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Published: 2012/04/02

Phil Lesh & Friends, Weir Hornsby Marsalis, Primus, The Avett Brothers, Mickey Hart Band, Yonder and More Set For Gathering of the Vibes

Primus, Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir & Bruce Hornsby with special guest Branford Marsalis, STS9, The Avett Brothers Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers and Yonder Mountain String Band are among the acts slated to perform at Gathering of the Vibes 2012. The annual celebration will return to Bridgeport, CT from July 19-22. Other acts slated to appear include: Steel Pulse, Zappa Plays Zappa, Greyboy Allstars, George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners, Keller Williams, Dark Star Orchestra, Mates of State, Deep Banana Blackout, ALO and Ryan Montbleau Band, among others.

This is the fourth year in a row that the festival—which started as a tribute to the Grateful Dead—will feature all four surviving core members of the band. Though the past two years have featured the band’s collaborative post-Jerry Garcia projects The Rhythm Devils and Furthur, this year the musicians will perform with their individual projects.

“Each individual member of the Grateful Dead has continued to evolve creatively and that’s something the Deadhead community loves and embraces,” says festival founder Ken Hays. “They’ve kept it fresh and creative. As the saying goes, ‘they’re bound to cover a little more ground.’”

Grateful Dead tribute act Dark Star Orchestra will also play a four-hour set on the festival’s opening night. DSO features guitarist Jeff Mattson of the Zen Tricksters, a Vibes mainstay since the beginning. The recently reunited Original Strangefolk will also return to the festival while Reid Genauer will play a second set with his current project Assembly of Dust.

This year will also mark the return to two electronic groups with early ties to the Vibes: STS9 has not performed at the festival since 2000 while Conspirator’s Marc Brownstein and Aron Manger have not played vibes since they performed at the festival with the Disco Biscuits in 2001. In addition to their own set, Conspirator will play collaborate with rising electro-stars Big Gigantic as the Gigantic Underground Conspiracy (the two group’s first collaborated on New Year’s Day).

“We are going to have special guests sitting in throughout the weekend,” Hays hints. “There is going to be a lot of artist cross-pollination this year.”

Gathering of the Vibes’ late night offerings also include a Royal Family Ball event featuring Soulive and Lettuce as well as the Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine. For the first time, music will stretch until 2 AM and until 4 AM on the festival’s side stage. In addition, Vibes will feature a Silent Disco on the beach and expanded “kids’ corner” and “teen scene” areas.

“There are so so few opportunities for parents and kids to bond,” Hays says of the festival’s family offerings.

In addition to their core jamband and Dead-related acts, Vibes continues to expand its stylistic scope with event co-headliners The Avett Brothers, who will close out the festival on Sunday. In addition, indie rockers Mates of Sate, who recorded some songs in Bridgeport, CT for Trey Anastasio’s forthcoming studio project, will make their Vibes debut.

“It is a difficult balance: we want to appeal to the Deadhead community but also branch out a little bit and let people see something they haven’t experienced yet,” Hays says. “It continues to grow and grow. What turns me on is for people to see these band might have heard of but never seen live—in front of a massive stage and light package.”

Here’s a look at Gathering of the Vibes’ initial lineup

Phil Lesh & Friends
Bob Weir & Bruce Hornsby with special guest Branford Marsalis
The Avett Brothers
Mickey Hart Band
Yonder Mountain String Band
Steel Pulse
Zappa Plays Zappa
7 Walkers featuring Bill Kreutzmann
Greyboy Allstars
George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners
Keller Williams
Dark Star Orchestra
Mates of State
Deep Banana Blackout
Original Strangefolk Reunion
Ryan Montbleau Band
Max Creek
Zach Deputy
Kung Fu
Assembly of Dust
Joe Pug
David Gans
The McLovins
Toubab Krewe
Cosmic Jibaros
Band Together
Andy the Music Man

Late Night: Royal Family Ball featuring Soulive and Lettuce
Gigantic Underground Conspiracy
The Machine

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