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Disc Jam Wrap Up - So Much Groove, We Are Still Buzzing

I didn't think for a second that the 2018 Disc Jam Music Festival would disappoint me, but I really had no idea how much it would raise it's own bar. The festival seemed so much bigger this year! The attendance was considerable, just based on what we observed in how far the camping went compared to last year. In fact, I am curious as to what last year's aerial shot and this year's aerial shot look like next to one another. The music acts were huge and there were so many! There were things I just didn't get to see because I was somewhere else seeing something else. That was a really fun conundrum to have for a writer! There were wonderful vendors, artists, performers, as far as the eye could see and they carried with them a wonderful vibe that I have come to expect from Disc Jam. I really cannot say enough about how wonderful those folks were to interact with.

We had a truly wonderful time at the festival this year! We found a good spot to set up our A Perfect Mess base camp and slowly it grew as some flow tribe and artist friends joined in our little compound. With the considerable increase in attendance, there seemed to be tents as far as the eye could see. Our mornings were filled with good vibes so warm, they chased all the clouds from the sky. Friday was a little rough with news of Anthony Bourdain's passing first thing in the morning. If you read my work, you know I was a great admirer of him as a writer and as someone honest about who they were and how they got to where they are. Applause to the Bloody Mary guy, whoever you are! Those were tasty as hell, and a much needed kick for me.

The festival was sold out. It's really no surprise with the lineup that was put together this year, but what came from that lineup was pure magic. There were guest sit ins. There were collaborations. There was music going almost constantly and if you were not quite grooving on what was in front of you, there was a short walk to another stage for something equally as amazing and just a little different.

The vibe across the festival was that of the biggest and best party you ever showed up to. The music is incredible all the time and more and more of your friends just keep showing up. That was how we felt. We arrived about an hour and a half after gates opened on Thursday and there was already a buzz of excitement in the air.

It's impossible for me to go through the artists one by one, so here are some highlights:

Thursday had us caught in some tight jam grooves with The Mushroom Cloud. They were happily handing out free CD's and pins from the stage, and I hope you got yours! The set closed out with a little Jessica from the Allman Brothers, which I absolutely loved. We caught up quickly after the set with guitar/key/vocal cool guy Paul Harris to give him some props and he had nothing but praise for the festival and the crowd.

Mushroom Cloud

Harsh Armadillo was an absolute sleeper surprise of a set for me. They are tight and funky with a bit of hip hip flavor giving you all you need to dance your ass off - which I very happily did! Their groove was incredibly tight and they had such a cool vibe about them.

Harsh Armadillo

Aqueous was fantastic. They never disappoint so it was no surprise that they took the stage Thursday evening and knocked it right out of the park. Their groove had people dancing all over the field. I was side stage for a bit and happened upon Rob Compa from Dopapod and Compa/Gantzer (who played late that night) and was about to strike up some conversation with him. He apologized kindly (dude is one of the nicest people in the scene) saying he had to hop on stage real quick. Whoops...sorry Rob! But there he went and it was fucking fire. I could have watched Aqueous for another hour and gotten down. They were doing some incredible layering, were tight as hell, and kicked my ass with a cover of Benny and the Jetts.!

Aqueus with Rob Compa

Later on in the tent stage, I got to catch some Gubbulidis that sent me somewhere else for a while. They kicked off with Lost in the Cold which remains my favorite Twiddle song, as it was the song that pulled me into this scene in the first place. But then they did a thing. They did a thing that had me in tears. They pulled out a cover of Counting Crows's Round Here and it was both emotional and fucking perfection in it's execution. Not to mention I was hardly the only person screaming my head off to every word. That moment of everyone in that tent coming together to sing this soul touching song was the magic that I have come to expect from Disc Jam. Later that night were the solo sets from Brook Jordan and Ryan Dempsey, as well as the awesomeness that is the Compa/Gantzer duo.

Friday kicked off in Disc Jam fashion with Boston's Bearly Dead. I love these folks and I look forward to their morning Grateful Dead serenades every morning.  I eventually pried myself away from my tent and carried my bloody mary to the main stages to catch Funky Dawgz Brass Band. Holy shit on a stick in the air, this is something AMAZING going on here. These folks came up all the way from New Orleans to kick our asses and they did just that. There was so much stomp and fire on that stage, my ass has not stopped shaking yet. Seriously, this was just madness and I loved it all! Next we caught a band from Baltimore called Fake Flowers Real Dirt with some funky jazzy soul and tasty jam vibe that I just dug right into. Such a cool vibe and it was easy to see why when we caught up with the vocalist while walking by the vendors. He was there with his kids and his wife, just hanging out and enjoying all that Disc Jam offered. Such a cool guy. Thanks for that, man.

Bearly Dead
Funky Dawgz Brass Band

Catullus kicked some super jams in the tent stage Friday afternoon as well, and what a cool set! I had to cut it early to run to an interview, but they have an awesome taste to their jams. We had tacos with their drummer Michael "Spawn" Fazekas later in the evening, and got to tell him how cool we thought the set was and just shoot the shit about hanging at Disc Jam. I think we actually spent more time talking about tacos. No matter, super dude! Then we ran into bassist Chris Bailey on our hunt for bloody mary guy the following morning. We kept running into these guys. This means something. This is important.

