Gathering of the Vibes 2011: Jane’s Addiction, Furthur, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, moe., The Levon Helm Band, John Butler Trio, and Dr. John
Photo by Dino Perrucci
Jane’s Addiction, Furthur, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, moe., The Levon Helm Band, John Butler Trio and Dr. John and the Lower 911 are among the acts slated to appear at Gathering of the Vibes. The annual festival will return to Bridgeport, CT’s Seaside Park from July 21-24. The festival’s lineup will also include: Taj Mahal Trio, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Rhythm Devils, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Toots & The Maytals, Dark Star Orchestra, Ryan Montbleau Band, David Gans, Assembly of Dust, The McLovins, King for a Day, Bridgeport’s own Deep Banana Blackout, The New Mastersounds and Big Gigantic.
Furthur made its Gathering of the Vibes debut in 2010. The festival—which started as a tribute to Jerry Garcia in 1996—has hosted Bob Weir & RatDog (2000, 2005-2007, 2009) and Phil Lesh & Friends (2002, 20098) over the years. Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik has also played Gathering of the Vibes numerous times with Dark Star Orchestra while Furthur drummer Joe Russo performed at the festival as a member of The Duo and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey.
Jane’s Addiction is a more unexpected Gathering of the Vibes headliner. The classic alt-rock band—which created and headlined the first Lollapalooza festival in 1991—is currently working on a new studio album with TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. The band also has some hidden jamband roots.
“This it he 20th anniversary of the Deadicated album where Jane’s played ‘Ripple,’ which was the first tune that hooked me onto the Grateful Dead, which brings it full circle in some strange way,” says Gathering of the Vibes founder Ken Hays. “It is a logical progression from having Les [Claypool] and Primus with us last year—we take that a step further.”
Gathering of the Vibes helped introduce Les Claypool into the jamband festival circuit when the bassist appeared at the event in 2000. He has returned numerous times over the years and appeared at last year’s Vibes with Primus.
Elvis Costello & The Imposters—a critically acclaimed group that covers the Dead’s “Bertha” and “Friend of the Devil” live—will perform at Vibes for the first time. “Elvis has always been on that edge,” Hays admits. “He is incredibly well known, well respected and still musically innovative—he’s a couple of half steps removed [from the Grateful Dead world].”
In addition to Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, this version of Rhythm Devils will feature Keller Williams, Steve Kimock and Reed Mathis. Mathis played bass in the first version of Kreutzmann’s 7 Walkers band. Both Williams and Kimock have performed in previous versions of Rhythm Devils.
Gathering of the Vibes 2011 will boast sets from roots legends The Levon Helm Band, Toots & The Maytals, Dr. John and the Lower 911 and Taj Mahal Trio. “In 2003, when James Brown performed at the Vibes, people thought I was nuts,” Hays admits. “But so many kids had never seen James Brown perform live. It is about turning kids on to some older music and making old Deadheads, like me, check out what some of the younger band’s have going on.”
One younger band that has grown with Vibes is the teenage jamband The McLovins. The group got its start on Vibes’ Teen Stage and progressed to the festival’s side Green Vibes Stage. This year the band will make its mainstage debut. Gathering of the Vibes will also host moe.—who headlined the very first Vibes—as well as festival mainstays Dark Star Orchestra, Ryan Montbleau Band, David Gans, Assembly of Dust and Deep Banana Blackout. Meanwhile, New Mastersounds, Big Gigantic and others will perform late night sets.
One familiar face that will not return this year is longtime festival emcee Michael J. Potashnick, who recently passed away. Vibes co-founder Bob Kennedy will step in to host this year’s festivities with hippie icon Wavy Gravy.
Other new festival additions include a single day VIP option, as well as shuttle service from the festival to New York City each night. Additional acts will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Here’s a look at Vibes’ current lineup
FURTHUR featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir
Elvis Costello & The Imposters
The Levon Helm Band
John Butler Trio
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Dr. John and the Lower 911
Taj Mahal Trio
Rhythm Devils with Keller Williams, Steve Kimock and Reed Mathis
Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
Toots & The Maytals
Dark Star Orchestra
Ryan Montbleau Band
Deep Banana Blackout
The New Mastersounds
Assembly of Dust
King for a Day