Many South Floridians relate to the Langerado Music Festival like it's our little nephew. We have had lots of fun playing with it, and we adore it, but ultimately we are not its parents and don't get to make the big decisions in its life. When the fest was born at Fort Lauderdale's Stadium Festival Fair Grounds in 2003, we rejoiced. We'd never really had a nephew before. It was a miracle! Then, when it went to kindergarten at Young Circle, we went and cheered it on as if it were playing tee-ball.
Then came its formative years at Markham Park "Elementary." Wow! What a great little kid it was growing up to be! It had really established its own personality -- bright and sunny, no trouble, wonderfully entertaining. Finally, it graduated and hit the big time -- Big Cypress. Holy shit! We could hardly recognize it anymore. I mean, it was big, strong, sexy, and completely wild. We were a bit worried maybe, but ultimately, we went along for the ride. And it was amazing!
Then, it got greedy. Lost its way. Got into bad drugs. Tried to be something that it wasn't. Miami? Death Cab for Cutie and Snoop Dogg as headliners? We drew the line. We weren't going to support that kind of behavior. We knew Langerado better than that. And so Langerado broke down and went into hiding. Ashamed of itself. Good. We knew it was a tough thing to go through, but that's how we learn.
Now, our little buddy is back, with a humble smile on its somewhat scarred face! Hi there, Langerado! How are you doing? The answer to that is: It's doing all right. It's still got some issues to work out, but ultimately, it'll be good to hang out with it again.
Back at Markham. Cool. That was always its natural home. The Big Cypress experiment was great, but now we've been there and survived that. How about the music? Back with Trey! That's great. The last time Trey played Langerado, back in 2007, it was his first time on stage after getting out of jail. It was memorable. Since then, Trey has only grown more wonderful. Everything he has done has had an uplifted, luminous quality to it. I'm not sure we could have asked for a better headliner than Trey Band.
Death Cab for Cutie, on the other hand. What the fuck is Langerado still doing with that bad-luck charm? Still depressed from our reprimanding a couple of years back? Very disappointing headliner, but we can forgive that and ask for Wilco, Animal Collective, or the Flaming Lips next year.
Then, we've got a couple of other standouts in Ween and Thievery Corporation and a few more interesting acts like Arctic Monkeys, Portugal. the Man, and Conspirator scattered throughout the lineup among some duds like Super Mash Bros. and some lesser-known goodies like Two Fresh.
We'd like to see some more familiar faces up there like Medeski Martin and Wood -- who could fairly be called the overall Langerado MVP -- and local faves the Spam Allstars. And, how about some freakin' reggae?! How about Burning Spear instead of Ben Harper? And some locals like the Resolvers?
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All in all, Langerado is looking all right, especially if you grabbed the $75 early bird. The $150 tickets that are on sale now are fair, but $120 would be more fair. It's looking like this will be a mostly local affair, since there is no (official) on-site camping, and there are not enough big jam bands to draw the hippies down from the mountains. But that's cool. Langerado, we're glad to have you back around.
Langerado Music Festival 2011, October 8 and 9. Advance tickets cost $150. Click here.