Deep Roots Festival 2012: A Retrospective
TheBlueIndian.com headed to Milledgeville, Georgia this past weekend for the 9th annual Deep Roots Festival. Everett fills you in on all the details and why Deep Roots is quickly becoming one of the best small festivals in Georgia.
Deep Roots Festival (formerly “Sweetwater Festival), is a one day affair in the beautiful and quaint downtown Milledgeville, Georgia. Celebrating its 9th year, the festival took over the entire downtown area for a few days as they played host to a Memphis BBQ Network competition, a car show, tons of arts and crafts and a kid’s section. While all of this is a really fun sight to see, I enjoyed attending for the exceptional music lineup that these organizers have been able to pull in each year.
My first Deep Roots experience was in 2008 when Robert Randolph and the Family Band headlined and it left a mark. With a slew of good times from that year I have returned 4 of the past 5 years seeing some stellar acts like Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Reptar & The Whigs, and this year, seeing up-and-comers GIVERS from Lafayette, Louisiana.
The downtown is only a few square blocks, but Georgia College & State University (GCSU) is adjacent to downtown and even spills somewhat into downtown. It always feels like a more contained, and much smaller, version of Athens, GA to me. This particular event showcases all the great parts about Milledgeville, and feels like a 21st century version of an old town fair. While the crowds during the day are largely older and the streets are packed with small children grinning ear-to-ear, once the sun starts setting the festival folds into a single street, allowing the rest of downtown to return to normal, while a much younger crowd fills in for the late night acts.
I arrived just in time to see Grammy award-winning blues guitarist Chris Thomas King tearing down the stage with his old school blues riffs and hearing his vocals setting the stage for a great evening of music as he plays until the sun sets. Following Mr. King is a group of local musicians aptly named The Eclective, including members from Josh Roberts & The Hinges, Stokeswood, The Macchios, Bomb Chewey, and Elastic Skyline; they are officially the first band of the “evening set.” The Eclective is playing their first set, but each musician is steeped with experience and talent, which is immediately apparent as they weave through covers ranging from Cold War Kids to Pink Floyd to P.Funk in a high energy jam filled set that ends with a long showcase of covers, with the only disappointment being they could not play an encore because they didn’t know any other songs as a group.
The final band before GIVERS was a 3 piece out of Charleston, SC called Dangermuffin who played jam and groove infused rock. They have a largely Americana sound, but there are clear nods to the jam scene as well as some noticeable jazz and funk beats. For those familiar, it is a similar sound to Macon and Athens band Saint Francis. Dangermuffin seems to be on the road constantly, so check out their schedule if you missed them.
GIVERS is a 5-piece indie pop group fronted by Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco. With a sound similar to The Head and the Heart or the Lumineers with a lighter pop sound throughout more akin to Reptar, it is hard to see Givers not becoming a household name. With excited proclamations that they were wrapping up their tour with Grouplove that has been showcasing their 2011 debut LP In Light, GIVERS announced that they are going on hiatus to record a new album in a couple weeks. Explosive energy poured off these youngsters as they made a ukulele look like a rock instrument and even dropped the Talking Heads’ Girlfriend is Better and This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) mid set to raucous applause. The crowd was into the set as soon as it began and never looked back. It is extremely catchy and upbeat and they have the energy to sustain the whole crowd making me look forward to seeing what new material these guys can turn out for a second LP.
A huge thanks Deep Roots for another phenomenal Fall Saturday and exceptional lineup! I look forward to seeing you again in 2013!