Backwoods Fam Jam Adds Another Jewel in Florida’s Festival Tiara

There are too many festivals in Florida, said nobody ever. Charlie Bilsker agrees. He has added another wonderful new festival to the calendar — and at a new location. The Backwoods Fam Jam will take place May 5-7 at the Lone Palm Ranch in Hastings, between Palatka and St. Augustine, due east of Gainesville.

This promises to be another jewel in the Florida festival tiara. The site boasts primitive camp and RV slots (no hook-ups, however), and there will be food and beverage vendors and the usual vendors selling all sorts of festival goodies. There will also be a Family Fun Zone & Gaming Area, which is a great idea.

With two stages, you don’t need to miss a single note of music. And there is a ton of music to hear. This is yet another great gathering of Florida talent (with a ringer or two). Many have appeared at Orange Blossom Jamboree, Hometeam New Year’s Rally, and Great Outdoors Jam.

The undisputed kings of the Florida jam scene, the Heavy Pets, can do absolutely anything; they just crushed a four-night residency at the Dunedin Brewery Spring Beer Jam. As we like to say, “So Thank You Music.” Also in the house (well, figuratively) will be the man many regard as the king of the pedal steel guitar, Roosevelt Collier. He is an artist at large and will curate a monster Super Jam.

Upholding the gypsy swamp funk thang will be Come Back Alice. This amazing band, with Tony Tyler and Dani Jaye out front, just threw down an incredible Allman Brothers tribute. They are garnering attention far and wide. And more ethereal funk fusion comes your way in the form of Flat Land. This awesome quintet blows up every time they hit the stage.

The Applebutter Express play uncut ukulele funk with many delightful lyrical twists in their songs (and superb violin and bass!). Harp Smoke looks like an Isaac Corbitt project, and he is also an artist at large. Isaac is as good as it gets on harmonica. The Firewater Tent Revival fit in this category: folk, country and honky tonk!

Three bands who just represented for Florida at Fool’s Paradise will be on hand: the Groove Orient, Ajeva, and Ben Strok & the Full Electric. The Groove Orient has been on a high ever since their national tour last year, and they show no signs of slowing down their furious funky rock pace. Ajeva too has been on fire, taking their funk to Hulaween and killing a Santana set at Hometeam. And Ben Strok & the Full Electric, most of the former Herd of Watts, have been working hard getting this new project on the road. And we may well get to hear music from the upcoming Wonderful Evening in Jacksonville featuring the music of Stevie Wonder.

Heather Gillis will be there with her band; the guitar-slinger was in Butch Truck’s Freight Train Band and will perform at Wanee when they pay tribute to Butch. Bonnie Blue are great rockers in the Southern tradition who know a blues or two as well. And we are thrilled to have the Parker Urban Band back on stage. Like Ben Strok, there was a pause for BABIES! The Parker Urban Band is one of the most soulful bands you will ever experience.

The Delta Troubadours (formerly Gritt) mix rock & roll, blues rock and grunge — now that’s a blast. For hip hop flavors, it’s all about Universal Green. And Hail Cassius Neptune deliver progressive R&B and art rock.

A ton of great music, in an intimate setting, with your musical family.

Yeah, it’s a FAM JAM, all right. MusicFestNews can’t wait. We’ll see you there.

Fam Jam:


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