Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Preview: Shakori Hills Fall 2012

Shakori Hills is nearly two weeks away, and as we reach the home stretch I'm beginning to get antsy.  Shakori Hills comes twice a year and recently the weather has been damn near perfect each time.  Granted you can always expect the possibility of those ever so fantastic Carolina rain falls, the mud doesn't stop the good times emanating from Shakori Hills.  Naturally we're all hoping for a dry Shakori, but rain or shine I'll cherish every second on that farm.  Shakori Hills has recently become a bit of a hometown reunion for me, with flocks of New Bernians joining in on the bi-annual fun.  As Ari Picker so eloquently put it, "surround yourself with good people", it's a phrase that should be the beck and call for Shakori Hills, especially with Lost in the Trees joining the countless talented artists on the bill this fall.  Set up your tent and stay for four days of great people and great music at Shakori Hills.

From October 4-7 (once again conveniently falling on NC State's Fall Break!) acts like The Wailers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Suénalo and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue will be leading a field of festival goers in uninhibited dance, song, and laughter.  A family friendly event, Shakori Hills offers workshops for adults and children alike, but there are some particularly striking Front Porch Workshops this year.  On Friday, Jonathan Scales (the steel-pan visionary from Asheville) will be putting on a Steel Pan Percussion Workshop, one that should be absolutely tantalizing.  I talked with Jonathan for a bit after his show at Broad St. Social Club in New Bern and he showed some of us the basics of playing steel pan, it's a seemingly complex system that Scales can make look effortless.  Two mores enticing workshops comes on Saturday with Unknown Tongues leading a cajun workshop, and Driftwood following shortly after with an Oldtime Music Workshop.

Shakori Hills Fall 2011
However, if that doesn't tickle your fancy then there's plenty of fantastic live music that usually starts around 11:00 and lasts until the wee hours of the morning, when you find yourself nodding off at the community fire pit which holds a nightly drum circle.  By now you're probably thinking, "Music all day, drum circles at night, instrument lessons, and face painting?  This place sounds awful!"  But alas, Shakori is sure to win you over with the Paperhand Puppets Parade.  At each festival there's a parade of musicians, puppets, masked children and onlooking parents who can't wipe the smiles off their faces.  It's the perfect mid-day break, a chance to find a spot on the grass with some delicious festival food and take in all of the beauty of Shakori.

However, workshops and parades aside the festival has one of it's strongest lineups in recent memory.  With The Wailers and Steep Canyon Rangers both playing on Sunday the festival has their big names stacked for the final day of the festival, but the first three days are just as great as Sunday.  While the festival has some favorites like the latin jazz band, Suénalo that blew my mind in the spring, I'm also incredibly excited for the Shakori debut of River Whyless.  An evening set on the Meadow Stage is a fantastic way to jump head first into Shakori, and River Whyless will fit in perfectly.  Acts like Mipso, Driftwood and Elephant Revival are just a few of the many acts that will be playing multiple sets throughout the weekend.  With so many overlapping sets it's great to be able to sacrifice a set from a band you really want to see, but have an opportunity to do so two or three more times.  A truly stress free festival environment!  Tickets for Shakori Hills are still available at $95 on their website, but after October 1 the price goes up to $100.  Single day tickets are also available at $20 for Thursday, $30 for Friday, $40 for Saturday and $20 for Sunday.  But quite frankly, I know I'll be attending all four days of each festival in the spring and the fall.  It's been too excellent for me not too!

Throughout the next two weeks we'll be posting previews for the artists we're most excited to see at the festival, leading up to our full itinerary of Shakori weekend.  You can check out the full Shakori lineup below:

Thursday, October 4
Driftwood, YARN, Elephant Revival, Donna the Buffalo, Ayr Mountaineers, The Morning After, Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys, Mipso, Songs of Water, Laura Thurston Band, Big Cosmo, Shannon Whitworth, Locust Honey

Friday, October 5
Tara Nevins & Jeb Puryear, Shannon Whitworth, River Whyless, Driftwood, Trombone Shorty, Suenalo, Tensegrity Practice, Hooping Workshop, Ayr Mountaineers, Locust Honey, Kelley & The Cowboys, Elephant Revival, Preston Frank w/Donna the Buffalo, Randy Dean Whitt, Hoots & Hellmouth, Jacob Jeffries Band, LiLa, Lakota John, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Mason’s Apron, Casey Driessen, Big Cosmo

Saturday, October 6
Billy Two Rivers, The Mighty Sanfordaires, Deer Clan Singers, Lost in the Trees, Rupa & The April Fishes, Donna the Buffalo, Fatoumata Diawara, ArtOfficial, Wildcat Creek, Unknown Tongues, Elastic Bond, J.P. Harris & The Tough Choices, Suénalo, Cane Creek Cloggers, Casey Dreissen, Green Grass Cloggers, Driftwood, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Mipso, Randford Almond, Billy Jonas, Crys Matthews, Jacob Jeffries Band, Red June

Sunday, October 7
Kelley & The Cowboys, Fatoumata Diawara, Steep Canyon Rangers, Rupa & The April Fishes, The Wailers, Donna the Buffalo & Friends, Preston Frank w/Donna the Buffalo, Driftwood, Joe Bell & The Stinging Blades, GrassRoots Song Writers Circle, Red June, Carolina Lightnin’, Music From the Gathering Church, Big Fat Gap, Little Root, The Ben Miller Band, Band Contest Winners

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