May Daze Music Festival 2013
Written by Otis
Pictures by Martin Clay, Stuart Cotton, & Jamie Ladue
For thousands of years people have been gathering in the spring to dance and play music in celebration of the powerful forces of renewal and regeneration, that come with the warming of the weather. This tradition continued at The May Daze Music Festival held May 4thand 5th south of Dayton, in Franklin, Ohio. May Daze Music Festival is a family affair put on with lots of love by Laughing Sam Productions and The Funky Bean Farm Crew. This was the festival’s second year, and was moved from Muncie,Indiana to Franklin, Ohio making for easy access to the most scenic and secluded urban venue I have encountered. The smiling faces and friendly people working the main gate were an indication of the good times that were awaiting. There were two stages set up for continuous music, both having excellent sound quality and top-notch lighting. All the bands on the bill are comprised of quality musicians that love what they do. The merchandise vendors offered an overwhelming selection of unique items seldom found anywhere else. Captain Tony Tipps, Lot Life and the other vendors in attendance are always willing to help someone find the perfect item. The festival also featured live artists that interacted with those in attendance,answering questions, and creating art influenced by the music and good vibes. A wide variety of freshly prepared food was also available to keep hungry revelers stomachs full. Various workshops rounded out the festival.
Music lovers were treated to two full days and nights of high quality music from some of the regions top musicians. The two stage set up allowed the music to flow smoothly and without delay, that in turn kept the dancers dancing and the fans smiling. We arrived Friday evening just before the Fletchers Grove set, they are a five piece band out of West Virginia that showed off it’s eclectic,funky style Friday and Saturday night. They were followed by BigEaR, which consists of three founding members of ekoostik hooka and two members of the John Mullins Band. Mullins and crew serenaded old fans and made new ones with a strong set. The mad love folks feel for those guys is clearly evident at every BigEaR show. Friday night’s headliner was Glostik Willy, a three piece band from Muncie, IN that lay it down with their own unique style of psychedelic, funky, jam laden, kick ass rock and roll. They are known for doing renegade sets at festivals at odd hours, and May Daze would be no exception. Norman Dimitrouleas from The Werks sat in on keyboards for the Friday night set, with Danny Sauers, of the Subterranean House Band, joining in on saxophone. Glostik Willy delivered an extremely strong set, but they were not finished with this crowd, they had surprises in store for Saturday. Next up was Boogie Matrix Mechanism who are a jam band from Toledo Ohio that is well known for it’s non stop, fast paced, funk/rock infused dance music. Their late night set did not disappoint, Johnny K and the Boys are always a good time. Bluegrass is a good way to wrap up a late night of quality music and New Old Cavalry from Bloomington, In. soothed our souls with their take on some traditional classics.
Saturday morning arrived with perfect weather and multiple opportunities to make new friends and visit with old ones. Music festivals are obviously about music, but they are also places where we can connect with like minded individuals to share ideas, energy, and love. There were spectacular art displays by regional visionary artists RaeVena, Ariel Esterline, and Vincent Krivda. I am always delighted to see artists at fests because in addition to producing pleasing things, their creativity and finished art also has the ability to impact people in very positive ways. I encourage you to stop by the artist’s booths and see how they create, look at their art work, talk with them, and if you see something you like buy it and show your support for the arts. There were also workshops to attend Saturday for Hand drumming, Music Theory, and “The Point of Everything”. It is also important to mention that the atmosphere at this festival was extremely kind, comfortable, and family oriented. It was obvious everyone was having a great time. I would like to emphasize that if you ever have an opportunity to catch any of the bands that were on this play bill you should jump at the chance. They are all quality bands with unique sounds, comprised of passionate musicians. The only reason I have not mentioned all the artists in this article is because I was not at their set. And anything I omitted I apologize in advance, it was a busy, fun filled weekend and I was unable to catch everything.
The music started for me on Saturday with Aliver Hall, a tight, progressive jam band hailing from Akron,Ohio. Up next was The Subterranean House Band from Dayton Ohio. Members hail from The Werks, The Maji, and Romeo Champagne. It is evident these guys have tremendous talent and love to play music together. They will be at The Mad Tea Party in June. Jahman Brahman took stage next, an Ohio band that relocated to Ashville, NC. They have multiple styles to draw on and never disappoint. Next on deck was Magic Jackson. The first time I saw them perform, I told my wife it was like Umphrey’s McGee and Queen had an illegitimate love child and this is what they begat. They are beasts and they squeezed a great set off Saturday night. Blue Moon Soup is a group that has given me my Grateful Dead fix on more than one occasion, this bluegrass quartet calls Yellow Springs home and they are down to play anytime, anywhere. You will often hear them picking late at night in the festival campground, or even in the middle of the day on top of a bus, you just never know where that next bowl of Soup might come from. The headliners for Saturday night were Sassafraz. Cincinnati is home to this sextet that sounds like it has a full horn section, their style of jam combines jazz, funk, Tower of Power sound seeped dance rock. Fletchers Grove rocked out their Saturday night show and set the audience up for the Glostik Willy & Friends Family Jam.
Glostik Willy, Subterranean House Band, Tonal Caravan, and Mikey Clark comprised the musicians for the family jam. During this set I observed a phenomena that fascinates me to no end, it is that span of time where there is a song being played that everyone, despite our differences or musical preferences, is very familiar with and likes to get down to. This particular song was a midi-laced cover of David Bowie’s Fame, and for a time the crowd became one, one mind, one love, one organism determined to celebrate life in the way it sees fit, with love and liberty. After a smoking family jam set, a three-piece nugrass band from Indianapolis, The Flatland Harmony Experiment gave a rousing performance. We thought it was time for the final act, but Glostik Willy thought otherwise, they came back on for a surprise renegade set, and killed it. For so many reasons this was my favorite set of the weekend. After Glostik had their way with us, they turned the crowd over to finish out the night bouncing to Heady Ruxpin.
Sunday morning found me dodging raindrops and scrambling around saying goodbyes. As I was squeezing in some new acquaintances, and last minute hugs a van backed up, and someone said “we’re gonna do some pickn” and with that four guys with musical instruments jumped out of the vehicle, and in a flash Blue Moon Soup was playing around the smoldering remnants of last nights fire, sending us off in fine style. Please support live local music. Thanks to Laughing Sam Productions and The Funky Bean Farm Crew for a spectacular celebration!!! Quoting from the May Daze schedule: “Be good family and be kind to the scene…we all need to watch out for each other.”