Date: Thursday – Saturday, April 10th – 12th, 2014
Line Up: Ziggy Marley, The Hip Abduction and many more.
Venue: Wanee Music Festival, Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. Live Oak, FL
This past weekend was the 10th annual Wanee Music Festival. Featuring 3 full days of live music, the festival’s line-up included some of the most talented acts jamming today! With a camp set up alongside the picturesque lake in the center of the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park, a team from The Pier was there to capture the festivities.
Starting in 2005, hosted with headlining sets from the legendary Allman Brothers Band, over the past decade, a multitude of live music fanatics have ventured to the beautiful park in mid-April to attend the Wanee Music Festival. Promising a vibrant mix of musical acts, The Pier could not have be more excited to head down to the annual gathering.
Kicking off on Thursday, April 10th, the festival bill boasted over 30 excellent bands, playing three days through Saturday, April 12th. With 20 to 30-some-thousand people expected to come out to Live Oak, Florida, our team headed down on Tuesday to secure a prime spot closer to the stages. Setting up that evening and throughout the next day on Wednesday night, we went down to the Mushroom Stage. One of the most beautiful places in the country to see a show, the music always begins here, at the Wanee Wednesday Happy Hour Pre-Party.
Walking down the hammock-laced hill of the park’s incomparable amphitheater, we made our way around thousands of early arrivals already grooving out with The Heavy Pets. The band played the 8:30 to 10:30pm slot before heading down to Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday, to support Umphrey’s McGee as they worked their way up north to Wanee.
The Heavy Pets are a band we have been watching for a while now. Based out of South Florida, the band plays many festivals in the area, up and down the east coast, and have been playing out west more and more. Composed of five skilled musicians, the band fuses Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Funk, Rock and Roll and a bit of Reggae into Jams that blend seamlessly. Check out a sampling of The Heavy Pets with a clip from that set, posted BELOW.
While it’s the 10th year of this festival, 2014 also marks the 45th anniversary (1969-2014) for The Allman Brothers Band. With an announcement made by Gregg Allman that The Allman Brothers Band will stop touring at the end of the year, on Thursday the park noticeably started to fill up. Fans rolled in, excited not only for the music, but for the beautiful weather forecast as well. As people unpacked their rigs, various sounds systems kicked on, their vibrations resonating through the woods, as the campers began to construct their domains for the weekend. Hanging tapestries, lights, decorations and more, the wooded landscape quickly became a multi-colored tent-city.
Now, we went to Wanee to cover the Reggae acts, but what we really got to do was watch a collection of sets from bands we normally wouldn’t be able to enjoy. Thursday night is a perfect example as we were able to check out three unique bands. While the sun began to set Royal Southern Brotherhood took the stage. Composed of Gregg Allman’s son Devon Allman and Cyril Neville of renowned New Orleans Funk band the Meters, Royal Southern Brotherhood fuses the Allman family and Neville Family, blending that southern Jam sound with Funk and percussion accents.
Thursday also allowed us to see Hot Tuna Electric with psychedelic music pioneers Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady formerly of the iconic San Francisco band The Jefferson Airplane. Closing out the first day of the festival was a late set by Soulive one of the premier soul jazz trios. Made up of Alan Evans on drums, Neal Evans on the organ, and bass keys and Eric Krasno on guitar, their sound blasts out as if they were a big band Jazz band. For over two hours these guys mixed up a funky smooth concoction. Though the set was just the start for Kranso as he would go on to sit-in on guitar for several other sets throughout the weekend.
Thursday night admittedly was the only night we got some rest, a smart move considering the onslaught of music Wanee delivered on Friday and Saturday. Friday started early. Just before 12:00pm we hopped out of our sleeping bags and made the short trek down to the amphitheater just as The Hip Abduction was starting up with their Worldly-Reggae fusion.
Formed in 2009 on the southwest coast of Florida, this six member outfit has been gaining traction in the live music circuit playing a unique mix of several various genres. Currently supporting their recently released eponymous second album, the group played through fan favorites like “Holiday,” “Children of the Sun,” and “Children of the Sun” a new untitled track and a few others. Playing right before Ziggy Marley, basically opening for the icon, The Hip Abduction was sure to get everyone in the Marley mood, playing their cover of “Could You Be Loved”. An excellent version with its mix of Reggae riffs and the sounds of the kamelengoni harp. The set was an energetic hour pack with up-beat tracks. Walking out of the photo pit, the best quote heard from one obviously new fan was “Y’all should play late night!”. This was a set that truly seemed to garner a lot of new fans. Check out a video from the set below.
As The Hip Abduction’s final note rang out through the booming crowd, all focus turned to Ziggy Marley. Ending at 1:00 and Marley scheduled to start at 1:00pm, with no break in between we hustled over through the vendor area separating the two staging areas, down to the opposite end of the football size Peach Stage field. As it turned out upon out arrival, Marley was not allowing photographers in the photo pit. However the set was delayed for 25 minutes, allowing us time to go back to camp, grab a larger camera lens, catch our breath and find a place in the crowd to get some good shots.
