On November 13, the Spirit of Suwannee Park in Live Oak, Florida, once again has been taken over by swirling lights, smiling faces, dancin' feet, and a whole hell of a lot of funk.
It's time again for the Bear Creek Music And Art Festival. Four days just jam-packed with some of the finest bands and musicians around, from huge names in the jam band world like Umphrey's McGee to living legends like Pee Wee Ellis and George Porter Jr. And though those are just some of major acts. Bear Creek has a stable of "artists-at-large" who aren't necessarily performing with a band and can just take the stage with any band at any time. It's that kind of variety and excitement that has kept Bear Creek going as one of the most interesting festivals Florida has to offer.
And with so much going on, it can be hard to pick and choose which sets to catch to make your time more magical. So here, we present a list of ten must-see acts from this year's line up.
L.A's Funk/soul group Orgone will perform two nights this year, but we believe the Friday midnight set is going to be something to remember. Its blend of soul and funk sounds like it was taken from old '70s films, and that helps it just move you. Adryon de León's smooth beautiful voice ties it all together flawlessly, adding gravity to it all. It will be a truly beautiful Bear Creek moment.
Hailing from New Orleans, Yojimbo is a highly energetic three piece that pumps out a combo of punk ,jazz, funk, and some noise thrown in for good measure.
Fronted by the frenzied, charismatic, and extremely talented Carly Meyers on trombone, Yojimbo seems like the kind of band where anything, especially musically can happen. Meyers will also be traveling from stage to stage over the weekend, so we're very interested to see where she'll pop up. Yojimbo will be playing Saturday afternoon.
The Dumpstajam has become somewhat of a tradition at Bear Creek for the past few years now, and for good reason.
The folks from Dumpstaphunk take the stage with a revolving cast of musicians, just tear it up, and get every single person within earshot groovin'. Any single musician at the fest has a chance of popping up and laying it down easily with one of the top five funk bands in America. If you are at Bear Creek Saturday night, this is a requirement.
Consisting of members of Toubab Krewe and musicians from West Africa and other parts of the globe, Benyoro is as world music authentic as it gets. Complex rhythms, mind blowing percussion, and beautiful vocals that take you out of this atmosphere. It seems like the perfect group to spend a Saturday afternoon meditating on.
6. The Budos Band
The Budos Band's is definitely one of the sets we're looking forward to seeing the most. This instrumental nine-piece plays a blend of Afrobeat, funk, and rock that is just so pumping and driving, it's hard to contain yourself. You'd think a band with this many parts would have trouble working as a one big machine, but nope, these bunch of musicians know exactly what's happening onstage and when.
5.Oteil Burbridge & Roosevelt Collier Band
Oteil Burbridge is a master bassist and just plain legendary musician. Roosevelt Collier is an up-and-coming pedal-steel guitarist who has been touring his ass off over the last few years, sharing his gift with everyone and anyone who'll listen. These two have been playing together recently, and it'll be a surprise, a nice surprise to see what they have to offer as a team.
TAUK has only been a band for four years, and already it's making a humongous musical splash on the scene. Its gotten major airplay on Sirius and is already slated to tour with Umphrey's Mcgee. The band is pumping out its own instrumental brand of funk, electronic, prog, and pretty much every other genre under the sun. It'll be playing both Friday and Saturday night, so be sure to catch at least one set.
3. The New Mastersounds
The New Mastersounds is no stranger to Bear Creek Music Festival. We honestly can't remember a time when the band wasn't on the bill, and we don't care to. It is integral to the festival experience. These four men from England offer a jazz/funk fusion that never ever fails to floor us. Always an act we look forward to seeing, and seeing as many times as is allowed. This year, our only change will be on Saturday and Sunday, but we'll take it.
2. Orchestra at Large
The Orchestra at Large is the culmination early Sunday afternoon of all of the artist at large's efforts throughout the weekend. They join forces as one, and do what they do best, take the audience to new and different places. They'll lure you in no matter what you're doing -- whether its buying a vegan burrito or tying ones shoe.
1. Break Science and Soulive -- both featuring Talib Kweli
We're lumping these two together for good reason. On Friday night, both Soulive and Break Science will be joined on stage by one half of Black Star and socially conscious solo rapper in his own right, Talib Kweli.
He's the perfect fit for both Soulive's smooth funk and Break Science's hard edged electronic sound.
The Bear Creek Music and Art Festival, November 13 to 16 at Spirit Of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or at bearcreekmusicfestival.com.
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