Written by Michael Tucker
I had the pleasure of meeting Zach Thayer a few years ago at a memorial benefit. He quickly became one of my favorite people to run into at shows for good conversation. Every time I see Zach, the conversation, without fail, has come around to music, and he somehow turns me on to a new band or points out a different aspect of an already familiar band’s music that I previously had not noticed. When I found out Zach threw his own festival, I was thrilled that someone so kind, creative, and passionate about music curates an annual event close to the place I call home. Zach is exactly the kind of person who should be putting on a small, lovingly hand-crafted festival. He cares about music, art, authenticity, and quality.
So, what, you might ask, happens when one of the smartest, most creative, and musically savvy people on the scene puts together his own music festival? The result is a total wowza!, holy smokes!, knock your socks off! fusion of artistic creativity featuring a brilliant and eclectic line-up of musicians playing everything from jazz-funk-synth to psychedelic, progressive rock and gritty acoustic Americana along with genre-blurring jamtronica and more traditional improvisational music and mind-blowing visual artists, all in a stunningly beautiful and comfortable venue with a super-friendly, family vibe. I’m so excited about this one, I should appear in one of those memes dressed as a car salesman slapping the roof of Valley Fusion 3 saying, “This bad boy can fit so much awesome in it!”
Zach’s brilliantly diverse and well-thought out musical line-up for Valley Fusion 3 features three incredible virtuoso musicians from three different powerhouse bands on the current festival/jam scene playing in highly inventive side projects: Octave Cat includes members of two incredible bands (Jesse Miller, the bass player from Lotus and Eli Winderman, the keys player for Dopapod) along with Charlie Patierno on drums and some of Jesse’s vintage and modular synths. (For a cool adventure in trivia, check out how Octave Cat got its name). I haven’t been able to get enough of this self-described jazz-funk-synth band’s music, and I can’t wait to see them live. John Ferrarra, the blisteringly excellent bassist from the well-loved progressive rock/Middle Eastern/ jazz fusion band Consider the Source, rounds out Valley Fusion’s rock stars in side projects triumvirate, as part of the John Ferrarra and Seth Moutal Duo. This duo’s music is sure to include John’s signature dizzyingly rhythmic tapping, slapping, thumbing and promises to turn from chill ambience to face-melting fury on a dime. I totally love the freedom to experiment and sense of creative play side projects allow members of notable bands.
In addition, Valley Fusion 3 features two sets from Litz, a band who truly embodies a fusion of musical styles— these guys play everything from funk to go-go to jam to soul, electronica, and straight-out rock and all the shades in between. Litz is sure to keep the crowd’s feet moving, butts shaking, smiles shining, and good vibes flowing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band continue to surprise me and keep growing quite the way these Litz boys have since the first time I saw them at Mad Tea Party Jam 3. But wait there’s more— a fresh and funky jam band known for their on- stage charisma and goofy stage antics…
Mungion is a four piece from Chicago with a legendary improvisational ability. You definitely don’t want to miss seeing the fun of seeing them tear it up live. Meanwhile, check out some of their live stuff on YouTube. But wait there’s more—an innovative Mid Atlantic debut…
I could not be more excited that Skydyed, a three-piece jamtronica band from Fort Collins, Colorado, is making its Mid Atlantic debut at Valley Fusion 3. Jamtronica, a genre which blurs the boundaries between live instrumentation and electronic music production wizadry, is one of my personal favorite styles to enjoy. These guys first came on my radar when Sam Brouse from Papadosio sat in on a song called “Flicker Switch” by them, and I had to pinch myself when I saw them on the bill for this local festival. Big ups, Zach! But wait there’s more— a whole lot more…
I feel bad—word counts, and deadlines be damned—that I don’t have the ability to cover in depth all the musical brilliance who will be appearing on the two stages of this festival. I’m really looking forward to checking out the eclectic sounds from the local fusion jam band Tim Cintron Project and the epic instrumental awesomeness of Baltimore’s Deaf Scene, whom I haven’t seen in several years. Valley Fusion’s musical excellence also includes Kendall Street Company with its multi-faceted acoustic and electric sound, After Funk with its fresh grooviness, and local favorite acoustic outlaws The Brokedown Hustlers.
Here’s a link to a Spotify playlist Zach put together that showcases Valley Fusion’s awesome music:
With so many stellar musicians on the bill, Valley Fusion 3 is guaranteed to include lots of musical collaboration and once-in-a-lifetime-sit-ins. Don’t miss out!
Brilliant Art, Family Vibes and Other Good Stuff
Valley Fusion highlights fantastic visual art right alongside its epic musical talent. The festival will feature a live art gallery featuring a stacked line-up of painters. There will also be performance art including fire spinning and flow art, kid-friendly activities, and a plethora of artisan vendors. Purveyors of delicious food will also be on site to fuel the party and fill the bellies of hungry attendees. Last, but certainly not least, Valley Fusion’s family friendly, no-hassle, kind vibe—if you’ve been to one of the Mad Tea Party jams, you know the feeling—is as integral to its feel as its music and visual art are.
All in a Perfect Location
Valley Fusion 3 will be held at the beautiful, eco-friendly Buffalo Gap in Capon Bridge, West Virginia. This venue features two stages and a scenic lake with a white sand beach for your enjoyment. For those of you who don’t like roughing it in tents, comfortable cabins are available for rental for the duration of the festival. These cabin rentals are available on a first come/ first serve basis. For more information on cabin rentals, follow this link.
So, here I am in that cringey meme slapping that car roof again…except, that Valley Fusion 3 really can fit a gigantic amount of awesome in it. So, go on and make your plans, grab your ticket, and come discover new music, make new friends, hang out with old ones, have your mind blown by art, relax, dance, and celebrate life at Valley Fusion 3. It’s a perfectly handcrafted, homegrown mixture of awesomeness. I really hope to see you there. Check out the festival’s website for more info.
Tickets include camping both nights and are available for sale here. Hard copy tickets are also available! Pick up your hassle free, $80 2-Day GA passes with NO FEES today, contact Zack Thayer, Lou McCoy, or Pebble in a Pond for details