Friday afternoon was the best time for Reggae music, as we had blues skies, a sunny day, and Ziggy’s 10-piece band back by the surrounding beautiful green foliage swaying in a light breeze,it was perfect. When the band finally all took the stage, Ziggy at center stage with a sense of relief exclaimed “ready to go now,” before launching into his first track of the set, ”Love Is My Religion.”
During his 65 minutes or so on stage Ziggy played a nice selection of 16 tracks from is deep discography, including tracks form his records with the Melody Makers and songs from his solo records. It was a great set, one that featured four tracks off Ziggy’s newly released record Fly Rasta and two Bob Marley covers. One of the highlights was the live version of Fly Rasta’s leading track, “I Don’t Wanna Live On Mars,” a song that is sure to be one of this summer’s hit singles. Be sure to check out a video of the performance BELOW. It’s worth mentioning, without the delayed start, the set list would have contained four more tracks, including three new songs off Fly Rasta. It was a bummer as the set came to an abrupt halt, just as the band hit their full stride. However the band played well, gave it their all and the crowd seemed to overwhelmingly approve. Over the past years’ the festival organizers have done a great job making sure a few Reggae acts land on the line-up, all-in-all, Ziggy Marley was one of the catchiest acts of the weekend. To read more about Ziggy Marley, check out our recent Exclusive Interview.
Friday continued on strong with an afternoon spot from Umphrey’s McGee. Normally the group plays their progressive mix of Rock after sunset, backed by an award winning light display. Having not played an afternoon spot here in a few years, the band made the acknowledgment, saying mid set: It’s great to be outside, thanks for letting us play this spot!”. With a new record set to drop June 10th, the group tore through the afternoon, exposing their talent to a group that contained many fans and many uninitiated to Umphrey’s, who were blown away while waiting to see Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Later, came the highly anticipated set from the Trey Anastasio Band. Composed of Phish front-man and backed by a hand-picked band, the set started out on a more mellow foot. As the sun started to drop, the set started to pick up. First with a sing-a-long of a Phish favorite “Alaska,” then going into ”First Tube,”. After their version of the Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood” with Trumpet player Jen Hartswick belting out the vocals, the band ended their set with the scorching rocker “Push On ‘Til the Day,” before coming back out for a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.” With Dumpstaphunk scheduled to play an all Zeppelin set later in the night, Trey’s intensity during that encore made it seem as if he was challenging the NOLA crew to a Led-off. As fans walked away during the break before the headlining Allman Brothers Band set, all that could be heard was the accolades of the previous set and peoples’ excitement for a full set of Led Zeppelin music.
Finally at a quarter-to-ten, The Allman Borthers Band took the stage. Composed of the band’s name sake Greg Allman, and orignal drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe, the rest of the line up fills out with some of the most dexterous guitarists playing today, including Derek Turck, Warren Haynes and Oteil Burbridge on the bass. This weekend also added Kofi Burbridge to stage’s left end adding in on B3 organ parts for an injured Gregg Allman. The group kicked things off with their famous cover of “Statesboro Blues” before going into Continuing with “No One To Run With,” followed by the notable scales of “Jessica” finishing out the first movement. During the short break Trey Anastasio and his band’s trumpet play Jen Hartswick came out on stage to sit-in on “Who’s Been Talking,” with Trey staying on Gregg’s left, for a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower,” a highlight of the set. After the blistering two hour psychedelic jam that is The Allman Brothers Band, the field quickly emptied into the forest with fans anxious to see the ‘Phunk.
As explain a few songs into the set, six years ago Dumpstaphunk started performing at Wanee playing their original Funk tracks. The Next year the band returned and did something different, performing a Sly and the Family Stone cover set. The following year the group busted out cover from the grandfather of Funk, James Brown. Returning once again, Dumpstaphunk did a set of all Meters covers. Then the next year a set dubbed D-Phunk does P-Funk, covering the Parliament Funkadelic.In 2014 the band brought the house down once again, this time not with Funk, but with a set of all Led Zeppelin covers!
Picking out songs they liked, and songs they thought the crowd would like too, the five funksters of Dumpstaphunk easily covering the instrumentals, split the vocal parts between themselves to cover the range of pitches that compose the famous catalog. These songs are true classics, and with all the love for Led Zeppelin tracks Dumpstaphunk had no problem getting a bit of help. Aside from the crowd singing every line, during those 18 songs played that night several guest stars made appearances. Four songs in John Popper of Blues Traveler stepped up for a rendition of “Custard Pie.” A song Ivan Neville says sounds like it was recorded in New Orleans, and a song that could easily fit in the Dumpstaphunk repertoire. Popper also came out for a great version of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.”
