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Peach Music Festival shines

By , - Last modified: August 15, 2016 at 3:13 PM


With temperatures soaring into the upper 90s over the weekend, the jams at the Peach Music Festival at Montage Mountain were even hotter.

Trey Anastasio Band, the Claypool Lennon Delirium, the String Cheese Incident and Gov’t Mule were just a few of the many heavy hitters that delivered impressive sets at the festival near Scranton.

The festival, which celebrated its fifth year, was originally created to celebrate the legacy of The Allman Brothers Band. Although the band disbanded in 2014, the festival continues.

Gregg Allman was scheduled to headline this year’s festival, but unfortunately canceled because of health issues. But even though Allman wasn’t able to perform at the festival, the spirit of the Allman Brothers music was captured with a stellar set from Colorado jam masters, the String Cheese Incident, who were joined by several Allman Brothers Band alumni for an ensemble dubbed the “Allman Brothers Family Incident.”

The supergroup delivered songs from the Allman Brothers Band catalog, with hits including “Melissa,” “Jessica” and “Statesboro Blues.” Fans also were treated to a rocking performance of Bob Dylan’s “Quinn the Eskimo.”

It was a highlight of the weekend that will be remembered for years to come.

Early in the day Saturday, Tom Hamilton’s American Babies, with Justin Mazer on guitar, and Twiddle, from Burlington, Vt., delivered exceptional sets on the Grove and Mushroom stages. The Peach stage (main stage) under the pavilion featured Joe Russo with two of his impressive cover projects, Bustle In Your Hedgerow (Led Zeppelin) and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (Grateful Dead).

The Dead ensemble featured both Tom Hamilton and Scott Metzger on guitar, who gave exceptional performances of “Eyes of the World” and “Terrapin Station.”

Following the impressive sets of Russo and friends, Anders Osborne performed songs on the Grove stage from his new album and gave the audience a set to remember.

Heavy thunderstorms delayed the music three times on Saturday, but no performances were canceled.

Back at the Peach stage, one of the most interesting and different sets of the weekend came from the Claypool Lennon Delirium. Comprised of Les Claypool (of Primus) and Sean Lennon (the son of the late Beatle, John Lennon), the band played a mix of psychedelic rock with ambient jams that left the crowd in awe.

One of its most noteworthy jams was a cover of King Crimson’s “Thela Hun Ginjeet.” The band’s set was cut short when thunderstorms rolled in, delaying the festival for a short period before the evening’s headliner Trey Anastasio Band took over the main stage.

Anastasio, the front man of the iconic jam band Phish, came out full of energy and opened with a funky version of one of his biggest hits, “Cayman Review.” Anastasio was bouncing around the stage, engaging with the crowd, and gave stellar performances of Phish’s “Gotta Jibboo” and his original, “Money, Love and Change.”

A powerful rendition of the Gorillaz song “Clint Eastwood” featured powerful vocals of trumpet player Jennifer Hartswick and dual trombone work by father/daughter pair Jeff and Natalie Cressman.

The band’s set was delayed after eight songs when more storms rolled in with heavy rain and lightning. Once the storms passed, the band returned to finish its set with songs including “Sand” (a Phish cover), “Architect” and “Push on ’Til the Day.”

The jams continued late into the night with Indiana-based rockers Umphrey’s McGee, which wowed the audience with its impressive instrumentation and light show.

When Greg Allman canceled, festival organizers were scrambling to fill his spot, and a creative pairing of drummer Joe Russo, keyboardist Marco Benevento and bassist Oteil Burbridge (of the Allman Brothers Band), joined forces and made their debut as RB&B on Sunday with an 80-minute, jam-heavy set.

Warren Haynes, also an alumnus of the Allman Brothers Band, played a headlining set on Sunday, which was extended to fill some of the time that would have been for Allman’s performance.

Haynes closed the festival with his band, Gov’t Mule, and the set was filled with guests joining them for fan favorites “Mule” and “Thorazine Shuffle.” When the quartet returned for the encore, they were aided by Charlie Starr, Brit Turner and Brandon Still of the band Blackberry Smoke.

Gov’t Mule said farewell and ended the festival with a pair of Allman Brothers Band covers.

With Allman’s health issues, it’s not certain as to if there will be another Peach Festival next year. But with its great success over the past five years, festival goers anticipate its return in 2017.

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Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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