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The Loop

Published: 2010/09/17
by Jim Howard

Life Is Good, Indeed

Take a beautiful day, the perfect location, and an outstanding collection of bands and you’ve got yourself all the makings for a fantastic festival. This is what the folks at the Life is Good Festival put together in Canton, MA (just outside of Boston.) As I was only able to make one day of the weekend festival, I chose to go Saturday, and to watch a bit of the webcast on Sunday. What I found was a great little gem to celebrate the end of summer, or perhaps the beginning of fall. Either way you look at it, it was a great time.

The collection of bands booked for the festival complemented each other making the day flow beautifully. The different musical styles complemented each other like courses in a gourmet meal. Donovan Frankenreiter may have been a long way from his native Hawaii, but his afternoon set was a day one highlight for the New England crowd. Ozomatli’s Latin-based flavor was a perfect treat for the day. Bringing little kids from the crowd up on stage for a Conga line was fun for all. As a guy who knows very little reggae, Ziggy Marley’s set had me dancing along. Ben Harper & Relentless 7 closed the first day of the festival with a strong set that sent folks home knowing they had had a good day.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals were the draw for me. I’d seen them at Boston’s House of Blues in May and was pumped to see them again. They absolutely delivered. The high-energy show rocked the crowd. Grace’s voice, style, charisma, and pure energy exploded off the stage. When they finished Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” complete with sitar solo I commented that it was too bad that the song is so short. They finished the set with the explosive “Medicine” featuring a full band drum solo, followed with the explosive, “Paris (Ooh La La)”

The setting was serene and made for a day that matched up perfectly with their branding/mantra, Life is Good. Prose Farm sits at the foot of Blue Hills, a favorite spot for local hikers. Blessed with a beautiful cloudless, cool New England day, the crowd spanned from the very young being pushed in their strollers to silver-haired veterans of the festival scene. Life Is Good was well organized from the ease of shuttle buses (when does that happen?) to the layout of stages, booths, and amenities. Even Grace Potter gave organizers a shout out from the stage for doing a good job on their end. The cherry on top was that the proceeds went to the Life is Good kids foundation, a charitable organization whose mission is to help “kids overcome life-threatening challenges such as violence, illness and extreme poverty.”

Here’s hoping that the Life is Good Festival becomes an end of summer tradition for many years to come.

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