Category / Music

Rothbury vs. Bonnaroo – A look back July 19, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I’m finally unwinding from my July 4th weekend (yes, two weeks later) and got some free time to write up a bit about Rothbury.

For those of you who don’t know much about me, I have attended music festivals (the kind that draw hippies from around the country to camp out for 3 or 4 nights and listen to 20+ bands in a weekend) since I was in college. I was a bit obsessed with them, so after college I went and worked for a short time with a promoter on the east coast. It was a blast, and quite revealing on the back-end of the scene.

When that company eventually ceased to operate, I found myself back as an attendee at music festivals, rather then behind the scenes. That was the first year that Bonnaroo happened – a music festival in Manchester, TN that, with no formal advertising campaign, sold out 50,000+ tickets in just a few weeks at $100+ a pop. Three stages of music over four days (and a few beers later), I was hooked. Music festivals were clearly the next big “music industry thing.” For me, anyway.

From 2002 to 2007 I have been to every Bonnaroo and have watched the festival evolve. Each year I have gone with the hope that the festival would grow and learn more – new art, new logistics for the festival itself, better services, different music. Bonnaroo met that challenge for the first few years. To add to it, I always challenged myself to try something new – car camping, RVing, VIP, no car (tent-only) camping, no tent camping (yikes – thanks United Airlines for losing my bags!), etc. This just added to the fun and experience. I learned a ton about how to be a great festival go-er.

Skip to 2007, and a host of music festivals now dot the country of this magnitude. 10,000 Lakes Music Festival, Langerado, All Good Music Festival, Vegoose, and so on – just to name a few. Each one of these has taken a page from the other, and it seems like they each try and “one up” each other from year to year.

Then came 2008. While I had noticed a distinct shift in direction (and type of attendees) at Bonnaroo since 2002, the lineup was always interesting. I bought my flight and reserved transportation in November – before the lineup was even announced. But this year, when I heard Metallica was the headliner, with Kayne West. This was a big letdown for me – Bonnaroo’s first ever – to the point where I actually decided to cancel my ticket and plans to go.

Then Rothbury was announced.

The line-up was just like Bonnaroo 2002, and the location looked better. My hopes were high, so high, that I worried they wouldn’t be met. After all my experience I certainly had some standards to meet.

Well, I’m pleased to announce that ROTHBURY BLEW ME AWAY. The festival was fantastic. It felt like someone had gone around and looked at every annoying detail about every festival and fixed it. Everything was better – from no lines to get in, to lots of room to park and camp, to lots of space on the concert fields, to the amazing sherwood forest and the related psychedellic light show there, to the calm and relaxing get-away at the beach, to the cabins that dotted the property – even the wristbands they issued were comfortable! It seemed like everything was so smoothly setup and run, I just couldn’t believe it.

Rothbury has won me over, but it’s also showed me that you can clearly keep raising the bar – it just takes some new creativity. It is my sincere hope that Rothbury does not get so excited about this year’s success that they try to “blow up” the place with too many people and not enough new creativity. That is where, looking back, I felt like Bonnaroo fell short. It wasn’t so much the line-up that disappointed me, but the fact that nothing on the festival grounds has really changed in the last three years, so a crummy lineup + no new festival grounds “stuff” wasn’t a compelling enough reason to drop ~$2,000 for the trip there (I’m coming from California, so it ends up costing!).

Anyway, check out the photos I’ll be posting tomorrow for some awesome Rothbury pics.

and here’s to a Phish reunion 🙂

Rothbury at Night #1

Rothbury at Night #2

Phish Re-Union at Rothbury? June 6, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Probably not… but what the heck:

This is starting to look exactly like Bonnaroo 2002…

In 2002, Bonnaroo added almost all the members of Phish (doing individual acts) to their bill, during a time when Phish was on hiatus. Then a bunch of rumors started about Phish getting back together. Tickets sold out practically immediately.

With Rothbury, again almost all members of Phish are doing individual acts. There are now also quotes in the press from well-known Phish comrades (Tom Marshall?) hinting at interest in a re-union. Trey also throws out leading comments…

“When Phish broke up,” he recently told Rolling Stone, “I made some comment about how I’m not gonna go around playing ‘You Enjoy Myself’ for the rest of my life. And it’s so funny because Fish and Mike and Page have been talking to each other a lot lately and now — it’s not that I can’t believe that I said that, but its symbolic of how much I lost my mind or how much I lost my bearings or something. Because at this point in time I would give my left nut to play that song five times in a row every day until I die. I certainly thought about that while I was in jail.”

