Photos and Words by Craig Sandor

Ok, so I really don’t even know where to start with this one as the adrenaline and overall energy that has been pumping through me since I first arrived at Hunter Mountain is still flowing. I’m just going to roll with it, but I have to say that this was an absolute epic weekend for me even though it basically rained from afternoon straight through early Saturday. That aside, one thing I do have to say though, is that can throw one hell of a party!

, it was a wet and muddy mess up on the mountain, but in all honesty, despite that, I never saw it have a negative effect on anyone there…the vibe at this festival is so positive that it felt like the sun was shining, even though it was downpouring at times! For me personally, I was able to meet, shake hands with and even get a hug from many of my favorite artists. Being able to just have a few minutes with them up-close-and-personal was just absolutely awesome. They’re all just such real people, with some real smiles, and some really positive words just having a real good time, just as I was!

Although I wasn’t able to catch every act there, I had the time of my life being able to more than twenty of them. Being able to some of my favorite bands right up front was and always is an amazing experience, but I had the absolute pleasure of being introduced to a great deal of new music that’s been in my queue ever since.

I of course caught the the veteran acts such as , Gov’t Mule, & Friends, as well as which never dissapoint. Then there was of course ones such as the lovely and her band, the ever so beautiful and The Gramblers, , , , , and of course who can energize the crowd at any festival.

The list of new performers for me was quite impressive as these are the ones that have really kept my interest since the festival. I’ve of course heard of some of these, have heard some of their music (some I didn’t realize was them), but these include ’ Soulgrass…BAM!!! Now that’s some serious funk and fun, this man can blow sax like no other. Also with him on banjo was Ryan Cavanaugh who, in my opinion is leading his own world of banjo playing on a different realm, kind of like Bela Fleck did. sat in with them for a bit during their set as well since he was bopping all around the fest anyway. On that note, sat in with Gov’t Mule during their set on Saturday night. But, there was also who I finally caught…and all I can say is that’s some pure, bluesy, rock and f*cking roll music.

Next up I got to see The Souls whose bass player was out of commission so of and other fame stepped in to for him but the trio played like they’ve played together for years and belted out some great music. I also saw who were completely new to me and now will be a staple in my music collection as they absolutely killed the stage and put on one hell of a performance! Other bands include , , and . Someone then told me I should check out this small band named SIMO that was playing inside and holy s*** was I glad they told me about them! These guys were like meets and with some Hendrix flair to them! This was totally psychadelic throwback rock and roll, and I’m hoping to see them again as soon as they’re around my area, they put on an amazingly energetic performance, and were obviously a treat to the crowd.

Last but not least was The . Now, I’ve heard them, as well as a few songs of theirs, but I have to say that this was a complete highlight for me. They have a way of captivating a crowd unlike I’ve never seen and it’s obvious why they’re booked for so many festivals this summer as they have every right to be. I have to say that I get chills thinking about their performance as they’re true musicians, who work with very little, yet produce so damn much! I wish these bands nothing but good luck and positive in their futures as they have long ones ahead of them. Folks, this festival was built on nothing but real musicians, with an amazing amount of talent, as well as a seriously deep passion in their lives to make people happy by doing what they do.

I’m going to end this with the following…

is a huge part of my life, and I do what I do because I love it and for the way it makes me feel…period. Also, there are the amazing people I have the pleasure of interacting with at these festivals from attendees, vendors and old friends as well, but this year was especially awesome for me as I met some amazing people who I can truly call friends now. I have felt nothing but love and this amazing energy since the ending note of this festival, and it would be nothing but an honor to be able to cover in the future. I hope everyone else that attended this festival feels the same way as this party was done right.

Based in Denver, CO, Craig has been contributing to Live Music Blog for a few years now. He's made a strong start out of the gates and his enthusiasm always makes for a fun read. A veteran of almost 200 Grateful Dead shows and hundreds of other various concerts, Craig decided to combine his love for live music with photography to be part of the action.