With the Wanee Music Festival just three weeks away, there is so much to look forward to. You’ve got the old guard, so then it should follow that there are also a middle guard and a new guard.
We’ll save our discussion of the new guard for another post, but let’s look carefully at how much Wanee honors the tradition of the music we love. This festival was built by the late Butch Trucks and his Allman Brothers Band mates. This will be Wanee 13,and every year has highlighted the music we’ve grown to embrace, share, love, trade, imbibe and otherwise absorb. It’s in our DNA.
We certainly were dealt a double-whammy with the announcement that Gregg Allman had to cancel all 2017 engagements and then the crushing blow of Butch’s passing. Going forward, however, there is still so much life and vibrancy in the concept of Wanee that we should be in good hands for years to come.
By now you know that Wanee Wednesday (and, by the way, NEVER miss Wanee Wednesday) will be dedicated to the memory of Butch Trucks. Heather Gillis tells us that The Freight Train Band is determined to honor him with a special performance that day in addition to all of the other pre-party music. Read our preview of Wanee Wednesday here.
Those who attended Wanee 2016 know that the highlight of the festival was the Les Brers late-night set that nearly eclipsed three hours of stunning music. Les Brers will return, and you can count on that being a highlight again this year. Continuing on the ABB front, Butch’s partner Jaimoe will return with his Jasssz Band; last year’s set was the strongest of their Wanee performances, many thought.
Devon Allman is back with his band, and he crushed his set last year (remember him shredding while walking through the Mushroom Stage crowd?). And the Yeti Trio, with Butch’s son Vaylor, also ripped it up last year with an incredible performance. Those there will remember Butch on the rail for the entire set… with grandchildren!
On to the Dead. Grateful Dead. Whichever you prefer. We don’t care, as long as we get some! In this case, we get a triple-dose. First, we get Bobby. He has been to Wanee with Ratdog and with Furthur; this time we’ll hear Bob Weir & the Campfire Band. If you’ve heard any of their recordings, then you know this will be special. For those wishing for the “real” Dead experience, Dark Star Orchestra will hook you up with two sets on Thursday night. And Keller is back! This time it’s Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass. That will be glorious.
Then there is Warren Haynes. The man is a festival — all by himself. He and Gov’t Mule have been know to play an ABB song or two (hoping for a “Rocking Horse” here), and they certainly love Jerry, so more Dead is also a distinct possibility. And then there is his love for Little Feat. “Skin It Back” and “Spanish Moon” are just two of that band’s catalog Haynes loves to play. And we might get more, given that Haynes is spearheading New Orleans is Waiting for Columbus, celebrating the 40th anniversary of that Little Feat live masterpiece. The show will be May 6th at the Saenger in NOLA during Jazz Fest, and you can read more about it here.
Gov’t Mule would fit into that “middle guard,” of course, along with contemporaries Phish and Widespread Panic. We do get Panic, and the Phish served will be in the form of the Trey Anastasio Band. TAB has also rocked the Wanee stage before, and Trey’s return will certainly be welcomed. And the six-headed monster WSMFP heads in Friday (only one night this year), one of the relatively few performances the band will play this year.
Two more in that middle category add to the awesomeness of Wanee 2017. One will be Leftover Salmon — playing the music of Neil Young! You cannot be serious, except that — delightfully — they are. LoS are Wanee veterans, and so are JJ Grey and Mofro. Grey and company are the Sunshine State’s best and most important ambassadors of what we hope will remain pristine Florida. The man ought to be governor, not Bat Boy (or is that Skeleton? Or Voldemort?).
So you can see that the Wanee tradition is still alive and well! MusicFestNews will be there! Come say hello — in between sets!