Written by: Maria Ekaterina
Photos by: Roger Gupta
Photo by Roger Gupta / Love sign
Infinity Downs Farm in Arrington, Virginia has opened its doors for the 6th year, to welcome us back home. Thoughtfully arranged grounds, finger licking food, non-stop legendary music and perfect weather highly contributed to the unparalleled festival weekend experience. It was easy to see how Dave Frey and Peter Shapiro took into consideration many elements voiced in previous years to put these ideas into an improved atmospheric experience for everyone; from volunteers, vendors, camping, VIP & SVIP experience to the top-notch artist hospitality.
While music is always the main attraction, the weekend provided many additional paths to explore which elevated the weekend’s experience. The music never stopped from the moment Lockn’ opened its doors wide on Thursday evening. Exceptionally talented opening sets by Erin and The Wildfire, Butcher Brown and Firecracker Jam welcomed us back to the legendary weekend at Lockn. Weather held up beautifully as Thursday evening wrapped up with four interlocking sets of Lettuce and Umphrey’s McGee on the Main Stage.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead brought us into the first minutes of Friday on the Relix Stage with remarkable classics like “Dancin’ in the Streets” and a recreation of Neal Young’s “Hippy Dream” featuring Chris Harford on vocals. Every night ended in the Garcia Forest with a Garcia Dance Party while morning welcomed everyone back to stretch their bones with Opal Yoga. Daydreaming in a hammock between trees became a new morning ritual for many as they enjoyed revitalizing piano sets by legends like Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, Joel Cummings and Ben Wilson on the Tavern Porch Stage throughout the weekend. The morning piano sets were a beautifully curated moment of peace in the early morning hours.
Photo by Roger Gupta / Love at Lockn’
Photo by Roger Gupta / Misting Stations
Lockn’ has been notorious for extreme heat throughout the years, but many aspects assisted with keeping everyone cool. The stars aligned to give everyone a great start by providing additional overcast leading to more shade and cooler temperatures. To save everyone in those unbearable afternoon heats, one of the best additions had to be the misting stations. This idea was born last year which has expanded to be one of this year’s grandiose art installations. Sitting right off the path between the main stage and food vendors, the towering white beams outlined a chapel structure which lightly refreshed anyone passing by. The opposite side of the field held two fan operated misting stations, on either side of a well-organized free Manna Water stations. The renovated layout dramatically improved and opened new viewing possibilities while keeping everyone closer to the music. What wishes would have been made regarding camping have been granted. Closer to the action, located between Garcia’s Forest and the main field housed thousands of cars lining their easy up covered tents.
Photo by Roger Gupta – Hamageddon BBQ hosted by Taj Mahal during the day
Photo by Roger Gupta / Hamageddon BBQ at night
Navigating throughout the grounds worked up a healthy appetite which presented a new adventure of its own. Hamageddon BBQ Exchange was hard to miss. Tremendous flames flared out of four corners of the giant metal Berkshire Hog roaster, while legendary bluesman and food enthusiasts Taj Mahal, Clay Trainum of Autumn Olive Farm and Champion of Charlottesville Chef Showdown Curtis Shaver shared their expertise throughout the weekend. Lining the hilltop of the food court adjacent to Hamageddon, delicious smells from Arancini Bros, Blue Mountain Grill, Phat Daddy’s Creole, The Grapevine and many others drew in long lines of ready-to-eat patrons. While waiting on food, the music was still easily audible from the Show Field and boosted by a large speaker stack in the food court. Before crossing the newly added bridge back to the main field, the Eno hammock tree invited kids of all ages to take a short afternoon nap.
Photo by Roger Gupta / Newly added bridge crossing into the main field
Photo by Roger Gupta / Garcia’s Dance Party in the Forest
Funkadelic Friday started off to a grand opening of the Main Stage by The Fuzz Band from Hampton Virginia. Presenting their soul rocking vocals intertwined amidst the groovy fusion of funk, jazz, hip hop and R&B birthed Friday into fruition. A slight breeze brought a tender touch to Caitlyn’s Smiths’ soul soothing performance with her singles like “Before You Call Me Baby” and “Starfire”. Her angelic voice mixed with strong rock strums of the guitar, created for a powerful, soulful set. Each performance was better than the last as Ghost Light, Band of Changes and Turkuaz rolled out their icy fresh sets amidst the sunny afternoon. As the sun rose higher and higher it was the perfect time to participate and win some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Participation Row. Filled with noteworthy foundations such as Conscious Alliance assisting with food collection programs, Giving Hope Foundation, Head Count Organization, The Lynchburg Humane Society, Rock the Earth and many others contributed to highlighting ways to better our environment and those phenomenal creatures who live in it. Leading the evening’s soul train right into funk town was legendary George Clinton of P Funk. Alongside his freaky fresh tunes, he was joined on stage by diamond dressed, booty shaking, kitties.