Later before winding it all down, during a 30 second break drummer Nikki Glaspie described the significance of the night’s scene saying “Zeppelin is in my top five bands ever. John Bonham is my hero, so I’m living the dream right now!” then to everyones surprise she brought out Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule and The Allman Brothers Band to add some killer licks on to the last four tracks. Just after 2:00am the band, plus Haynes, came back out for one more, playing “Immigrant Song” as the encore. The show was a constant Rock-jam, full of amazing music, brilliant lights and lasers. We can’t wait to see the DVD! To catch this set live head down to New Orleans as Dumpstaphunk will perform another Zeppelin cover set during Jazzfest at the Howlin’ Wolf April 25, 2014.
The third an final day of Wanee was again stacked with musical artistry. Tedeschi Trucks Band and Gov’t Mule kept the Rock flowing, and that afternoon fans also got to hear beautiful ’90s mega-hits from Rusted Root’s with “Send Me On My Way,” as well as Blues Traveler with “Run Around,” and his cover of Sublime’s “What I Got”. Check out a video from that part of the set below.
At 9:30pm The Allman Brother’s band walked on stage one more time for their supposed last Wanee performance. The set was nothing short of expectations as The Brothers busted out a slew of beloved songs, including the set ender featuring “Blue Sky,” “Gilded Splinters” and a wicked “Whipping Post.” For the ABB encore, “One Way Out,” complete with Eric Krasno on guitar, Roosevelt Collier on the lap steel and John Popper on harmonica. With this bang’s history and all their raging riffs, we could talk about this brilliant band for pages, however after the Peach Stage went dark, there was one band still to play.
This year, for the closing late night set of Wanee Umphrey’s Mcgee turned the Mushroom stage into rocking dance party with their first All Night Wrong set of 2014. The band got the party started with a favorite of The Pier’s, “Life During Exodus,” their Talking Heads-Bob Marley mixup. Packed with the sit-ins from the Wanee All-Stars, the set contained John Popper on The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You,” Allmand Brothers’ bassist Oteil Burbridge on “When the World is Running Down You Make the Best of What’s Still Around” originally by The Police, Warren Haynes on Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and The Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water” and several other collaborations, ending with The Beatles “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” featuring Eric Krasno on guitar.
Umphrey’s Mcgee is a band that is amazingly polished, they play with perfection and produce a top quality sound every night. We have seen them many times through the years but it was a special experience to see them play on this night, performing material they haven’t had time to honed in, having fun jamming the classics.
The Spirit of Suwannee Music park is a magical place, always well worth the trip, no matter if we attend the wonderful Wanee Music Festival or another other excellent event held on those 700 acres. We’re just glad to hear that wether The Allman Brothers Band continues on, or if they do put a break on touring, festival organizers have assure this will not be the end of the Wanee Music Festival, as new and exciting elements are being planned for Wanee 2015!
The Heavy Pets Set List :
01.) How Would I
02.) Keep me Running
04.) Spin ‘Round
05.) Movie Star
07.) Holy Holy
09.) Last Babies
10.) Dew Point
11.) So Thank You Music
The Hip Abduction Set List :
01.) Sun King
02.) Live It Right
03.) Before We Lose Our Minds
04.) Children of The Sun
05.) Brother Charlie
06.) La Resaca
07.) Could You Be Loved
08.) New Song
10.) Golden Sky
Ziggy Marley Set List :
01.) Love Is My Religion
02.) Wild and Free
03.) I Don’t Wanna Live on Mars
04.) Conscious Party
05.) I Get Up
06.) Reggae In My Head
07.) Moving Forward
08.) Get Up, Stand Up
09.) Forward to Love
11.) Give It Away
12.) Is This Love
13.) Tomorrow People
14.) True To Myself
15.) Black Cat
16.) Look Who’s Dancing
18.) Fly Rasta*
20.) You’re My Yoko*
Dumpstaphunk Set List :
01.) Rock & Roll
02.) Black Dog
03.) Dancing Days
04.) Custard Pie *
05.) Houses of the Holy
06.) Nobody’s Fault But Mine *
07.) Misty Mountain Hop
08.) What Is & What Should Never Be
09.) Wanton Song
10. Good Times Bad Times
11. Trampled Under Foot
12. Out on the Tiles
13. Dyer Maker
14. The Ocean **
15. Fool In the Rain **
16. Ramble On **
17. Whole Lotta Love **
18. Immigrant Song (Encore)
* w/ John Popper (harmonica)
** w/ Warren Haynes (guitar)
Wanee Music Festival Links:
Article By: Aaron Solomon
Photos By: Peter Monti
WATCH: The Heavy Pets “So Thank You Music” Live at Wanee 2014.
WATCH: The Hip Abduction Live at Wanee 2014
WATCH: Ziggy Marley “I Don’t Wanna Live On Mars” Live at Wanee 2014
WATCH: Ziggy Marley “Wild and Free” Live at Wanee 2014
WATCH: Blues Traveler cover Sublime’s “What I Got” live at Wanee 2014
More Pictures From Wanee 2014: