When will we get the Wanee Festival schedule (April 13-16), the wag was asked. On April 17th, he wryly replied. Some remember the schedule difficulties of a few years ago. A very different variation had the answer as: Arrive on Monday, leave the next Monday. What else do you really need to know?
That was then; this is now. In this new era, when lineups are released months and months ahead of time, schedules are released ahead of time, too. The Wanee schedule is ready for you. Get your walking shoes out, because you’re going to need them! This schedule is deluxe, with Widespread Panic as your headliners for Friday and Saturday.
Are there conflicts? Of course. That’s the way of the world. But you have plenty of time to figure out just what you want to do, see, and hear. We’ve already looked in depth at the Wanee Wednesday Happy Hour.
You can relax — for one more day — hanging at the Mushroom Stage for great music all day and night. Joe Marcinek is the lead-off batter, and he has put together another outstanding group of musicians including Tony Hall and Alvin Ford, Jr. of Dumpstaphunk and Holly Bowling, Dani Jaye, Juanjamon and… you just never know. Read more about this band in our feature article.
California’s Tribal Seeds deliver roots, rock and reggae for your early afternoon delight. Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio next has their usual Thursday slot. I just saw Rodgers at the Little Manatee April Fool’s Jam Fest; it was the best of the 30+ times I’ve heard him. Prepare yourself.
Devon Allman and Band return as well. Devon has been a Wanee favorite since the beginning. Things get crazier still when the North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne present N.M.O. Luther Dickinson AND Osborne? Yikes!
Dumpstaphunk has regaled us with sets of music by many bands. This show is Dumpstaphunk’s Earth, War & Power. For those in need of an interpreter, that would be Earth, Wind & Fire, War, and Tower of Power. That’s some serious funk.
That leaves it to Soulive to shut the stage down, the perfect way to end your Wanee Thursday.
By the way, are you ready for Big Mike?
For Friday and Saturday, you have two stages to contend with: the aforementioned Mushroom Stage (the amphitheater) and the Peach Stage in the meadow. Also, the Traveling Stage is back!
An 11 AM time slot has been added. It will be worth your while to get up early both days (I know; good luck with that). Friday, those North Carolina boys Big Something make their first Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park appearance. This is a superb jamming band, and they host their own great festival in July: The Big WHAT?
Bobby Lee Rodgers has his usual noon set, and Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band is at the Mushroom at 12:30 (with Bruce Katz and Junior Mack!). They kill it every year. Back on the Peach at 1 is a huge new addition to Wanee: the Stanley Clarke Band. No matter what list of bass players is compiled, Clarke is on it. Near the top if not AT the top.
The great Wood Brothers band and Umphrey’s McGee go head to head at 2:30. That’s your call. Umph’s does have another set Saturday (oh, yes, they DO!). Then it’s time for Billy & the Kids. Billy is Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead, of course. And the Kids? Aron Magner (Disco Biscuits) on keys, Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) on bass, and Tom Hamilton (American Babies, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead) on guitar. And the wonderful Nigel Hall holds forth at the Mushroom at 5.
The Traveling Stage runs between the Lake and the Stable. Gabriel Kelly rides early; Bobby Lee Rodgers has the later slot.
“Can you help us out this evening?” You know it’s time for Gov’t Mule, anchored by its two founding members Matt Abts and Warren Haynes. You KNOW you need a good ass-kicking. With a (fortunately) small overlap, jamtronic heaven invades the Mushroom in the form of Conspirator, last at Wanee in 2012. Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein were just at AURA with the Disco Biscuits in March. They will be joined by RAQ’s Chris Michetti and a drummer to be named soon.
Then it’s Panic time. The six-headed monster has been on fire of late, especially their last sick sick sick sick show in Savannah (February 26th). Duane Trucks in the drum chair, and these will be two great nights of WSMFP. And I’m STILL holding out for a “Tie Your Shoes!”
At this point, you’ve had Devon and band on Thursday and Jaimoe’s fine jazz band earlier Friday. The Allmans theme continues as Les Brers take the late-night slot at the Mushroom. Those who witnessed Butch Trucks and company in their afternoon set last year know just how awesome this is going to be. Check out this lineup: Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Oteil Burbridge, Marc Quiñones, Jack Pearson, Pat Bergeson, Bruce Katz, and Lamar Williams, Jr. ‘Nuff said.
The early slot belongs to The Yeti Trio, with some trippy fusion featuring Vaylor Trucks. THAT’S how you wake up (or just don’t go to sleep). BLR 3 is back for set number four at noon. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear are an acoustic duo (possibly with a band for this set), actually mother and son. Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers make their Wanee return at 1.
The Traveling Stage finds Big Something playing early and Bobby Lee Rodgers on last time later in the afternoon.
Another tough call awaits you: Oteil and Friends — or — Hot Tuna Electric with Steve Kimock. Either way, you cannot go wrong, that’s for certain. Next, Warren Haynes returns with his wonderful Ashes and Dust Band, featuring Jeff Sipe (Apt. Q-258) and Chessboxer, a fine trio from Nashville. Everyone who saw this band on the fall tour or the recent shows will tell you: DON’T MISS THIS! Wonderful songs and “Instrumental Illness!”
Kung Fu is blasting along on a Joyride, their brand new album, and will throw down the funky fusion at the Mushroom. The Wanee-Allman Brothers connection continues when the godfather of Wanee, Gregg Allman, takes the Peach at 6:30. He is looking and sounding great.
Before the Saturday Widespread Panic attack, a special Melvin Seals & JGB set takes place at the Mushroom with very special guest Karl Denson. Now you KNOW that is going to be great! And what comes after Panic?
The glorious, wonderful, magnificent, incredible “All Night Wrong” set from Umphrey’s McGee. Let me just remind you how they began their 2014 set: “Exodus / Life During Wartime mashup > City of Tiny Lites (Zappa) > Life During Exodus.”
It’s on, kids! Just a week away! As Warren would say:
CAN I GET A WANEEEEEEEEEEEEE?!?