A Preview with a Review; Looking Back on Peach 2019 in Anticipation of a Post Pandemic Peach 2021 | JamBandsOnline.com

A Preview with a Review; Looking Back on Peach 2019 in Anticipation of a Post Pandemic Peach 2021

June 30, 2021

Article by Jack Abramson

Photos by Lori Sky Twohy

Four days, four stages, over forty bands – it’s the 2019 Peach Music Festival, oh man what a rockin’ good time this years fest was!! Every band in 2019’s line-up was so solid, it was a challenge to decide which ones I had to make it too, and which I would have to miss. This was my second Peach fest, such a great location and crowd with so much love and mutual respect in the air; it was really beautiful to be a part of. So, here’s my breakdown on this awesome line- up. On thursday, you had Aqueous kicking off the festival at the main stage. Unfortunately I didn’t make it in time to see this set, and this is a band that I really wanted to see going in, but I heard that the set was great, so Im glad that the festi got started off right.

I did make it for the second act which was Billie Strings, this kid has so much talent, I was just blown away by his set. Billie was off the charts good. He did this thing with his guitar where it sounded like he was scratching records, it was amazeballs awesome!! When Billie Strings comes to your town, its time to party down, a show that is not to be missed. I also think its also really classy that Billy is big vocal supporter of “embracing the face” with Cash or Trade.org. Then you had the String Cheese Incident wedged in between two killer Pigeons Playing Ping Pong sets. These cats definitely came to play, and the three Pigeons sets were just amazing! Filled with crazy eargasmic jams, those boys are a lot of fun to watch. The late night Lotus set was pretty good, 12-2:30 is a hard set to play as everyone is pretty spent from dancing in the hot sun all day; and speaking of hot sunny days, this was the first Peach Festival where it didn’t rain!

Day two was a gem, Larkin Poe opened up the Peach stage, one of the sets I’m disappointed I didn’t get to. My first jaunt over to the Mushroom stage was for the Southern Avenue set, I was really impressed with this band. High-energy blues and soul was on the menu, and it all tasted really good. The Mushroom stage is where the water park is, and hearing awesome music while floating down the lazy river is an experience that I’ll never forget. I did make it back to the Peach stage for the end of the Blues Traveler set, and listening to that signature John Popper sound took me back to the nostalgia of the Horde days of the 90s. The second evening jumped to a great start with Moe, and then back over to the mushroom stage for a ragin’ cajun Dopapod set. Next up was Big Something, for me a highlight of the weekend. One of the great things about going to music festivals is that you see bands you would normally not even know to tune into. Big Something is one of those bands, Im so glad I was introduced to them live because they pack a really big sound!

Day three for me was the peach of the peach, one of those days where the action was so packed that you had to pick some killer sets to miss. I chose Stephen Marley over Ghost Light, not sure that was the best decision but it was a solid set. Personally I prefer reggae on the last day of a festival, its a really good way to bring it all back to mother earth, but Stephen didn’t disappoint. I didn’t make it to the Goose set either, but I’ve listened to it since and realize that I missed something really hot. I think that set was during Billie Strings though, which was a weekend highlight for me so.. I also didn’t make it to the Lettuce or Greensky sets, but Ive seen both of them numerous times and Im sure they were awesome as always. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big Phish fan, and my man Red brought it Saturday night with two rager sets, to me it was the highlight of the festival. I was a bit disappointed that TreyRad didn’t happen, which brings us to the JRAD set, it was petty rad. Joe and his wife had a baby and he wasn’t able to make it. His fill in did a good job, but there’s really not much you can expect from a band that’s missing one of their main founding members. All my love to the new baby and Joe, but you were sorely missed bro. There’s a special signature pop that Joe unleashes on those drums, you can have 10 solid drummers sitting in and they still wont be able to replicate that special sound that Joe brings. But the set was still really solid, a testament to the all-star fire power within this band.

Day four, Sunday Funday kicked off on the main stage with the Yonder Mountain String Band, followed by the legendary Inaugural Guitar Pull set. This Guitar Pull set featured Scott Sharrard as the musical director, along with Jake Cinniger, Stanley Jordan, Steve Kimock and the amazing, amazing Samantha Fish, dressed to impress in her black leather pants and hot pink high heels. Ms. Fish is an absolute rock star, with her bad ass guitar sound and mesmerizing vocal range, my wife and I were pie-eyed on her the whole set, it was so refreshing to see a female dominate a stage full of men. Then they brought up young Taz for a song and let him wail a solo out, I would have liked to see this kid up there the whole time because he reminds me of a young Derek Trucks, so awesome with such a bright future. Warren Haynes and Grace Potter teamed up for a set later in the day with a beautiful collaboration.

I really wish Grace had sung lead on “I Shall be Released” though, because the version that she did for the “Love for Levon” benefit show, was absolute magic yo’. Don’t get me wrong, Warren has a great voice, but the heights and vocal range that Grace has on this tune is unmatchable. Listen to that “Love for Levon” version an you’ll know what I’m talking about. Then, in to close an amazing weekend was Phil & Friends with the all- star line up of Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes, John Scofield, John Molo, and for me the MVP of the weekend is none other than Holly Bowling! Not too long ago I remember seeing these videos of Holly making classical Dead and Phish tunes her own, and I really respect artists that put their spin on cover tunes. Then fast forward a couple of quick years and you’re seeing Holly rockin’ it down in Ghost Light. But the highlight for me was to see a newcomer like Holly Bowling sitting in with this power house Phil and Friends lineup, and not just holding her own, but dominating the stage at times! Hats off to you Holly, its been real fun watching your journey, and I think its just getting started

For me, the rock and roll ladies owned the weekend. I can’t remember seeing so many awesome women performers at a music festival, its really inspiring to see that. I for one would love to see an all female Guitar Pull set in the next run.

So that’s the recap of my 2019 Peach Festival experience, just the best time Ive had a real long time. Let’s make 2021 even better!

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