Hunting for the bloody mary guy, and we found the Catullus guy. 

Keeping on Friday, we checked out Ghost Note who was just CRAZY good, and The Nth Power, who really rocked me with their brand of soul funk and jam flavor. After that, it was on to Kung Fu. If you read this blog, you know I don't ever miss Kung Fu if I can avoid missing Kung Fu. Well, guess what asshole got sunburn and heat stroke in the middle of Kung Fu. That's right - THIS ONE. However, I was able to catch most of the mind blowing set. They did their usual awesomeness like new track Caught Up, but they had some guests pop in. Artist at Large and generally nice guy Eli Winderman of Dopapod hopped up to lend his keys to Paragon, followed by Turkuaz songstress Shira Elias who did the Kung Fu tune Daddy D before blowing all our minds with Queen's We Are The Champions to close out the set. Good golly, guys. Naturally we hopped backstage to harass some of our favorite people and caught up with bass master Chris DeAngelis. He will be coming around with his side project LoEndFreque this summer. Keep those eyes peeled.

Kung Fu with Shira

Beau...and a pineapple...

Could Friday get any cooler? Well, of course it could. This is Disc Jam. The Motet hit the stage hard with some help from Shira again on a Prince tribute. Galactic hit the stage and kicked all our asses because lets be honest here...Galactic is freaking amazing. The late night tent stage fun was the much anticipated DJ Logic and Friends. Thanks to heat stroke, I missed this but thanks to pitching our tent across from the tent stage. I got to listen to it all anyway! The night ended in the tent stage with the Barber acoustic set as well. I heard it was pretty rad. I passed out by then. (lame)

Saturday started out with our favorite folks in Bearly Dead before I dragged my significantly improved but still lazy ass over to the main stages to catch Big Mean Sound Machine. Seriously, no name was ever better for a band than this because these folks were tight as hell! The percussion and trombone were fierce as hell! They were one of those bands that made me stop in my tracks and say "DAMN". After that it was over to check out Dub Apocalypse with Eli Winderman on keys. These guys are smooth and cool. They had heavy mellow sax groove, and this David Gilmour-ish flavor that I made sure to remark to them after the set. I'll be doing a follow up on these guys soon, so keep on the look out for that!

The night kept on with headliners Ghost Light, who were simply incredible with such a cool lineup of players, the amazing and visually stunning Beats Antique, and my personal favorites, Lotus. Lotus was electric and wonderful. They played Eats the Light, which I had really wanted to hear, so that was amazing. I went up in front of the stage and raged away with everyone for that and it was a super good time! Then it was over to the tent stage to catch some Electron before my body gave out and I crashed. This festival is jam packed and incredible with music as long as you can stand it. I never even made it to the woods stage but I was told that was incredible as well. All the silent discos were amazing. I did wander back to see the lights and it was so well done.


We loved the Flow Tribe folks, as usual, and I am officially a fan of the hula hoop. In fact, I hope I convinced one of those fine folks to teach me sometime! The art around the site was just incredible. I was having major issues not blowing all my money on artwork while I was there because it was truly amazing. The food was something special this year too, as there was SO MUCH! We spent a lot of time at Bees and Thank You because not only was it incredibly reasonably priced and delicious GRILLED CHEESE, but they send their profits back into helping maintain the honeybee population. I love bees. I love honey. They put honey on my grilled cheese. And we were able to support something I feel strongly about. Amazing.

I have never had so much to go through summarizing an event for this blog! SO. MUCH. STUFF. This blog is an unapologetically honest place, but also a place of heart and soul that seeks to accurately portray events and artists. There is always excessive chatter after an event and while I do go through it with a fine tooth comb out of general curiosity, all I can comment on is what I myself experienced. So here you go.

Naturally with what must have been double the attendance this year, you will have some issues. There were the usual complaints about water access. I don't have first hand experience on this because we brought our own, but it was chatter that we picked up. There was also a pretty shitty (see what I did there?) situation with porto potties not being emptied in a timely manner. We experienced this as well. Being who we are, we did our best to see it as what it was and had as many laughs as we could with other patrons while we all waited for that "not so bad" one together. We warned those who walked up about the really bad ones, we shared our packages of wipes. We did remark that last year, we saw the trucks more often, and as it turned out, there was an issue with the trucks from the company they used. You know what though? It was cleared up and we got through that. In the face of a crisis, it really reflects on the festival itself how things are handled, and there was a statement released and the issue resolved. If anything, it was a learning experience about substantial attendance growth.

All I know is this - if there is a Disc Jam for 2019, A Perfect Mess will be there. It remains one of the best festivals out there, trying to do everything right no matter what, and I hope that small festival vibe continues even if it becomes a huge festival. I didn't even get to see the disc golf or throw any discs myself because there was so much music! There was music I wanted to see and couldn't because I was watching music I also wanted to see at another stage. That's kind of a cool problem to have! There is literally something for everyone at this festival. We had a wonderful time and we can't wait to go back next year.


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