This year’s tickets to Lockn’ Festival should have come with a warning label stating “Loaded on Love”. Amidst so much chaos we’re seeing and feeling during these changing times in our world, Lockn’ festival brought us the strength to carry through.
The weekend filled with legendary musical collaborations brought us more than money could buy. Tender moments in which Bob Weir and Susan Tedeschi graced the stage and swept the crowd away, still ring bells of bliss in hearts. But between the sit-ins, glorious weather after the storms, Lockn’ was a weekend of wonder and at its forefront was the question – is this the last Lockn’ Festival we get to share? With this unknown swimming in peoples’ heads the actions laid forward throughout the four-day event reflected this in noteworthy moments on and off the stages. We quite frequently forget just how precious life and those who fill it with lessons and blessings truly are. This reminder was quickly brought to our forefront when we left this incredible weekend with the heartbreaking news of Neal Casal’s passing Monday night. With this tragic news, reflecting back on the connections we made at Lockn’, seem deeper though filled and left to wonder about what’s to come.
Lockn’ is in a realm of it’s own when it comes to categorizing this as a 21+ or kid friendly event. A backyard cookout with legendary, non-stop live music and a top shelf selection of beer, wine and food is only the beginning of what made Lockn’ 2019 so special. The magic of Lockn’ is in the moments that let us relax our shoulders, smile uncontrollably and enjoy a deep breath of fresh air while taking in the beautiful all around view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Bob Weir was one of the men who fathered the birth of what we are able to enjoy today at music festivals such as Lockn’ and graciously accepted the “most sets played at Lockn'” award on Sunday evening from festival founder, Peter Shapiro. Lockn’ festival set the bar for best musical collaborations ever brought together. From Thursday to Sunday night Bob Weir spent the most time on stage playing. Whether it be playing music, enjoying himself on the couch or watching his friends shred their sets alongside the rotating stage, Weir was all over it!
Lockn’ was filled with love. As a matter a fact – it was bursting with love around every corner and pouring in from all sides. Organizers behind Lockn’ have held this annual event which has in return given the surrounding community resources and financial aid. Headcount Participation Row included organizations and companies who are taking part in doing good in this world. That kind of energy buzzed around Infinity Downs as families set up hammocks and giggled into the sunset. As a member of the audience, it’s easy to feel close to the artists, even though they’re on a giant rotating stage a dozen feet above our heads. Artists continued to show their love and appreciation to their fans all weekend long. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong brought a highly energetic set which included their lead singer and guitarist Greg Ormont, throwing in some of his favorite faces while keeping his dark, curly follicles bouncing happily around his head.
Lockn’ was a weekend where vows of love were exchanged in front of the wooden love sign near Garcia’s Forest. It was a place where new promises for the future were made as the newly engaged celebrated their love. Lockn’ was a weekend long celebration of all the good and great things that make this life worth living. Lockn’ felt safe, it was home and at anytime of the day, love was seen bursting from the seems.
From delicious, ice cold lemonade from The Grapevine to freshly made, brick oven pizza from Blue Ridge Pizza, the choices to build a unique meal had quite a range. The main field had a great layout for food vendors, from the audience perspective. Walking into the main field in the morning meant coffee was the first stop on the list. But even after the lights went out on the main stage and the party moved into the Garcia’s Forest, vendors like “Duck Donuts” gave an out of this world foodie experience late into the night. It’s the perfect thing to satisfy those late night munchies. Everything is made fresh after you order it and melts in your mouth with a sucker punch taste of blueberry pancakes or red velvet cake. But having a sweet weekend was easy with the great amount of Birthday celebrations. Lockn’ Gary, has celebrated his birthday on the front rail multiple years in a row. Being a part of his birthday party is a highly encouraged experience. This year Gary wore different bright, colorful suits each day in celebration of his birthday while giving out hugs and sharing stories with his friends.
A powerhouse of musical collaborations graced the stages at Lockn’ each bringing us strength and rejuvenation for the soul. In grand Lockn’ manner, birthday celebrations happened on and off the stage as Oteil Burbridge had the whole Lockn’ family sing him “Happy Birthday” while he was presented with his birthday cake.
Being able to feel love, the high energy and the power of music live is powerful. It’s different for everyone. But we can all agree that when standing in a giant field, listening to legendary individuals grace attendees with their powerful musical creations purposefully pieced together, it changes us. It helps us find the parts within ourselves that make us feel whole. Trey Anastasio Band, Melvin Seals & JGB, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Revivalists, Free Union, Liz Cooper & The Stampede, Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Twiddle ft. John Popper amid so many others who graced the stages at Lockn’ festival helped us feel things we needed and wanted to. Classic, soulful and deeply passionate artists are carefully picked to grace the stages and it’s easy to feel why. Each rocking set spoke to parts of us we might not often visit with. The respect Susan and Trey shared on stage, the way Bob and Susan allowed their souls to dance before us or counting the many soulful moments Tedeschi Trucks Band and Trey Anastasio shared on stage contribute to the medicine the weekend provided. None of what we felt through the powerful energies of live music can be worded in this article. Those energies will now live in our hearts, in our minds and souls. Lockn’ festival is purposefully put together for the good of the soul in all those who attend. As rumors about Lockn’ and what we might or might not see next year floated through the minds of some, sources close to the festival say Lockn’ is looking forward to welcoming attendees back in 2020.
Check out the full album of photos by Roger Gupta here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheJamwich/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2420282038062180