This will get interesting. The big logistical difference for a reunion at Rothbury is, in my opinion, that Page isn’t booked somewhere else (in Bonnaroo 2002, not all members were free)… So even if he’s not on the bill today, he could be.

Phish could reunite at Rothbury music fest

(This article was likely a P.R. tactic by Rothbury fest organizers. Smart move on their part)

Trey Anastasio Hints at Phish Reunion

Trey Anastasio hoping to reunite Phish

(Interview with Tom Marshall)
Other noise:
JamBase Article – Trey Talks Phish
All About Jazz commentary article
TicketNews – Is Phish contemplating a reunion tour?
Live Music Blog – Phish Reunion Rumors
A Phish Reunion – Trey, so soon?
Philly Daily News – A Phish Reunion Could Be In The Works

Whether or not Phish plays, ticket sales will likely be up. And Bonnaroo 2002 was an awesome first year fest.

Insuring your… concert tickets? December 10, 2007 at 7:32 am

Ticketmaster, as if it wasn’t greedy enough yet with it’s fees, now wants you to buy insurance for those concert tickets you purchased. Looks like the fees are about $5-$20 depending on what you paid for your tickets.

The idea is simple – if you miss or can’t make a show for a “covered reason” you get a full refund, including fees (wow! Even cancelled shows don’t refund fees).

Some interesting text from the FAQ on Ticketmaster’s site: “Required to Work – if your employer requires you to work during the event” is listed as one of the covered events. In the actual writeup of the insurance it states that prior contractual obligations for work aren’t covered, but this seems like a pretty grey area. Does this mean you can just call in and say your boss had you work late and get a note from him saying so, and then get a full refund? Seems like that would take all the risk out of attending a show…

Interestingly you can also buy the insurance up until the day before the show.

Also interesting… This “insurance” does not cover cancellations by the promoter or venue! REALLY? That’s sort-of crazy, isn’t it? It’s really only if you, the attendee, can’t make it – not the venue. That’s certainly some limited coverage.

The insurance, btw, isn’t provided by Ticketmaster themselves – it’s through Access America. Read the fine print here.

the new Jambase at 7:25 am

As you may have noticed, my life often revolves around music. I rely heavily on a site named Jambase to feed me show calendar information for upcoming gigs.

I noticed that Jambase updated their look and feel about a month or two ago. Rather then be the first to review something, I like to play with it for a while to see if it’s really as good as my first impressions indicate.

Well, in this case, it’s proven better! The new Jambase is kick-ass. There’s simply nothing bad I can say about it. Aside from a much, much cleaner look and feel that strikes me as being more intuitive with a color-scheme that’s more user-friendly, it’s feature-rich in a way that I really like.

Here are some specific adds I really appreciate:

1. Search bar at the top is greatly improved. Typing in acronyms or venues works just fine (WSP instead of Widespread Panic, for example).
2. My JamBase is now, in my opinion, the heart of the site/application. I can very, very easily add shows to my personal calendar and then see if any of my friends are also going to the show, if they also use JamBase
3. DOWNLOAD TO OUTLOOK! Quite possibly my favorite feature (though not as accessible as I’d like! sometimes can be hard to find). For those of us who are not organized, if you actually view the page for an event, at the bottom is a download to Outlook link
4. Quick links to show info, venue info and buying tickets. Always in the right spot.
5. The frames in the middle displaying your shows w/ scroll bar are handy. They keep the rest of the buttons on the page accessible.
6. Being able to share my profile/show calendar with others has been helpful already, while not expected.
7. The “quicklist” of shows in your area on the left when you visit is key for a quick look at what’s going on in your area today/this weekend.

Well, overall, it’s just better. I think Jambase hit the spot on this. I’d be OK with better use of some of the whitespace or smaller fonts, though – I like all my info to fit on one screen – but that’s a pretty minor complaint compared to the old site, which was just hard to navigate in general.

Very impressed. Thanks Jambase folks!

