Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bear Creek: Best Jam/Funk Fest in the Southeast?

The Bear Creek Music & Art Festival, at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, kicks off its third edition next Thursday with pre-fest shows by Toubab Krewe and others.

I covered Bear Creek last year for Relix mag, and found the event to be one of the best groove-music festivals in the Southeast.

The fest, featuring top-shelf bands variously playing jam, funk, jazz, world music, rock, bluegrass, New Orleans music, and other styles, was well organized, not overcrowded, and packed with tons of great sit-ins and other unique musical happenings.

Slide-guitar wizard Derek Trucks, who wasn't even billed last year, sat in with Soulive, Lettuce, and keyboardist Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk.

This year's lineup is another knockout, with performances by Galactic, saxophonist Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Dumpstaphunk, organist Robert Walter's 20th Congress (pic of Walter here is from his appearance last year with his trio), all-star collectives Lettuce and Garage a Trois, the Benevento-Russo Duo, New Mastersounds, the Hill Country Revue, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Bonerama, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine, Eric Krasno and Chapter 2, and many others.

Several bands will give multiple performances. And artists at large include several major jazz/funk notables: Keyboardist Bernie Worrell (P-Funk/Talking Heads), trombonist Fred Wesley (James Brown), saxophonist Skerik, percussionist/vibraphonist Mike Dillon, and flutist/keyboardist Kofi Burbridge (Derek Trucks Band).

And Saturday night's "Mystery Show" promises something special.

The fest runs Nov. 13-15. For all the details, click here.

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