Rothbury has the stones. It sees your Bonnaroos and your High Sierras, your Lollapaloozas and, God forbid, your Schwagstocks, and raises you an unmatched experience of otherworldly grace. A psychedelic smorgasbord teeming with visual stimulation, wrapped in all the mind-bending music you can handle, hand-spun by some of the best musicians of all time (Bob Dylan, the ((Grateful)) Dead, and yes, the String Cheese Incident). Calling any and every other festival’s bluff, as of last weekend, Rothbury has pushed all-in.
“It’s just so awesomely over-the-top. They really out-do themselves to trip you the hell out, and from that, people are tripping the hell out,” jokes Corey Harbison, a Nashville resident and two-year veteran of Rothbury. Harbison’s 12-hour drive was short comparatively, as fans flocked all-the-way from countries like Sweden and Norway for the fest.
Ultimately, it’s the soundtrack that makes the festival. And Rothbury had great music in spades. Thursday night, Keller Williams took the stage with members of String Cheese, effectively performing as the Keller Williams Incident for the first time in some four-odd years. Their take on Keller’s original Kidney In A Cooler was outstanding, and a cover of Phish’s Birds of a Feather had the road-weary dancing their aches away.