PHOTOS / RECAP: Rootwire Music and Arts Festival 2012

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All words and photos by Alicyn Lane…

Papadosio’s third annual Rootwire Music and Arts Festival manifested again last weekend in the foothills of Appalachian Logan, Ohio. It’s clear that this festival has made groundbreaking constructive transformations towards one giant conceptual higher feeling. Like other festivals of their shared and like-minded nature, Rootwire appears to be in a way, spear-heading the directional path of what musical festivals of our generation can ultimately achieve.

Rootwire is a festival rooted in ceremony. It is a festival that integrates all forms of communication and self-expression as well as self and group exploration. The band has drawn upon audio, visual and even sensory elements of mind and body stimulation like meditation, yoga, and the similar qualities that one can experience during live music. All of these things are what makes Rootwire an annual alignment of ritual sight, sound, love, and respect.

Rootwire is a festival that is entirely cohesive in every aspect. From the lineup to the workshops and art, Papadosio has handcrafted their festival to be one that emanates the same ideas they hold true, as well as the other joining artists and participants. Dosio has often been described as a livetronica band based in organic roots right down to the core; and the same can be said about Rootwire.

It is a festival that is all about the experience… and they won’t overcharge you for it either. It’s almost pointless to even put a dollar amount anywhere near the worth of what one can take away from attending. Papadosio is making overwhelming efforts (straight from the heart) at keeping Rootwire a non-profit seeking festival. It appears more and more today that there is a lot of consumerism finding its way into the festival scene. But you won’t find that here. The energy and amount of dedication from those who make this festival possible shows that Rootwire truly cares about presenting you with the ultimate experience, and in turn, that you derive meaning from it in hopes you take it with you when you go. Papadosio is showing us all that it is possible to move towards a more common community of festival practice and understanding. You just can’t put a price on that.

What was truly new and interesting to witness was the progression of things in the preceding months leading up to the festival. All the time and energy they spent putting into the crafting of the festival was evident once they began individually spotlighting and highlighting all of the various artists, bands, and workshops leaders that would be participating; ecstatic about the lineup and event that seemed to be underway, they gave everyone credit, recognition, and a shared part in the limelight for being an integral piece of the whole and of what Rootwire would ultimately become.

The gratitude and graciousness from this band is unlike any I’ve seen yet. Dosio is also highly involved in the actual happenings of the festival as it unfolds. You won’t find them hiding away behind closed doors. These guys are just as big fans as we are. Participants at the festival had the chance to thank the guys personally for all that they had done. In my experience, I often found conversations becoming a mutual understanding of gratitude between band and participant. Rootwire is just one giant ball of circulating and perpetual appreciation, and Papadosio is trying to create a culture that is rooted in just that.

Each day at Rootwire was unique in its own way. Specifically the way Papadosio arranged their sets. Thursday night gave rise to See-I, Silo Effect and local friends and family The Werks. Joining The Werks (who would inevitably become the “Artist at Large” that weekend) was Mike Rempel of Lotus. Dosio would go on to have their late night set at the tent stage for what is yet another rare glimpse of the guys not so often seen. Papadosio played a live PA set that Thursday, basically plugging into Anthony’s “stuff” as he would say, as he would then manipulate it into a live, one hundred percent improvisational jam that would go on for about two hours. If ever there is a chance to see a live PA Dosio set… do not miss it.

Friday was yet another day of integrated music as well as diversity with bands like Snarky Puppy, Dixon’s Violin, The Skeetones, Signal Path, Ott and Dopapod, along with Ph Factor, Eumatik, Arpetrio, Kaminanda and Random Rab. Friday turned out to be one fantastic array of music and good times. Papadosio would not play Friday night, but Anthony would. His side project Earth Cry was one of the highlights of the evening as he awed people with his exploration of Solfeggio (a set of frequencies long since used for centuries).

Saturday showcased the band in a more familiar way with one giant two hour throw down of original Dosio sound, separated by the unexpected delight of the band Deaf Scene smashed in between the two sets. The following day had nothing but more greatness to come with bands like Jones for Revival, Shank Bones, the infamous Chali 2na & The House of Vibe, UV Hippo and Third Nature. But Sunday is ultimately what is most looked forward as far as Papadosio goes as it is the day they play their two hour acoustic set; during which it has become custom and “ritual” to sit down alongside everyone within the tent stage to witness the band in a completely different way. All throughout the evening (and the weekend for that matter) Dosio would take the opportunity to invite close friends and musicians onto the stage to share in the making of something entirely new. This became somewhat of a standard factor of the overall Rootwire experience… musical and artistic collaboration.

The total of what makes Rootwire so unique and utopian can be summed up and derived from the details and microcosmic perspectives we take from it. In other words, it’s the little things. Be it the sound of chimes ringing somewhere nearby, the smell of burning wood, the sights of its visual art and sculpture, or even the beauty of its natural landscape. Not coincidentally, Rootwire is by far the cleanest festival I’ve seen thus far. Sometimes it takes a while before the realization strikes, but when it does, and one thinks back to the aesthetic beauty that was Rootwire, I can tell you, that picture is completely devoid of garbage and waste.

Whether it’s the music, a passing conversation, or a meditation you recite at a workshop the sounds of Rootwire play as strong a role as the visual. Ask anyone who went, and they’ll probably explode with stories and details of fleeting smiles and laughter, peaceful calm and positive vibes that pulsate and surge electricity through every “human conductor”. You might call it karma, or maybe you refer to it as something else, but at Rootwire, everything happens. For whatever reason, it appears that everything occurs as it should when you are there, personally and on a grander scale. Ask that same person who went to Rootwire, and I’m sure they’ll have at least one great story of “karma” or coincidence that impacted their festival experience in a positive way.

You’ll mostly find that what it comes down to is you, and us. Though Rootwire is the heart, soul and life’s effort of the guys at Dosio, it couldn’t happen without you, the community, the people. Rootwire is the summation and collective effort of everyone involved. This occurs through expression and communication in a myriad of vehicles and forms. You don’t have to be an artist to get this, you just have to be you, and do what you can to leave a positive impact on the people you meet and the location you leave. When all of these elements combine, what you get is a temporary autonomous realm which brings you into the present moment.

For those who didn’t make it to Rootwire, don’t fret! There is plenty of awesomeness unfolding from the band in the next upcoming months. With the release of their new double album T.E.T.I.O.S. in the fall, Dosio is back on the road again, and they’re heading… well they’re heading just about everywhere. To End the Illusion of Separation is the product of what the band claims is the longest time they’ve spent crafting yet. Two years in the making, this album will feature 19 or 20 tracks that highlight Dosio in a new way. T.E.T.I.O.S. is the most rhythmically diverse and variety of comprised sound in an album so far and it includes live songs you may have heard, as well as many you have not. Not to mention, this album is yet another overwhelming example of the detail and heart they put into their work. The album is not just composed of music, but it is also visual art. T.E.T.I.O.S. is in collaboration with visual creators who over time have composed individual works of art for each song in order to illuminate its message and theme.

A complete festival lineup and artist information (including visual and workshop artists) can be found at Rootwirefestival.com. A great thanks to the band, staff, production, management etc… and everyone involved. To everyone that poured themselves into the weekend and mostly to the people and community that makes wonderful gatherings such as this possible.