ROAD TRIP: VIP Campfire Jam II

Posted by  | November 28, 2012  at 9:09 PM  

Larry Keel & Toubab Krewe
November 1, 2012, I said sayonara to Romney, Ryan, Sandy, et al. as I packed up the Mini, unplugged from the real world, and found myself southbound on I-81 for VIP Campfire Jam II. Held at Stoney Creek Resort in Greenville, VA, this Big Poppa Productions event was the perfect way to close out the 2012 festival season. I left VIP Campfire Jam II with almost enough of that post-festival feeling to tide me over 'til the spring thaw.

Was it cold? Most definitely. Did my toothpaste freeze? You better believe it. Did I care? Not in the least. From the second I saw Larry Keel clad in pirate gear and his wife Jenny dressed proudly as Lady Liberty, I knew it was going to be both a wonderful weekend and a weekend full of wonders.

As Thursday night's bands were warming up, VIP guests (which at this festival is everyone) migrated toward the heated tent which housed the main stage. However, in order to enter said heated tent, festival-goers first had to pass through a tunnel lined with black light 3D paintings by AEB Creative Works. No matter how many times I traversed the tunnel, I always found myself stopping to stare at something new. Adding to what was already a very colorful experience, Thursday night you were the odd man out if you weren't wearing a costume. Even the bands for the evening were decked out--instead of Larry Keel and LEATHal Matter it was more Peg Leg Larry and LEATHal Mario. True, it was the night after Halloween, but would that really have even mattered?

Masquerade mayhem is tough to top, but Friday's festivities did not fail. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong kicked things off on Friday and they never fail to make a fashion statement ;) Their early afternoon set gave night owls a chance to catch some slumber before they flocked to the stage as the first strains of Funk E. Zekial filled the brisk mountain air. The birds were followed by the blues (or something like it) as People's Blues of Richmond took the stage, and from there it was a steady stream of amazing music including more Larry Keel and LEATHal Matter. As Friday segued into Saturday, the music never really stopped. At the VIP Campfire Jam, it was guaranteed that at any hour of the day, whether on stage, by a campfire, or in a cabin, someone was playing some tunes.

Every night (or early morning as was often the case) as I cocooned myself into my sleeping bag, I fell asleep thinking nothing could possibly top that day's experiences, but then every day brought something even better. Saturday's musical line-up was astounding: David Via, Danny Knicely, more Nate Leath, Rolling Green (who had the most a-mazing rugs on stage), Toubab Krewe (more crazy percussion instruments than you could shake a stick at [pun intended]), Acoustic Syndicate (wow), and then there was Larry Keel on stage with everyone! At one point I counted around 17 people on stage--tell me that isn't insane in the most brilliant way possible?!

VIP Campfire Jam II, was better than any VIP experience I've ever had, even rivaling the Special Guest Pass I won to Bonnaroo 2007. VIP Campfire Jam was a place where lobsters were flown in from Maine, frosty beverages were topped with glitter sprinkles, and introductions were paired with a hug instead of a handshake. After my weekend at VIP Campfire Jam II, even Monday morning didn't look so scary; although, it probably helped that my inbox was freshly filled with Facebook requests from all my new friends. :)

For a more musical, band-by-band review, check out Becca Cranwell's post over on the Appalachian Jamwich blog:

For more of my pictures from VIP Campfire Jam II, CLICK HERE.

P.S. Be sure to check out Milky Wave Tie-Dye for some really amazing pieces! I snagged a couple of his tie-dyed bandanas that I will most definitely be sporting at festivals all summer long :)

P.P.S. Because you can never get enough Larry Keel, be sure to catch him on Friday, November 30, at Opera House Live in Shepherdstown and on Friday, December 14, at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va!


Reed George said...

Beautiful work, Richele! Hope to see you at another show soon!


Richele Cole said...

Thanks Reed and from the looks of all the great shows coming up, I'm sure our paths will cross soon!

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