My first ever Phish Phry December 9, 2007 at 12:26 am

Last night I went to my first Phish Phry. For those of you who don’t know what that is (I didn’t), the Phish Phry is an event that happens every couple of months at a bar here in San Francisco where they play Phish all night on a kickin sound system. To nobody’s surprise, the now-30-somethings who toured with Phish while growing up flocked to the bar to enjoy hanging out and, at times, jamming out, to Phish with friendly heads.

This was absolutely one of the most down-to-earth, friendly gatherings I’ve been to in this city. I had a blast. I only hope to bring Jeff, Nat, Baxter, TJ, Jacob and others who’ve visited me in the past to come visit again for this event. Almost as good as being at a show…. (Almost)

Upcoming show schedule October 24, 2007 at 4:19 am

Well, folks, it’s showtime again! Concerts, concerts, concerts…

So let’s just hop to it.

STS9- Oct 31st (Halloween) @ The Warfield – San Francisco, CA
STS9 – Nov 30th & Dec 1st @ the Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
STS9 – Dec 29th & 30th @ the Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
WSP – New Years Eve @ Philips Arena – Atlanta, GA

Yeah, that should keep me busy and happy w/ the tribe.

Still wish the Biscuits would come out more often.

Celebrate Jerry’s Birthday with a Free Concert in the Park! August 5, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Celebrate Jerry Garcia’s Birthday during Jerry Day! Enjoy a free concert in a public park in San Francisco (NOT Golden Gate Park).

Click here for full details!

Sunday, August 5th, 2007 – 12:00pm to 6:00pm PST
Melvin Seals and JGB
Workingman’s Ed

See ya at the show.

Vegoose 2007 – Are you going? July 28, 2007 at 5:36 pm

It looks like we’ll be hitting up Vegoose for our third year. We like this fest, as it’s in Vegas, so there’s always something to do, and it ‘s just a hop-skip-jump away from us in San Francisco. The Halloween theme is fun and the weather is always good, of course. And such a varied lineup – Rage + Cypress Hill? Did you SEE Cypress Hill at Bonnaroo? Hillarious.

The initial lineup has been announced:
– Rage Against the Machine
– Daft Punk
– Iggy & the Stooges
– Muse
– The Shins
– Cypress Hill
– Michael Franti and Spearhead
– Queens of the Stone Age
– Public Enemy
– Blonde Redhead
– Ghostface Killah & The Rhythm Roots Allstars
– Umphrey’s McGee
– Ghostland Observatory
– Thievery Corporation
– the Battles
– and more…

So who’s in?

Pics from last year’s Vegoose trip are in my photos gallery! 🙂

STS9, Biscuits, SCI, oh my! July 24, 2007 at 12:11 am

Well that was awesome. Two full days of music @ the Greek Theater, which has got to be the most fun venue in the area. It was hot hot hot, though.

Pics will be up on the website tonight.

Alltunes / lives! July 20, 2007 at 7:49 am

So if you haven’t checked out /, I think you should. Not because it’s a controversial site that involves possibly violating copyright laws, but because it’s a fascinating attempt at distributing music on the Internet for very low prices – that’s been HIGHLY successful. As usual, rather then embrace this model, music companies are fighting this firm (with millions of legal $s) in an effort to protect “their rights.” Fair enough. But aren’t these the same companies that are continuously failing to catch the public’s attention with their copyright-protection riddled downloading schemes? These guys are busy making millions with a wonderful system! BUY IT AND SET WHATEVER PRICES YOU WANT!

Now, because of all the controversy, you might have trouble getting started. So here’s what you can do.

1) Create an account on and download the Alltunes player/store (it’s similar to iTunes).

2) Create an account on XRost – the payment system. This link will take you there. Create an account, and buy a credit for $20 or so.

3) Deposit the credit you bought in step 2 into AllTunes via this link.

4) Download $20 worth of music! At $0.14 a song or so, you can get about 140 songs or 11 albums ($1.80/album!)

If you want to read up on this stuff, check out these recent articles… A bit of background before you read:

1) The site uses a “loophole” of sorts to claim that all the music they distribute is covered under a russian distribution license that’s really intended for other uses.

2) The music industries have been trying to sue the company for years but Russia won’t have it. The RIAA has even used lobbiests to try and pressure congress to force Russia to comply!

3) Visa pressured a credit card processing company to ban payment processing by AllTunes. A Russian court overturned this ruling recently.

Try AllTunes here