Article and Photos by: Ian Urquhart
Constructed alongside the Lake Champlain coastline, the Grand Point North festival made its way to Burlington, Vermont for a weekend full of music, mountain-silhouetted sunsets and quenching brews.
This event gathered a wide range of genres to keep those in attendance on their feet. Grand Point North-goers also indulged in the lifestyle of a Vermonter during their two-day experience. Volkswagen buses, free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, maple flavored lemonade and free-flowing Lagunitas draft by the pour. Bubble blowers and corn-hole sets scattered the venue to provide some “downtime,” fun.
Getting back to the music. Several set-lists were covered during these two days. In order to display and describe each artist, a punch-line summary will be given for each band with respect to their associated photos. Here we go:
Snakefoot: In combination with modulated beats and saxophone bridges, SnakeFoot brought an exotic expression of sound and art to the stage. For being one of the first bands to perform, there was a strong following for the Burlington natives.
Lake Superior: Gritty blues with a rock aftertaste. Injected with a mouthpiece-harmonica, Lake Superior brought its garage-rock vibe to Lake Champlain. Fedoras and aviator shades all around.
Smalltalker – There almost wasn’t enough room on stage to fit Smalltalker’s production set up. Trombones, trumpets, saxophones and synthesizers were included in their performance alongside the typical guitar, bass and drum getup. Smalltalker’s soul feel and incredible bowling shirts meshed well with the Grand Point North atmosphere.
Tank and the Bangas – Smacking the crowd in the face with propulsions of soul and R&B, Tank of the Bangas made a loud statement. To categorize this band in one genre would be impossible. With licks of gospel mixed in with a dash Spoken word, their message was received.
Hurray for the Riff Raff – Indie and acoustically driven, you could feel the folk roots trailing all the back to Riff Raff’s originality in New Orleans. Riff Raff’s performance embodies more of a story telling. Each song seemed to be relatable with a current issue occurring in this world. This appeal was greatly accepted by the GPN audience.
Mondo Cozmo – Stole. The. Show. One of the most exciting performances of the festival. Mondo Cozmo’s performance incorporated anything from a guitar solo to a ten-foot drum-kit leap. Apart from Grace Potter, Mondo Cozmo expressed an incomparable amount of emotion on stage leaving the crowd wanting an encore.
Low Cut Connie – A piano blasting and butt shaking experience. Low Cut Connie provides so much energy into their performances. Guitar soloing on top of speakers. Playing piano while lying on the ground. Fan appreciation and love runs deep with the, “Subaru driving” Vermont crowd.
Joseph – Three beautiful voices. Three beautiful souls. Joseph the band orchestrated a marvelous performance lead by a harmonized, female trifecta. Joseph was a pleasure to listen to. These ladies have some pipes.
Grace Potter – Vermont native, creator and ambassador of the Grand Point North Music Festival, Grace Potter took the stage by her lonesome. Recognizing and appreciating the setting sun behind the Green Mountains, Grace performed her first song acapella. This captivated the crowd and fueled the energy necessary for the rest of Grace’s upbeat and inspiring performance in front of her home crowd. Disco balls and Flying V guitars were required.
Trey Anastasio Band – Finishing off the Grand Point North Festival, Trey Anastasio graced the Vermont faithful with a heart filled with appreciation. Thanking those who were present for supporting Grace Potter’s festival, Trey Anastasio (vocalist and guitarist for Vermont’s very own – Phish) lead the rest of the group for ten to fifteen-minute-long jam sessions of what he called, “songs.” A fitting way to complete the Grand Point North Festival with one of the greatest music-success stories to ever originate from the state of Vermont.