Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (Photo submitted)
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LAKE GEORGE — Glamping is a term often used for those who pamper themselves while camping outdoors. You can identify them what they bring to the campsite — air mattress, those portable air conditioners, a generator, a television, a full-blown music festival.
Consider last year, while Pink Talking Fish was performing Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” as fireworks exploded overhead. The aerial pyrotechnics accentuated the glamorous experience at Charles R. Wood Festival Commons that weekend.
The 4th Annual Adirondack Independence Music festival returns to Lake George over Labor Day weekend, once again taking place at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons on Saturday, and Sunday, Sept. 1 and 2.
(Editor’s Note: Admission to the festival does not involve camping.)
The two-day, multi-band event will feature several of the premiere touring bands currently on the festival circuit, including headliners Twiddle and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, each of whom will perform two sets at this year’s festival.
Pink Talking Fish will return, joined on the lineup by Keller Williams. Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime will bring a West Coast vibe to the show. Rounding out the list of acts is Lucid, Lespecial, Formula 5, Jen Durkin & The Business, Swift Technique, Steal Your Peach Band, Wild Adriatic Presents: Multipede, Gratefully Yours, Goose, The Melting Nomads, Let’s Be Leonard and LDF: Ladies Drink Free.
“This is really big,” said James Woods, bass player for Formula 5. His jam band has a unique perspective on playing in front of the Queen of American Lakes. Not only did the band throw its second “Rock the Dock” festival on the piers of Lake George, it has performed with nearly all the acts playing at this year’s Adirondack. “We have all these bands. It’s going to draw a lot of people. It’s a really good production.”
Woods called this year’s lineup a “powerhouse” set. Factor into the mix Hartley’s Encore, which plays as part of this year’s festival. The band only just opened for Los Lobos at Cohoes Music Hall last month. The funk and soul band out of Albany plays to a free audience on Monday at Shepard’s Park.
“Another dark horse set that people are going to see is Back to School Special,” said Woods. It will be the debut performance by this funky supergroup featuring saxophonist Sam Kininger, of Lettuce and Soulive; drummer Michelangelo Carubba and guitarist Craig Brodhead, of Turkuaz; and keyboardist Beau Sasser, of Kung Fu.
The festival will feature music across two alternating main stages at the festival commons from 1 to 11 p.m., with late-night sets taking place at King Neptune’s (just a short walk up the lake) until 3 a.m. Admission to the late-nights sets is free to festival attendees 21 and older. However, music at the festival commons is open to all ages and families are encouraged to attend.
With years of relentless touring under their belts, the Vermont-based, jam/rock band Twiddle has built an impressive resume, spanning Red Rocks to Bonnaroo and multiple sellouts at historic venues including Port Chester, New York’s Capitol Theatre and Washington D.C.’s 9:30 club. The quartet celebrated the past two New Year’s Eves in the Capital District with performances at the Palace Theatre in Albany, where they were joined by loyal fans from all over the country. Twiddle will perform two sets to close out Saturday night at the festival.
“Never miss a Sunday show,” said Greg Ormont, dropping an oft-referenced phrase among Phish fans. The lead singer for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is a Phish fan, himself. He knows, too, how the jam band reserves the best sets for the final, Sunday night performance. Ormont’s band is Sunday’s headlining act.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, brings end-of-the-world enthusiasm to its high-energy psychedelic funk. The band’s infectious electro-funk grooves, undeniable live energy and contagious smiles have its rabid fanbase “the Flock” growing exponentially. Based out of Baltimore, Maryland, this animated quartet has been scorching up the country with its explosive performances and danceable peaks.
“When you walk out on that stage, it’s a really incredible opportunity,” said Ormont. “Our fans reflect that energy to us. … That’s why we work hard while we’re home, so we come out and just have fun, and do our best.”
For those wishing to make a full weekend of it, there will also be a free multi-venue kick-off party on Friday, Aug. 31, starting with the Funky Dawgz Brass Band & Capital Zen at Shepard Park in downtown Lake George, at 6 p.m. That show will be followed by Sophistafunk & Half Step at King Neptune’s, at 9:30 p.m.
The festival wraps up with another free show on Monday, Sept. 3. Shu, Hartley’s Encore and multi-instrumentalist, Rich Ortiz plays sets at Shepard Park from 1 to 6 p.m.
Tickets to the festival are just $80 in advance for weekend tickets and $45 for day tickets and are currently on sale at www.eventbrite.com. There is also a special VIP option available, which includes admission to the festival, a buffet dinner, free snacks, half-priced adult beverages, $1 water / soft drinks, a private viewing area (with private bar) and access to private bathrooms.
For more info visit: www.adkmusicfest.com.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.