All Photos by Filip Zalewski of Essence Photography
Written By Lou Mic Koy
Peach Festival, taking place July 25-28, 2019 at Montage Mountain, was my fiancé’s Krista’s first major jam band music festival. We arrived on Thursday to our friends who camped in the G Camping area. After connecting with our friends, we went down to the Mushroom stage enjoy Aqueous open the weekend. They played a 20-minute “Kitty Chaser”–nothing like a high energy Aqueous show to really get you into the party mood. Billy Strings sat in with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong on “Billy Up My Strings” (a variation of “Burnin’ Up My Time”). This really set the tone of the weekend for me, a fusion of musicians rarely seen on the same stage. This is something you wouldn’t expect would work but it does o, so well. Another unforgettable moment was String Cheese Incident’s set. they played a high energy “Bollymonster” and proceeded to use the Pavilion’s Peach Stage like a Canvas. Projection mapping was a theme for most of the major headliners at peach this year.
Saturday we enjoyed catching up with our friends from Columbus, Matt and Monica. We spent some time in the wave pool, exploring the mountain, and catching a ride on the zip line. Enjoying the company of good people is what festivals are all about! We enjoyed a relaxing float down the lazy river to the music of Corey Wong. Afterwards we walked over to see Moe., nothing like band with a xylophone! They closed their set with a “Silver Sun> Okayalright”, a set all Moe.rons could get down with.
Next was the hardest decisions I’ve make at a music festival, Dopapod or more SCI. My First experience with Dopapod was at Mad Tea Party Jam, and I figured Krista had to see them for the first time at Peach in a water park. We were front right as they opened with a spacey ambient, almost atonal intro to “Present Ghosts.” The crowd erupted as they started ripping into the first notes of that banger. Krista was really enjoying it, and that made me even more pumped to see one of my favorite acts. The experience of being in front of Dopapod when they really get into their set cannot be replicated. The entire crowd became this amoeba of energy, and we were headbanging in the front the entire time. This was the first time I had seen Dopapod since their hiatus, and honestly, I was a little skeptical. They proved me wrong, their set made the weekend, if not my summer. After Dopapod closed out with “Faba” we made our way to the Live for Live Music Stage.
We caught the remainder of Haley Jane and the Primates. This was special because I hear that it is one of Haley’s last shows with the Primates. Haley Jane is an unstoppable feminine force to be reckoned with in our scene. She’s my favorite female musician alive. We then enjoyed more of String Cheese Incident’s beautiful music and some more of their expert projection mapping. Lotus closed out the night, and It was incredible, we were up front the entire time getting blasted with lasers. There is something so beautifully flowery about Lotus’ music, lights, and production on the main stage at Peach.
Saturday is when things got strange, as they tend to on day 3 of a music festival. I started the day with a dose of Ghost Light. This is another example of a band who has two amazing female musicians, Holly Bowling and Raina Mullen. They were joined on stage by Tom Hamilton and Scotty Zwang. We chilled on the hill and caught up with our friends Dan and Maggie who have been selling pins on Dead Co. tour all summer. It was a very relaxing set of music with some great friends. We moseyed down to Lettuce, which fired us up for the day. They really slayed with a cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears and closed out with a “Do it Like You Do” that had the crowd asking for more. We then went up to the lawn and laid down as Greensky Bluegrass tore it up with an opener of “Demons” into “Ain’t Wastin Time no More” by the Allman Brothers. They also did a cover of the New Basement Tapes “When I get my Hands on You”–it’s at that moment that we decided this would be our song. It was so mellow and beautiful. If you haven’t seen Greensky Bluegrass, go out and see them as soon as possible.
Afterwards we enjoyed some grassroots music at the Live for Live Music Stage. We caught this funk band called Thumpasaurus. They all came on stage with jump suits and proceeded to play technical funk music. These guys are aliens from outer space, and they really play like it. They have a song called “Space Barn” that you have to checkout. I’m pretty sure most of the people watching their set had never heard of them, but I watched as 30 people rushed to the merch booth to buy all their merch. These guys are one band to keep an eye on, do not miss a Thumpasaurus set. We also enjoyed a Rob Compa sit in with Mungion. We closed out the night of music with the beautiful stylings of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.
On Sunday the Peach stage took me to church. We started out with the Inaugural Peach Guitar Pull. Notably the Guitar Pull welcomed Samantha Fish, Jake Cinninger of Umphreys, Steve Kimmock, Rob Compa, and Taz Niederauer. Each guitarist played covers, but my favorite was Taz and Joel Playing Umphrey McGee’s “Booth Love.” We then enjoyed some soulful Marcus King band. The vibes they bring to the stage are incomparable.
I am a huge Phil Lesh fan, so to see Phil with Warren once again was a treat. Phil lesh invited Warren Haynes, Holly Bowling, and John Scofield to join him as they closed out the weekend. They opened with Sunshine of your love and the second set with “Playing in the Band”. Throughout the evening the pavilion was projection mapped to the notes. I appreciated this the most during a very psychedelic “Unbroken Chain”. Projection mapping of this scale is something I’ve never seen before and look forward to seeing perfected at future Peach Fests. Peach 2019 had the best production and vibe I’ve experienced on the mountain in the 5 years I have been attending the festival. I look forward to seeing you on the mountain at Peach 2020.