Green River Festival, Day 3 Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA July 16, 2017
Story and photos by Kelly D To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]
I love when a plan works out. My dear mother Andie happened to turn 65 on the last day of the Green River Festival and my sister Becca managed to snag two one-day passes off a 93.9 the River contest. Happy Birthday, Mom! You’re going to the Green River Fest.
The day was bright, hot, and sunny – possibly even hotter than the day before. Shade was going to be at a premium, but we came prepared- fancy hats and a lawn chair for the madukes to sit on. We came into the middle of the Dustbowl Revival‘s set upon arrival. As we entered the main field, the band began a delightful cover of “Breakfast in America,” by Supertramp. Becca and I began dance-walking closer to the stage, hooting in glee as they changed the words from “See the girls in California” to “See the girls in- Massachusetts/I hope that it’s gonna come true. . .”
We found our friend Chelsea, hooping away during the set, and then ran to catch the last of Lake Street Dive member Bridget Kearney down the hill at the Parlor Room Stage. Adorned in a bright blue romper and a flower crown, unencumbered by her usual instrument- the upright bass- we almost didn’t recognize her. Her voice is a pleasant combination of husky yet melodic; it was groovy to see her in another facet, as a frontwoman rather than a piece of the LSD puzzle. We set Mom up in her lawn chair and, on a Tea Guys run to stay hydrated in the summer heat, I bumped into an old friend backstage.
Sitting in the grass beneath a tree that was positioned behind the main stage, I caught up with him while listening to the Infamous Stringdusters and snapping some photos of them from behind. Champions of folk and bluegrass, their mellow tones provided the perfect soundtrack to reuniting with this pal of mine, who I hadn’t seen in many years.
Chicano Batman‘s set at the 4 Rivers stage proved to be one of the best experiences of the day. Even though the temperatures were well into the 80s, these guys were nattily clad in velvet suits (their female backup singers got a reprieve, dressed in white). I had heard their songs “Friendship (is a Small Boat in a Storm)” and “Freedom is Free” on the River- theirs is a fun mix of 70s AM radio fuzz and modern sound. Frontman Bardo Martinez was especially effusive- twirling around onstage, actually doing a mic drop at the edge of the stage, and finally removing his jacket to move about more effectively. I was enchanted! I’m definitely going to see them again if I have the chance.
At this point, my mom had begged off to relax on her terms in the family pool. My sister went to go work her shift at the Berkshire Brewing Company tent. I was flying solo for the time being so I decided to refill my Tea Guys beverage cup and listen to the Funky METERS from backstage. Legends of the funk scene (as their name would suggest), the group was founded at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1989 and is headed by Art “Poppa Funk” Neville. I popped around the stage, boppin’ and groovin’, and then headed into the crowd to get a better glimpse of these incredibly talented musicians. There, I found a few of my friends, danced with abandon, and indulged in some (legal) treats.
From the YouTube channel of The BBG:
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead finished off the festival. I spent the majority of this Grateful Dead tribute band’s set in the grass down the hill, listening to the far-off music floating down to earth. However, I made my way into the photo pit during “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad” (not technically a Dead song but they made it their own), to the instrumental “We Bid You Goodnight”. . . and the encore of “Not Fade Away”- again, a cover, but now synonymous with Grateful Dead and their legions of fans.
As I looked over the crowd of people nodding and singing along, everything tinged in a rosy hue as the sun went down, the refrain pounded itself into my head and heart: “You know our love will not fade away. Our love is real, not fade away.” It’s the credo of the live music lover. What a perfect finale. Here’s to Green River Fest 2018- organizers, you have a hell of a weekend to top!
From the video channel of Sunny Lowdown Music
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