The Werk Out Music and Arts Festival Review
August 7-9, 2014
Legend Valley, Ohio
written and photographed by Nick “Echo” Hobbs
Nearly 4am we arrived at the Werkout festival grounds to an abandoned staff entrance illuminated by the swirling lights coming off the main stage in the distance. Only after hiking around in the dark for a while do we come across two cheery faces glowing from the campfire at the craft services area. Right away I was feeling the love as two strangers ran off into the dark to find taco to open the gate and let us in. Many people would have told us to wait til daylight but it was our lucky day and we soon found ourselves setting up camp and reminiscing with old friends. Later in the daylight of Thursday morning I could see the monolith of a stage that had been built since two years prior when I had last been at werkout. Overlooking the crowd it was an amazing sight, two stages permanently fixed with steel beams running 40 feet high strapped with every type of LED light imaginable.
Very early on stage, members of The Werks, Papadosio, and Dopapod we’re soundchecking Dark Side of the Moon. Everyone at werkout was talking about this special set and the buzz built all day until it looked like a Saturday crowd instead of only Thursday. Yet it was only getting started as vendors set up shop steadily throughout the day. Once you were on shakedown it seemed to go on forever, with Keseys’ Furthur bus on display appropriately parked across from Lot Life and Grateful Dead Familyz booths. Under the shade of my West Virginia state flag that I was using as a makeshift roof for my golf cart I cruised the venue giving rides to anyone & everyone. Music started at 4 with a set from local boys Aliver Hall, Akron Ohio, on the main stage and we were officially rockin and rollin to a clearly different kind of jam band. After a quick break to eat a late lunch, cooked up by Shelly, Tony and the rest of the awesome kitchen crew it was time to catch Subterranean House Band. Not missing a beat I was zipping back up to Shakedown to snap a few more pics and sip on some shine.
As I said earlier the Thursday line-up was not your typical first day talent, a well thought out A-List of musicians was pulled together to boost full admission sales rather than daily weekend passes. Mojoflo was the perfect band to put you in the mood to groove with explosive horns and sultry sounding lead vocals. But as the sun began to set the die hard fans dressed in elaborate costumes began to assemble and you could tell it was time for Papadosio and Dopapod to help change up the atmosphere from fun in the sun to fire dancers lighting up the night sky. By the time The Werks made their way on stage it seemed as if everyone in attendance was there to welcome newcomer to the band, Dan Shaw on keys. Dan told me that he was especially stoked about playing with The Werks because his first festival ever happened to be The Werkout the previous year. Having played the tent stage and sitting in with Sassafraz he had never thought that one year later he would be playing on the main stage as a member of The Werks. We will all miss Norman playing in the band and will cherish the time we had with him but it will just be that much more special when Norm sits in and fires up the crowd as they chant his name.
The highlight of the weekend for me and many others was the Dark Side Of The Moon set at midnight. What a way to do it too. With the Members of three bands all playing parts of the album and Zach Deputy to hit the high notes, there was something for everyone to keep as their own from the night.
Watch as history is made here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NewcpuvLoHc (copy & paste if no option to click on link) I sure hope this becomes a tradition to look forward to every year to come at The Werkout.
As Friday began more and more people entered the grounds and set up their makeshift homes for the weekend decorating with tapestries and art, setting up tents and mini bars alike, there seemed not to be a care in the world of these happy campers. The weather couldn’t have been better, another well thought out plan of moving the date back to August from September, meant less clothing was needed to make it through the chilly Ohio nights. Daytime sets from Zach Dee and The Rumpkee Mountain Boys had me sweatin in the sun but it’s so hard to quit dancing when the energy is so high. More sets from Dopapod and Papadosio had the live artists lining up in front of the stages putting the music to their canvasas as fast as it was hitting their ears. Everywhere you looked something was being built or created out of someones thoughts and being delivered by sight or sound to explode in your head in a medley of expressionism that is The Werkout Arts And Music Festival.If you happened to miss a particular set from Thursday or Fridays bands or just couldn’t get enough Saturday was sure to please with Jahman Brahman playing a dynamic daytime set for those of us who found ourselves lost wandering the festival grounds like I did the night before during their late-night set. With their smooth flow progressively getting funkier and funkier we were treated to a guest appearance by future superstar Jaden Carlson providing grooves on guitar after her bands set on the main stage. Later Toubab Krewe entertained us with their own brand of West African/Ashvillian Jam Fusion. Playing instruments that look like Salvador Dali might have come up with in a dream Toubab holds the title for taking a sound from as far out as possible and bringing it back to the good ol U S of A and making it their own. After raging under the glow of the sun and led light alike for 4 days time will take it’s toll on even the most hardened of lot lizards like my self and I find myself wanting more, but knowing how much I have left in the tank, I force myself to take a break before The Werks last set of the Festival. And I was glad I did! The boys did not disappoint! No one worked harder than these guys this weekend but that didn’t stop them from cranking the energy level up to eleven one more time for the fans they love so much. I almost lost it when they played a tribute to Jerry Garcia with a tear jerking rendition of Cryptical Envelopment into The Other One back into Cryptical. It was the perfect way to end what had been an emotional rollercoaster of a festival weekend. Thank you to everyone involved in making this such a success, fans and artists alike, I love you all. See you at Werkout 2015!