Lockn Music Festival Recap

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Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending and working LOCKN music festival in Arrington, Virginia (outside Charlottesville). The festival featured jam-band legends such as Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Steve Winwood, and many more. What made LOCKN unique was the festival’s layout on Oak Ridge Farm. Instead of multiple stages spread out across the festival’s location similar to Bonnaroo’s layout, LOCKN featured two stages adjacent to each other so as one act finished, the other would begin almost immediately after. Another unique aspect of LOCKN was the fact that multiple bands played two sets throughout the weekend: Wilco, Phil Lesh & Friends, Umphrey’s McGee, and Widespread Panic. Due to the respect artists displayed for one another, they often sat in on each other’s sets! I’ll now list my highlights and top acts of LOCKN. 1. Gary Clark Jr.

The command Gary Clark Jr. has over the guitar is undeniable. He finds ways to modernize his conception of old school blues with poppy-hooks and raw solos. He truly knows how to make a guitar cry, and I had the pleasure of watching his set backstage. He closed with his biggest single, “Bright Lights”, which was phenomenal. Other notable songs he played included “Please Come Home” and “Ain’t Messin Round”. Before his set, I was getting organized for the morning and saw him walk by my boss’s trailer – so I immediately had to run over and shake his hand; the dude is such a badass.

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2. The Wood Brothers

This twangy southern Americana trio took the stage on LOCKN’s first day. I was familiar with their latest album The Muse, which enabled me to further enjoy this performance. There’s no doubt that this trio is growing in popularity; their two singles “The Muse” and “The Luckiest Man” are becoming admired in the music world. In addition to those two songs, I also enjoyed their funky blues infused jams. Their upright bassist and harmonica player, Chris Wood, is extraordinarily talented. The band blended very well as they harmonized on every chorus of each song they played. Overall, this group was very enjoyable to watch.

3. Allman Brothers

Watching this legendary band was a special treat because, unfortunately, they are claiming this tour to be their last. Just because they think they are at the end of the road, they have never sounded better. Gregg Allman is an unbelievable organist, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes have mastered slide guitar techniques, and their percussion section is very sound. Watching Trucks and Haynes trade solos was unbelievable; they never go off key, and really dig deep into true American blues. They played their classic album Live at the Fillmore East 1971, along with other classics such as “Midnight Rider”. It remains to be seen whether or not the band will continue touring in the future, but they are definitely taking a temporary break. I wouldn’t be surprised to see reunion shows in the future, but only time will tell. Check out this clip of the legends soloing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0it0R6oR80

LOCKN was truly a phenomenal festival and I hope to return next year. It had the perfect balance of normal civilized people, and washed up hippies/wooks who are still in it for the music. One day I was on a golf cart running an errand, and a middle-aged man came up to me wearing a very low-cut belly shirt saying, “Will you exchange raps for rides?” My boss and I lost it; such hilarity ensued the entire weekend. I’m looking forward to next year already.  Festivals, it seems, are a fantasy land where anything can happen, and you confidently know that 30,000 people have your back as we are all in it for the same thing.