This post was written by Paul Kanterman, a friend of the site and avid music fan who knows a thing or two about the Mountain Jam music festival. He filed this play-by-play the other day and I’m just now getting around to posting it. Enjoy.
In 2007, Mountain Jam extended to a full three-day weekend. The First Annual Mountain Jam in 2005 had only one day, but perfect weather — alas, the same hasn’t been true since. Last year, the weather was absolutely miserable but the music transcended the conditions.
We left the city at one, beating most of the traffic and getting to Hunter in time to hear RAQ on the stage warming us up nicely for the New Orleans Social Club. Warren Haynes sat in with the Club for the end of their set, winding up with a fantastic take on John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son.”
After a break Gov’t Mule took the stage for the first of the weekend’s four, count ‘em, four sets. For me, the opener made the night. I’ve never heard them do Radiohead’s “Creep,” much less would expect them to open a show with it! The Mule played a tight show under a clear upstate New York sky. One of those would not be true the next night.
After a hearty breakfast, we made our way back to the mountain. This festival is located in an absolutely beautiful location. The second stage is just to the right of the main stage and unlike many festivals; you can set up camp for the day and hear everything in one place. We were ready for a long day of music.
We got settled just in time to see the Assembly of Dust. I was familiar with a lot of their stuff from Sirius JamOn 17 and really enjoyed their set. I had wanted to see U-Melt since they were known as a440. Their progressive hard rock was fantastic, harkening back to early Yes.
Ozomatli was batting third, and their blend of latin, rap and way too many other things to count, was perfect for a summer afternoon. I had never seen them before, but was really impressed. Earl Greyhound was next, on the side stage. I didn’t get it.
Next up was Umphrey’s McGee. After darkening for much of the day, the skies finally opened up during their set. They were an obvious crowd favorite, and played through the conditions until Mother Nature stepped in, shutting down the Umph’s set before they could finish the “Immigrant Song” closer.
A very strong thunderstorm was moving into the area and the festival essentially shut down until the storm passed. As for us, we headed back to the B&B and grabbed some dinner. The festival resumed and G Love and Tea Leaf Green both played great sets, according to reports. I got back to the mountain at 9:30pm right in time to see the entire Gov’t Mule show, much of it played in a steady rain that varied between a downpour and a drizzle.
Unfortunately, Sunday held more of the same. It was pouring in the morning and I knew the weather was only going to get worse. Driving back to New York City in the rain late-night wasn’t too appealing either, so we got an early start home and missed the day. Although the weather looks like it was not pretty, the day seems to have had some stellar tunes, topped off by a killer Phil show.
Mountain Jam puts on a consistently well-run, well-programmed festival. Let’s hope that the weather will finally cooperate next year. You can see all of the photos from the festival here.