Photo by Roger Gupta / Ben and Jerry’s on Participation Row
Photo by Roger Gupta / Crowd shot during the day
Lockn’ festival caters to creating a benign and pleasurable experience not just for those who love to get funky while choosing from the large selection of craft beers but also, for those who choose to stay sober. Saturday morning’s 9am sober meeting helped individuals find strength and support for the day while the 4pm meeting allowed individuals to curb the temptation of needing a cold one amidst the heated temperatures. The day brought slightly higher temperatures alongside some ardent musical sets starting with Kofi on the Tavern Porch. The two invited a song bird overheard at vendor row before the set, to join them on stage for a song. Catching serendipitous moments like these only took a bit of looking around. Finding a new great band was just part of the treasures amidst the ocean of options at Lockn. Handmade leather work from Andremi Designs, rare world class gems from Bear Necessities and unique world goods from Wormtown presented plenty of opportunities to find a distinctive gift for another or yourself.
Each day at Lockn’ created a legendary day of its own and Saturday did not disappoint with its vivid Jam band filled lineup continuously rotating on the Main Stage. Starting with People’s Blues of Richmond, followed by The Suffers, Saturday started off to a bang. Getting a spot on the main field early in the day paid off with a quadrupole follow of Big Something, Keller and the Keels, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and Foundation of Funk – Celebrating 50 years of The Meters with George Porter Jr, Zigaboo, Cyril and Ivan Neville, Tony Hall and more were joined on stage by members of Dead and Company; guitarist Bob Weir, drummers Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart alongside guitarist John Mayer. Deeply moving Tedeschi Trucks Band delivered a passion lit set before the legendary Dead and Company delivered their double set show to close out the Main Stage. Dead and Company members squeezed in another set during Lettuce’s tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band with Eric Krasno on the Relix Stage closing out the main field for the night.
Photo by Roger Gupta / Big Something on the main stage
Photo by Roger Gupta / Wormtown Trading Company & Indo crafts vendors at Love Triangle
The Hang, located side stage past VIP viewing provided the perfect pick me up’s like complimentary High Brew coffee Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream, water and even sunscreen and bug spray throughout the weekend. Additional complimentary meals throughout the weekend featured a seafood broil with shrimp, corn on the cob alongside delicious sides. Dave and Peter thoughtfully included momentous experiences like these throughout the weekend.
Sunday brought on a beautiful rendition of a long time Lockn’ tradition on the main stage starting with Grateful Gospel with Keller Williams. With a swing-rock mix, Virginia locals, The Judy Chops were highly received by this year’s Lockn’ participants. Spafford, Matisyahu, Blues Traveler, Sheryl Crow, Tedeschi Trucks Band strongly carried out Sunday afternoon in celebratory fashion before Dead and Company took the stage for the last and final set of Lockn’ 2018. Highlighting the weekend on a beautiful Sunday night, Dead and Company’s set featured a comeback from the legendary saxophonist Brandon Marsalis. Lockn’ marked the end of Dead and Company’s summer tour and saving the best for last, they truly exceeded the highest expectations. Anticipated long time Dead heads exchanged jokes, high fives, trinkets between each other while agreeing to “it’s just like the olden days” saying being passed around. During their second night, Dead and Co. continued with originals such as “Shakedown Street”, “Eyes of the World”, “Sugar Magnolia” and closing out with “Ripple” as the last encore song of Lockn’ 2018. After that phenomenal set, hearts overflowing with love, individuals headed to Garcia’s Forest where Garcia’s merch house built out of recycled, plastic wine bottles stayed lit for just a little bit longer, savoring the weekend’s experience. From the never-ending legendary music starting with The Fuzz Band Thursday evening to the echoing “Not Fade Away” ripple during the Dead and Company set Sunday night, Lockn’ has taken everyone to a new pinnacle of what a music weekend should be like.
To reminisce on this unforgettable weekend, check out the full album of photos by Roger Gupta, available on The Jamwich Facebook page at:
Lockn’ Festival: http://www.locknfestival.com/