Allman Brothers Incident, Twiddle, JRAD, BR&B Light Up Peach Festival (FESTIVAL RECAP/PHOTOS)

“As we sailed into the mystic, Hark, now hear the sailors cry, Smell the sea and feel the sky, Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic” – Warren Haynes during Sunday’s “Wake up with Warren” acoustic set.

Despite festival Gregg Allman’s unfortunate cancellation due to health issues.The Peach Festival was a healthy success yet again.  The fifth annual Festival took place in Scranton, Pennsylvania on August 11-14, 2016. With over 50 sets of music over four days, the festival included genres from jam to bluegrass to electronica to soul. The successful musical event was held at a ski area, Montage Mountain, with a working water park on-site.

The Festival saw exponential growth even after the past few successful years, with nearly 35,000 people soaking up the weekend festivities. It is fair to say some of this may be due to positive word of mouth from previous attendees but it may also be due to the fact that the lineup was so incredibly strong. Live Nation did an impeccable job organizing a complex event by delivering an impressively deep lineup while providing safety and comfort among many stimulating options. In addition to musical entertainment, which saw a bevy of once-in-a-lifetime collaborations, fans were entertained through a myriad of means.

The only challenge at the festival, if any, is the inability to carry an alcoholic beverage from one stage to the other. However, this is due to different liquor licenses at each location and a necessity and really not that big a hassle in the scheme of things. Otherwise, the vending was located in an organized prime location and security was a friendly subtle presence.


The music was the primary focus of the weekend and was relentlessly entertaining despite the horrible weather. Grateful Dead emulators Dark Star Orchestra played a raucous set on Thursday night amidst a rain and lightning storm..

Toots and the Maytals brought the reggae vibes and Baltimore rockers, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, shared a solid set with a highlight of “Julia” into “Under the Sea.”  Railroad Earth shared their unique jamgrass. The Werks engaged the crowd with a mesmerizing “Happiest Days of our Lives” into “Another Brick in the Wall.”  Claypool Lennon Delirium attacked two King Crimson tunes including, “In the Court of the Crimson King,” and “Thela Hun Ginjeet” in addition to tackling, “Heart of the Sunrise” by Yes.

Veteran Peach Festival performer, talented guitarist and local hero, Mike “Miz” Mizwinski, who returns to Peach each year, shared a tribute set to George Wesley while sharing meticulous finger picking. Spiritual Rez played a satisfying set with the keys player performing while on the shoulders of a member of the brass section. Funk powerhouse, Turkuaz, performed their classic, “Bubba Slide”, including the patented epic bassline, before the rest of their set was cancelled due to the storm. Scranton’s own, Cabinet, played two sets over the weekend with Twiddle’s Mihali and the Turkuaz horn section sitting in on the 2nd one.  Gov’t Mule closed the festival with a sit-in by Rich Robinson and contagious tunes like “Birdland” and an intense “Mountain Jam.”



Allman Brothers Incident  ::  Friday  ::  8:00pm
Due to Gregg Allman’s recent cancellation due to health issues, his set with String Cheese was changed to the “Allman Brothers incident” with many members of the Allman Brothers taking part in the jam including Butch Trucks, Oteil Burbridge, Jack Pearson, Bruce Katz and Gregg Allman Band guitarist, Scott Sharrard. They shared a bevy of Allman Brothers’ covers including “Jessica”, “Midnight Rider” and “Melissa” as well as SCI original “Outside & Inside,” plus a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Quinn The Eskimo.”  It was an interesting take on the classics with a familiar feeling but an even fuller sound than usual and a proper homage to The Allman Brothers and particularly a tribute to Gregg Allman who was dearly missed.

Moe.  ::  Friday  ::  12:00am  ::  Peach Stage
Jam juggernaut, Moe. performed two electrifying sets.  Moe’s second set was a trippy tribute to Pink Floyd with selections from early to late of their catalog.  Covers included “In the Flesh”, “Time”, “Breathe”, and “Money.”  It fully demonstrated their skill and versatility as here was an incredible light laser show during the Floyd set. The only original in the set was a jam-laden “Meat” which clocked in just under 20 minutes.

The Floozies  ::  Friday  :: 1215pm  ::  Mushroom Stage
Matt and Mark Hill were a surprise late night hit with bizarre and twisted takes on “Shakedown Street”, “Hotel California” and “Whipping Post.” They were up-tempo, fiery and inspired one to dance while hearing a variety of memorable songs performed in a unique style with a trace of electronica and with the occasional “drop.” They closed down the first night of music in intense fashion and adrenaline seekers were satiated.


