Lockn’ 2014: Review + Photo Gallery
It has been a few weeks since festival goers packed up their campsites at the second annual Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, VA. Social media newsfeeds are still full of pictures and nostalgia from the weekend. It was certainly a music story for the history books. A meticulously orchestrated lineup seamlessly flowed and kept the audience captivated throughout the entire weekend.
A wonderful and unique feature of Lockn’ is that you do not have to choose between stages and bands. You can virtually stay in the same spot most of the day and see every act on two side- by-side stages. Additionally, there were two other stages for early risers and late night shows. Each act was headliner worthy and the musicians built momentum as they shared the spotlight with each other.
There are far too many festival highlights to list all of them. Imagine writing down your top 30 or so favorite bands and the setlists you would love to hear them play and then it all coming true, or actually being so much more than you could have imagined. That just about sums up Lockn’ 2014. However, for the sake of highlights here are just a few.
David Shaw of the Revivalists got the crowd engaged early when he joined them during their cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” including a guest appearance from Eric Krasno of Lettuce. Simply saying The Wood Brothers should be enough explanation of a highlight. Brothers Chris and Oliver Wood together with multi-instramentalist Jano Rix covered The Band’s “Ophelia” brilliantly. Chris Wood energized the crowd as he showed off some fancy footwork. The momentum continued to build as Umphrey’s Mcgee and The String Cheese Incident took turns on stage, each playing two full sets. Umphrey’s closed their second set with Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” then String Cheese Incident got everyone on their feet for their second set, a Kool and Gang Tribute show. Preservation Hall Jazz Band set in for the entire show and surprise guest artists J.T. Taylor, former lead singer for Kool, as well as three of their back up singers made the night complete. The setlist involved big hits like “Jungle Boogie,” “Ladies Night,” and of course “Celebration” which ended the tribute but set the precedent for the rest of the weekend. The New Orleans funk band Dumpstaphunk kept everyone dancing into the early hours with their phunky late night show.
Lockn’ seemed to really foster the idea of collaboration and no better example was that of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band taking the stage with legendary bluegrass act the Del Mccoury Band. The seamless fusion of their styles of music was a spiritual experience that continued as the McCoury set ended and all the musicians formed a second line marching to the other stage where the PHJB’s set began. The Drive By Truckers brought a little more diversity to the evening with their Southern gritty edge and rocked out some favorites like “The Living Bubba,” “3 Dimes Down,” and “Zip City.” At one point Patterson Hood made a comment about how he bet Widespread Panic and Steve Winwood would play “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” and how that was a teenage favorite of his. Of course his prediction came true Saturday night, but more about that later. String Cheese Incident did not disappoint for their second night with another two sets. To close out the first, Sam Bush joined in on “Colorado Bluebird Sky.” Friday night was truly every Dead Head’s fantasy. Bill Kreutzmann got things off to a great start with an old Sam Cooke number “Let the Good Times Roll” and that they certainly did. The good time kept rolling as Kreutzmann was joined with his “allstars” like Taj Mahal, Keller Williams, and EOTO to name a few. Phil Lesh later brought onstage Haynes, Scofield, Medeski, and Russo to round out the night with the festivals first “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”, followed by old favorites like “Shakedown Stree,” “Box of Rain,” and “Franklin’s Tower.” All minds were blown at that point, but the night was still young. Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks had a special treat up their sleeves with an intimate acoustic set at the Triangle Stage in a tucked away wooded forest. It was a memorable evening with covers like the Rolling Stones’ “You Got the Silver,” Ray Lamontagnes’ “Shelter,” Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” and the Allman Brothers Bands’ “Done Somebody Wrong.” Susan Tedeschi left the crowd with chill bumps and a desire for more which would come on Saturday.
Saturday afternoon was a hot one but that didn’t keep Sam Bush, or Larry and Jenny Keel from bringing their A-game. Combined they were a force feeding off of each other. Gary Clark Jr. kept things heated up as he wailed on B.B. King’s “3 O’clock Blues.” Then The Tedeschi Trucks Band took to the stage for a much more upbeat show than their stripped down version the night before.
Wilco’s performance was interrupted by a double rainbow and Jeff Tweedy got the crowd laughing as he took notice with a bit of sarcasm. He moved on from the distraction and held the attention of the crowd for a solid first set at Lockn’. Phil Lesh and friends took to the stage for round 2 in which they ended with a Beatles cover, “She Said She Said” as clouds rolled in and the set was cut short. Fans were sent back to their campsites and advised to get into their vehicles for protection. The storm quickly passed and the music continued. Everyone raced back to the stages to try to get in place for Steve Winwood’s highly anticipated appearance with Widespread Panic. They opened with “Junior,” an old Kimbrough hill country blues number.
Not long after Steve Winwood joined with Traffic’s “Glad” and then the predicted “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.” Winwood finished out the rest of the set with Panic on a high note with “Gimme Some Lovin.” The set felt shortened by the rain, which left the crowd eager for more on Sunday. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers closed down the main stages Saturday with an encore performance of “American Girl.” What a classic way to end such an emotionally filled day.
Keller Williams held three early morning sessions playing Grateful Dead favorites, the last of which was an appropriately themed gospel set on Sunday. Soja kept the one love vibes active with their reggae in the afternoon followed by a powerful performance from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. She came back for an encore and did a heartwarming tribute to the late Brian Farmer(Warren Haynes’ guitar tech who recently passed away) with Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” and the Beatles’ “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends.” The mood remained reverent as the man, the legend, Willie Nelson was on deck. Willie and “Trigger” played just under 30 some odd songs and a real highlight was Susan Tedeschi sitting in for a few of the gospel numbers. Lockn’ really did feel like a family affair and Willie Nelson truly embraces that. His sister Bobbie plays the piano beside him on stage just as she has for years. Widespread Panic returned as promised and this time for a longer full set without the impediment of rain. People are still reminiscing about their close with Neil Young’s “Vampire Blues” and Bill Withers’ “Use Me” featuring yet again Susan Tedeschi who was so gracious to lend her stellar vocals throughout the weekend with many other talented musicians.
All good things must come to an end so they say and in more ways than one for this grand finale. Not only was this the end for Lockn’ 2014 but the Allman Brothers Band took the stage for one of their reported last live performances together. This was obviously a momentous but bittersweet occasion. As announced, they played Live At The Fillmore East in its entirety with a backdrop of pictures of the band from days gone by and the musicians that had inspired them. The Allman Brothers Band have a strong and special connection with Macon, GA as they lived there in some of there most formative years as a band in what is known as The Big House. As the slideshow played along with every song, one could not help but to think of Duane and all the former members of the band. What a story this band has woven over the years through their lives and songs. Brian Farmer was once again remembered as the band dedicated their encore to him. “Midnight Rider” and “Mountain Jam” played around “Blue Sky” and a hint of “LIttle Martha” was the perfect note to end on for this incredible weekend.
Throughout the festival, it was impossible to not look around and truly feel lucky to be a part of something so massive but feel so interconnected with the music and those around you. Hats off to the Lockn’ crew for pulling off such a carefree experience with a lineup that truly will be hard to beat. Memories were made, friends were introduced, and people fell more in love with the music and those that performed it. With that being said, put the next Lockn’ at Arrington Farms on your calendar for September 10-13, 2015. You will not regret it!
-Miranda Andrews, September 25, 2014