning in the quarry is hard to beat too!

Musically Rothbury provides way more options, and for the size of the festival it ran really smooth. While it is a friendly atmosphere, and there are certainly lots of people with their children there, I don't think that I would personally bring my son there....not until he is much older at the very least. I just think it would be a little overwhelming for him, and I think that I would prefer to have the freedom of having no parental responsibilities when committing to a larger festival. I know your children are older than mine, so perhaps it would be easier. Apparently there is a family-only section to camp in as well, but I never checked that out.

I think it's easier to have your children with you when everything is centralized, and when the walk back to camp is a short one. It's also nice to be able to have a bonfire back at camp on those nights when you are stuck hanging around the tent while the kiddies sleep. That is not an option at Rothbury. So for me, at this point in our lives i think Rothbury would remain a 'vacation' time for mom. I personally hope that rothbury & gratefulfest do not fall on the same weekend next year, cause i'd love to do both.

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Thanks for the info edger. I think that I would follow your reasoning as well. I never thought about the campfire thing either (which is where I have had some of the best times at Gratefulfest too) and that you just can't have those at a lot of fests.

I also like the idea of being kid-free at a big fest ;)

let's hope they are on different weekends next year is right!

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