Primate Fiasco  ::  Saturday ::  Roaming sets
The surprise band of the weekend was Primate Fiasco.  They had rogue journeys where the band would march around while playing – they could be seen knee deep in the kiddy pool jamming away and when attendees were told to take cover under the Pavillion canopy due to a lengthy rain delay at the main stage – the band suddenly popped up to help rejuvenate bummed spirits with inspired play.  The band is composed of Dave Russo (Banjo/vox/harmonica), Drake Descant (Accordion/vox), Kevin LaRose (Sousaphone/tuba) and Will Sigel (drums).  When asked how he decides where to do the rogue sets, Russo stated, “”Sometimes we do things just because we can. Sometimes “can” translates to “should” and sometimes “should” translates to “need to.”

Twiddle  ::  Saturday  ::  3:00pm  ::  Mushroom Stage
The Vermont based band is comprised of Brook Jordan (drums) Zdenek Gubb (bass) Ryan Dempsey (keys) and Mihali Savoulidis (guitar/vocals).  Over the past year, Twiddle has grown more than any other band in the scene. They carry the mantle for the next generation of jam music and it promises to be a very bright future. They are playing in support of their brilliant album, “Plump.” After selling out Brooklyn Bowl and the Capitol Theatre recently, it was surprising that they were not on the main stage. Mihali is a master storyteller and a virtuoso on the axe and it was displayed throughout the show. The old classic, “Polluted Beauty” started things proper with a fiery call to get your dancing groove on. The bouncy reggae-tinged tunes were to follow but it was “White Light” that was the highlight on this night. The two members of Soul Monde joined in on the fray and it was seamless improvisation.

Set List: Polluted Beauty, Carter Candlestick, Zazu’s Flight, Dr. Remidi’s Melodium, White Light

JRAD  ::  5:45pm  ::  Peach Main Stage
According to www.gratefuldeadtribute, there are 324 Grateful Dead cover bands in the country.  None is more full on than Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. It is the definitive Grateful Dead experience. The all-star lineup consists of Joe Russo (drums), Dave Dreiwitz (bass), Marco Benevento (keys), Scott Metzger (guitar) and Tom Hamilton (guitar/vocals). Buoyed by a pleasant light show, the band forged ahead with a high-energy performance.  “Cumberland Blues” got the crowd to their dancing feet but the highlight was the complete “Terrapin Suite” which crackled with energy and enticed crowd participation during the “Terrapin!!”  “Terrapin” segment. The band clearly knows each other’s tendencies well and they bring a very energetic approach to the Dead catalog. The band just announced a New Year’s run at the Capitol Theatre.

Set List:  Jam>Cumberland Blues, Mr. Charlie, The Wheel>Eyes of the World, The Music Never Stopped, Terrapin Suite


Trey Anastasio Band ::  10:00pm  ::  Peach Main Stage
TAB is a complete band full of talented professional players. The band consists of Russ Lawton (drums), Tony Markellis (bass), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Ray Paczkowski (keys), Jennifer Hartswick (trumpet, vocals), Natalie Cressman (trombone, vocals) and James Casey (saxophones, vocals). TAB played Peach Festival 2 years ago. Jeff Cressman filled in for James Casey who is on tour with Meghan Trainor. With Phish tour recently concluded, a TAB show is a special rare treat where one can hear the musings of Trey Anastasio. The start of the set was significantly delayed due to rain and lightning.  The bouncy TAB original, “Cayman Review” started the romp in stellar fashion as Red bopped around youthfully. The crowd erupted with energy as the opening chords of “Magilla” seeped into the atmosphere. The highlight was the classic Gotta Jiboo” with lengthy and tight soaring solos provided by Trey. Hats off to Hartwick and Cressman who again prove to be an enticing tour deforce adding a depth of sound with their brass instruments and the occasional vocal eruption.

Set List:  Cayman Review, Magilla, Soul Rebel, Gotta Jibboo, Valentine, Frost Money, Love and Change, Liquid Time, Sand, Architect, Clint Eastwood

Warren Haynes  :: 12:00pm  ::  Sunday  ::  Peach Main Stage
The heavy rain and lightning was a major challenge to fans but everyone was resilient and understanding.  “Wake up with Warren” started the day off early Sunday and we heard his acoustic encore take on Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” a tune he’s performed with a several of his project including , Phil Lesh & Friends, The Dead and The Allman Brothers Band. He also shared Govt. mule staples, “Raven Black Night” and “In My Life.”  It was a smooth way to start one’s Sunday morning.

BR&B  ::  5:45pm  ::  Peach Main Stage
A new supergroup was unveiled late Sunday to take place of the Gregg Allman time slot. BR&B (Benevento, Russo, Burbridge) did a free form jam session of an hour straight without stopping – Marco’s soaring organ fused with Russo’s heavy hitting behind the kit meshed well with Burbrige’s bombastic beats. Marco knew when to effectively fill.  It was enthralling to see the extensive exploring the boys got into while in full improvisation mode with many jams rooted in jazz with various time signatures and tempo.

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