I had been watching the weather all week long, Hurricane Matthew was creating havoc in the south and it’s path was undetermined until three days prior to the event. We were still forecasted for rain, and rain it did all the way up until one hour prior to the kick off of Pinelands Music Festival. Nestled in the southwestern part of New Jersey, Cumberland County Fairgrounds was host to this years event. This a section of the state I am totally unfamiliar with, took me almost two hours to get there and even though it was raining, it was still a nice ride. I constantly have a hard time thinking it takes two hours to get somewhere in NJ from where I live on the coast in Ocean County.
Featuring two stages, over twenty bands, lots of delicious local food trucks and a few vendors, I concentrated on the main stage (Pinelands Stage) for the day. Set times were around thirty minutes each for these acts, extending in length for the last four bands of the night. By the end though, things were running 60 minutes behind schedule and I could not stay for the headliner, Hawthorne Heights. The second stage ( Grandaire Stage) hosted 15 local, up and coming bands from around the state and held their set times at 25 minutes. I did manage a few songs from Kid Felix here later on in the evening. Thanks to the guys in Deaf Rhino for turning me on to them.
I know someone probably asked why I did not go back and forth. Well, short set times, things to do in between sets and the light. More than anything, I was following the light. I am a photo type after all and with all these bands, the less I had to concentrate on the better. I wanted to remember the ones I did take in. I was kinda frazzled by the time Hidden in Plain View came on at 10PM, nine hours after I got there.
While it was an absolutely great day of music all around, for personal taste, three bands stood out to me the most. NJ quintet, Owel, started things off on the main stage for us. Giving us a beautiful set of song, they turned in the most melodic set of the day. They will be hitting up The House of Independents on Dec 3. Do not miss that one.
Buffalo quartet Head North, slotted in to the three hole, opening up with a mellower tune. Just guitar and vocals, and I had know idea what was coming. There is a lot going on with these guys. Great depth and expressive feeling, so much that I have been jamming on them all week long. Check them out on Spotify.
The best live performance of the day goes to a duo from Atlanta, ’68. Guitar and drums. These two were straight on balls to the walls, let it all hang out from the first note they played amazing. I was a bit saddened when I found out where they were from, I would have loved to see a bill with them and the two stellar guitar/drum duos from Asbury. Maybe one day.
The other acts on the main stage, from NY State – Young English and Such Gold, From NJ – Prawn, returning for their second year was Philly’s Cruisr, coming up from Florida and putting in a great set – Sleepwave, and getting back together for a one off reunion was Don’t Look Down.
Long day, exciting day. Tons of photos. Here is a few of all the bands we covered. I put up a Flickr gallery with some more shots if you would like to check them out.
Don’t Look Down
Hidden in Plain View