I don’t quite know where to begin. It had a rough start. Long lies, cancellations, less than perfect weather. But quickly, none of that mattered. Good far outweighed the bad.
Lockn is a unique, beautiful place. Unlike many other festivals where you are worried about schedules conflicts, time slots, and rambling from stage to stage. They take that worry all away by having one stage go all day long. It is a cool concept. Made the whole festival thing way more easy going than previous experiences.
The people: Every soul was soooo nice and welcoming. The workers, the people, everyone. Saw no fights, no one too messed up to function. Barely saw any cops or law enforcement. But they weren’t even needed anyways. The maturity of the population definitely showed, and was a positive thing.
When it comes to the music, first things first: WS-mf-P. Never miss a Sunday show. This is a concept most of us have caught onto by now, or at least I would hope. Best set of the festival, but call me biased. Straight threw the heater right at ya. Finally got my Surprise Valley > jam > Surprise Valley on Saturday night. My face definitely hurt from all the smiling after their set on Saturday with Jimmy Cliff. So positive and uplifting.
Second favorite set was Billy and the Kids, with Bob Weir and Mickey Hart. Their pure talent and passion was so apparent. Fifty years later and they still got it. After they brought out Mickey, we stood there waiting and waiting and waiting for Phil to come out, but that never happened. He was not even 30 feet away. For Billy to end with Not Fade Away and Phil to pick right up into Not Fade Away, I think everyone kinda thought “really man, really?” Would have been more than awesome to see the Core Four up there together. But oh well.
If you did not get your ass outta bed and make it over to Keller Williams Grateful Grass, I don’t think you got the full Lockn’ experience. Blueridge Bowl was filled with people starting their last day off right. An intimate moment, one I’ll always remember. Nothing better than drinking and hooping to some soulful jams to start off the last day. Wish I could start every Sunday that way.
Biggest letdown, Phil Lesh and Friends with Carlos Santana and Warren Haynes. I may have been tired or too far back, who knows. But to say the least, they needed to crank that shit way up. I wanted to hear Santana straight go in on some jams, but it was like every time they’d start to rise the jam would just drop off. They did give me Scarlet Begonias which was beautiful. Glad I got to hear it.
This is a place I intend to go back to year after year. With the festival circuit now I feel it’s all based on trend. Festivals change their lineups with the trends. In hindsight, the festival strays from its roots and from the people who come year after year from the beginning. Lockn is one of the only festivals, that has no solo acts, no djs. . It is a place where I don’t think anyone feels too old or too young, too crowded or uncomfortable. I hope it remains that place. They are definitely doing something different, and doing something right. Hopefully, it is something lasting.
Missed out or just want to check out some sets for yourself? —->