Different Bat-time, different Bat-channel, same awesome festival. That’s The BIG What?, BIG Something’s deluxe summer party with a whole bunch of friends. The festival will move to a great new location: at Shakori Hills Community Arts Center in Pittsboro, about 30 miles south of the previous site. And the new dates are August 17-19.
But the music? Better than ever! Your Burlington hosts will be playing ? sets, which will be great, including one set entirely improvised under the direction of the master Matt Butler, who will also be on hand to direct Everyone Orchestra (you’re gonna need a bigger stage). BIG Something is cruising right now on the strength of outstanding new album Tumbleweeds and their two glorious sets on Jam Cruise in January. The first of those was a magical late-night performance on the pool deck the first night out, second a throw-down with amazing sit-ins from Roosevelt Collier, JoJo Hermann (Widespread Panic), and Patrice Quinn (Kamasi Washington).
That was the first time for BS on the boat, as it was for Turkuaz, who had the very first set on the pool deck. And they BLEW. IT. UP. The Brooklyn power funk nonet was brilliant; as Pat says, “Friends don’t let friends miss Turkuaz.” FACT.
There will be special late-night sets Thursday and Friday from Zach Deputy, the one-man island tsunami, and SunSquabi, an amazing “electronic hydro funk” trio from Boulder. Consider the Source will melt minds and bend faces with their “progressive Sci-Fi Middle Eastern fusion, and the trio will also present a clinic.
Aqueous brings their tasty Buffalo groove to the party, and Spiritual Rez is bringing their “reggae horn dance party” back from Boston, featuring Toft Willingham’s outstanding vocals. One of Florida’s greatest exports is Come Back Alice, with their incredible gypsy swamp funk. And speaking of funk, beware the belligerent jungle funk from Chattanooga’s Opposite Box, one of the most entertaining groups you will ever see.
Another nine-piece group accurately named is Big Mean Sound Machine, pouring out the Afrobeat, funk and more from Ithaca. Closer to home, Augusta’s Funk You plans to do exactly that. You’ve been warned. More? Litz from Gaithersburg MD mixes funk, psychedelia and jam for your pleasure.
The Tar Heel State is well represented in the mix as well, with Asheville’s premier funksters The Fritz killing every time they hit the stage. Empire Strikes Brass will set your head spinning with their genre-bending set, and Dr. Bacon is simply mad, twisted funk rock. Town Mountain offers a slight reprieve from the madness with their excellent bluegrass and acoustic stylings. And all of them are from Asheville!
The BIG WHAT? is excited to host a reunion set from BIG Daddy Love and their Appalachian rock from Winston-Salem. Raleigh’s Urban Soil soars with their delicious blend of sweet Americana jam, and Rebekah Todd and the Odyssey offer their soul, folk and blues (Wilmington). Meanwhile, BS homies Jive Mother Mary play straight-up rock and roll.
Emma’s Lounge, claiming WV, NC and SC as home, will deliver “space-age folk wave;” we can’t wait! Bencoolen out of the nation’s capital blend reggae, rock and alt-rock for their groove, and Barefoot Wade is an army of one on stage. Also welcome two relative newcomers in Of Tomorrow (also from DC) and Greensboro’s The Wright Avenue. It will be great to ‘discover’ them this August!
The BIG What? is brought to you by host BIG Something, Possum Holler Productions and Life is Art Studios. Make your plans now; you don’t want to miss this magical event.
MusicFestNews will see you in the Carolina hills in August. Please join us!