Dr. John and the Lower 911

Picture Show: Gathering of the Vibes 2011

Gathering of the Vibes at Seaside Park, Bridgeport, CT – July 21-24

Words: Carla Danca
Photos: Jeremy Gordon

Outside of a few questions that aren’t suitable for print, “So how many have you been to?” is probably the most asked question around Gathering of the Vibes. Sixteen years after its humble beginnings as Deadhead Heaven – A Gathering of the Tribe on the campus of SUNY Purchase, Vibes has become one of the Northeast’s largest annual festivals and one of the oldest as well. In a year when many “newer” festivals celebrate their tenth anniversary, GOTV is well into is second decade. Each summer, friends – many of whom only see each other for four days each July – meet up at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT to spend a weekend together. With the heat at record highs over the weekend (103°F on Friday) more than ever it was the people, both Vibes veterans and newcomers, who made this year’s event memorable.

[All photos by Jeremy Gordon]

Sticking to its roots as a celebration of the Grateful Dead, five different members of the band played at some point during the weekend. Dark Star Orchestra brought Donna Jean Godchaux to the stage on Thursday, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s Furthur headlined on Friday, while Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann’s Rhythm Devils held court on Sunday. While many other festivals have recently been adding more electronic and popular acts – sometimes to the dismay of their core audience – Gathering of the Vibes has always stayed true to its roots. If the crowd on the field for Furthur was any indication, it seems that GOTV knows their audience as trying to snake your way out of the concert field was all but impossible with a patchwork of singing, swaying fans.

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