RECAP: Adirondack Independence Music Festival

RECAP: Adirondack Independence Music Festival

Since 2009, festival lovers have gathered in Lake George, NY for one of the most popular events of the summer — the Adirondack Independence Music Festival. Taking place on the shores of the lake at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons, AIM is perfectly positioned for optimal fun, sound, and beauty.

Day one kicked off with some funk from Albany, NY’s Hartley’s Encore leading right into a great set from Deadgrass. While these guys and their instruments look like a traditional bluegrass band, they are anything but. The group is able to add a twist of bluegrass to the Grateful Dead songs bringing them to another dimension. Then, hailing all the way from San Francisco, Midnight North took the stage for an epic set that only they know how to do. With soulful voices and expert musicianship, this delightful blues/soul/rock band never fails to impress.¬†Kung Fu followed Midnight North and kept us moving through the hot afternoon sun. This band’s special brand of “extreme funk” is something everyone should experience live at least one time.

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At that point, the planets aligned and we got a rare treat here in the northeast — a set from Lucid. Since they only appear a few times each year, their glorious set was a treat indeed. And a sit-on from Lowell Wurster’s dad George just added to the family vibe present on the grounds throughout the entire event. It seemed that the organizers arranged Saturday afternoon around amazing singers and songwriters because as the day turned into evening, and the relentless sun began to subside, G. Love & Special Sauce took the stage followed immediately by the Ryan Montbleau Band. Both bands delivered amazing sets. G. Love and Special Sauce brought their amazing brand rock even featured a sit in from Twiddle’s Mihali Savoulidis. To round out the day, right before the headliner took the stage, Marco Benevento was the perfect appetizer for the Twiddle. Dressed all in white, Marco and his band looked almost as amazing as they sounded. With their special spice of dance-rock, Marco and company had everyone on their feet already when it was time for the main event.

ADK Music Fest 2019 - Frankie Cavone (122 of 487).jpg(Photo: Frankie Cavone)

Twiddle opened set one with their song “Apples” which matched perfectly with the scents of Autumn in the air. To everyone’s delight, Keyboardist Ryan Dempsey was back with the band after a short time away. You could tell immediately through their music that the band was happy to be back together again as Mihali Savoulidis pulled some tricks out of his sleeve during the “Apples'” jam that none of us had ever heard before.

Twiddle’s set one was a special treat of new tricks and old favorites including tracks like “Dr. Remidi’s Melodium” and “Subconscious Prelude.” Twiddle closed out their first set with a rendition of Sublime’s “What I Got” with a sit-in from G. Love that left the crowd begging for more. Set two was full of expert segues, guitar riffs and a super-jam that included “Carter Candlestick,” “Nicodemus Portulay,” and crowd favorite “Frankenfoote.” Everyone left on Saturday night wondering how Sunday could possibly top the incredible day of music we all just witnessed.

ADK Music Fest 2019 - Frankie Cavone (183 of 487).jpg(Photo: Frankie Cavone)

Sunday started off with a gloriously funky and delightful set from the Big Takeover. Although the day was slightly cooler temperature-wise, the People’s Blues of Richmond took the stage and made everyone forget as they heated us up with a set of rock-and-roll delivered in their signature style.Then, to keep things going Hayley Jane and the Primates took the stage for one of their final appearances together before hiatus. Hayley’s energy is almost as infectious, delightful, and amazing as her voice. It was wonderful to see the group performing together and it felt really appropriate to spend one of their last shows with them this year at AIM.

Next, Twiddle guitarist Mihali Savoulidis and bassist Zdenek Gubb came back to the stage as Gubbulidis. With sit-ins from Lucid percussionist Lowell Wurster and keyboardist Scott Hannay, it was a special moment for everyone.

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At that point, it was time to groove with¬†Pink Talking Fish. Starting with Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage,” this band delivered and kept everyone engaged and on their feet. This set was pure magic as the group sandwiched Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself” into Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” then back into “You Enjoy Myself” featuring front man Greg Ormont of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong.

Before the headliner appeared, Everyone Orchestra continued to heat things up in Lake George. This time, Hayley Jane, Ryan Montbleau, Fuzz from Deep Banana Blackout, Tony Markellis from Trey Anastasio Band, Steve Molitz from Particle, and Matt Blair joined Matt Butler on stage to deliver an on-the-spot set that had everyone on their feet when the headliner finally took the stage to close out the festival.

ADK Music Fest 2019 - Frankie Cavone (391 of 487).jpg(Photo: Frankie Cavone)

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong were the headliners on day two and the boys from Baltimore, MD brought the funk like only they know how to do. For those who don’t get to see the Pigeons that often, the chance to see them play an extended set was truly a treat. For set one, we got to hear an epic jam sandwich including “Penguins,” “Groove is in the Heart,” and “Too Long” as well as an amazing sit-in on Live it Up from Steve Mollitz from Particle. For set two, although we were all reaching epic levels of exhaustion, and the rain started falling from the sky, nearly everyone found shelter and stayed put while the band played “Water.” No one there was about to miss the final set of the night — and for those that stayed, it was well worth it. Playing crowd favorites like “Time to Ride” and “Horizons,” the Pigeons Playing Ping Pong closed out an amazing weekend with a set for the ages.

Overall, the Adirondack Independence Music Festival is everything we love about a small daytime festival with almost all the benefits of a larger camping festival — including being able to leave the grounds and come back. Festival organizers Dave Ehmann and Jarrett Hartstone out did themselves again this year!

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