Neighbor Headlines Jam Packed Festival Lineup in Harmony Maine by Joel Shover
The ever-changing seasons never let up in New England, and with change comes growth and with growth comes joy and bliss. Joy & Bliss is not the only thing nestled in the air above the high green hills in Harmony, Maine at the Germination Festival on May 20, 21, & 22.
The Germination Festival featured local artists and local farmers along with national touring musicians all showing off what they do best. No matter what I write from here on out in this review you should be online buying your ticket to next year’s Germination Festival because words will not be able to describe the weekend of fun you will have at Freedom Field!
Freedom Field is the dream that Donny Christen envisioned when he started hosting music in Maine since 1972 and now that vision has become a staple in Harmony Maine offers plush green rolling hills and a newly remodeled main stage that can manage all major national touring acts and their wild light shows. Fans can book early and reserve one of the many cabins that are on the property or just do the primitive camping thing. Either way you are sure to have the time of your life! Food vendors along with cannabis and craft vendors were all on-site through the whole weekend.
This place has it all. From fire pits and hot showers to the cleanest port-a-potty’s you will find at any festival, Freedom Field is worth the extra drive. The moment you make the turn onto the long dirt road up to the field you feel that sense of rejuvenation, that sense of recharge and readjust. The most friendly and amazing staff greets you. The rules are simple Be kind and No Pills, Powders, Gases, or Glass, but most importantly be kind, and love the Neighbor and take care and cherish this earth that we were given.
Friday started off with overcast clouds but a pleasant temperature throughout the day. Music filled the crisp summer-like air as fans were laying out on the grass listening away as I made my way to the stage, I could hear Higher Education from Maryland rocking their psychedelic-rooted-melodies. The state local band Merther was up next with their style of progressive reggae rooted jazz funk to the delight of the growing crowd. Fire dancers were on hand to entertain the crowd along with the great sounds as well.
Beau Sasser and The Sensi Allstars were the chosen headliner for Friday and the reason was clear. The band brought their magic up to the mountain and they did not disappoint one bit. Beaus’ fantastic energy along with the amazing percussion and horns this band had it all! They are a perfect addition to this wonderful festival, or any other festival out there, definitely give them a listen! The sounds of the DJ’s spinning music to in the rest of the evening took all the attendees into dreamland.
Saturday came up before the sun with the clouded dew-soaked field. All the buzz was, would it be as hot as the record 93-degree sun-filled forecast? Thankfully, mother nature gave us our first break but keeping the temperatures comfortable. The coffee was a flowing and so was breakfast. When I say this place has it all I mean it!
Down East Dead brought the familiar sounds of the good ole Grateful Dead to the field to the delight of the families blowing bubbles, spinning, and dancing just having a wonderful time. Dogs In a Pile was introduced from New Jersey, “what exit?” These young men are going places fast! The exceptional amount of talent that explodes on stage when they perform is beyond amazing.
Rhode Island’s own Jabbawaukee performed next. If there is a festival in the field you can bet Jabbawaukee will be there, they have become a funky family staple of music up here. Neighbor hit the stage to headline their very first of many, festivals. THIS BAND HAS IT ALL!! I was first introduced to these guys in the fall of 2021 and have been trying to catch a show since but kept missing due to flight delays and weather. The weather almost got us again, but in biblical form, it totally missed us and left the stage looking like something from the movie Independence Day.
Neighbor is made up of from the childhood neighbors themselves Richard James (Vocals, Keys) and Lyle Brewer (Guitar) and rounded out with Dean Johnson (Drums) and Dan Kelly (Bass). These four multi-talented musicians have it all. They took the stage and the hearts of all the fans in attendance including Harmony’s own neighbors as they grooved in their chairs and danced alike to this amazing setlist that included a nod to the town of Harmony with “Harmony” the first time they played this song. Another song that included some more Maine love was “Skin It Back.”
Here is the full setlist:
Headrush > Terror for Free, Drums > Granddaddy Said, Broadway, Chickens, Point of No Return, Cuba Street > Harmony, Why I Like You > Skin It Back, Mighty Apple Tree, The Comet > Silver III, Planet Silver > Lonely Rider > Mary and Martha E: We Bid You Goodnight
Sunday morning came without a blink, and we were treated to the stories and poems PapaJoe Gaudet. The music kicked off with the sounds Jordan Kaulback followed by Tony Margonis. New England’s own Leon Trout headlined the show main stage. The four-piece Funk fusion band brought their Jam-filled mashups and monster guitar solos. Look for these guys to play the field many more times as well.
The music talent got shuffled around over the weekend with some bands unable to perform due to Covid but that did not stop the musicians doing what they love to do and that is play play play! Thanks to Dan Kelly and all the other musicians that really stepped up to make great memories for me and the many others that attended.
One thing for sure is that every fan that was in attendance had a smile on their face and an even bigger on by the end!
Till the next Germination Festival………won’t you be my Neighbor?
Words, pictures and videos by Joel Shover
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