Tag Archives: Bear Creek

A belated Mikey Monday: A raffle for Live Oak…

In the world of live music, there are certain places that are held near and dear, sacred not for one particular reason, but rather for a host so large that trying to pin it down, or even explain it, would be a less than fruitful effort.

In similar fashion, any fan can point to a particular band, artist or player of a particular instrument as the one that does “it” for them. It, in its intended sense, is as unexplainable as Stonehenge. It is that tone that cannot be taught. It is that soul that cannot stay tucked away. It is whatever it is that gives it the ability to snatch one by his shirt and take full ownership of everything from the next move he will make to the feelings he will have while getting there.

During his short time with us, Michael Houser was the source of the aforementioned for literally countless fans. Behind an unassuming demeanor, and from a seated position, the power he unleashed was staggering. There was something about his tone that even if blindfolded, it was unmistakeable. No one since has even attempted to recreate it; they know they would fail if they tried. It was, is and always be his honest tune. Fortunately, he shared it with us and therefore, it rings with immortality, meaning that it can never depart.

Much was written in regards to how Mikey continues to shine a light of influence on us when Ian Rawn, Steve Love and Jamie Wickford published what we think was a beautiful piece recounting the We Miss You Mikey occasion. Whether watching online or from within the venue itself, we thought that it captured the feeling that the night in the Georgia Theatre spawned. In a word, that feeling was “inspired.”It was from that night that this idea being presented today was born…


â—Š The Idea


The record pictured has been sitting around for quite a long time. It’s cover tells that story by itself. It has seen better days, but those days were before it spun on a record player literally more times than even its direct owner (which is always a source of fun dispute) knows. As you will see, it has been signed by the band that created the content contained on the vinyl therein, Widespread Panic, including Mikey Houser.

Needless to say, this is a treasured little item, but alas, the conclusion has been made that it should go and live elsewhere, perhaps… say, your house.

That conclusion was arrived at about a year ago, but when it was, the decision to wait for the right time and the right reason to let it go. That time, for whatever reason, is now.


â—Š The Cause


Referring back to the first sentence way up there ↑, this past summer, one of our staff’s and senior contributor’s favorite places to be is Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. It is a “home field ” of sorts. It is a place that, for so many, has represented reuniting with old friends and never leaving without new ones.

Earlier this year, the area that is home to the park came under attack. Its wasn’t attacked by mortars of flame but rather by one of the very elements from which the location derives a portion of its identity, the molecule of life itself, water. It all happened when tropical Storm Debby descended on the small town of Live Oak, releasing an unprecedented amount of rain, wreaking havoc across Suwannee County. This was in June.

Next month, folks will flock to the town, occupying its hotels and those of close by Lake City, at least for the few very chilly wee morning hours that succeed the funk-filled late Bear Creek nights. For some, the havoc that our Mother wreaked on the grounds that have been a dance floor to so many will be out of mind. For others, thoughts of the devastation will be fleeting, resembling the Spanish moss that hangs overhead, blowing with each passing Florida breeze.

Neither of these statements are meant to come across as condescending. To suggest that people should walk around drearily thinking about a disaster while some incarnation of a “best of” lineup of musicians has sprung up for the 9th time during Bear Creek would be a bit dumb. After all, to the naked eye things appear to be just fine in Live Oak. Nearly seven months later, the roads have long since been opened and business is back to usual for a large portion of the townspeople. But, as we all know, there is always more to the story under the surface.

The fact remains that some families lost everything in June. Included in everything was their car(s), home, appliances, furniture, gardens, clothes, food, toiletry products, a combination thereof and far too much more to try and list. For these people, things are far from the way they were prior to the flood.

This is where we come in, but to suggest that we can solve all of Live Oak’s problems would be quite pompous and actually, quite naive. This said, we can definitely do something. How much will be up to you and those like you.


â—Š The Raffle


The Prize: Autographed LP- Bombs & Butterflies – Widespread Panic


The album is a limited edition LP (Vinyl) release of Widespread Panic’s Bombs and Butterflies (1997-Capricorn). It is numbered 2627 out of 3000. The album’s cover (that is the one that those common with the album recognize as the cover of the standard release CDs, cassettes, etc.) unfolds into a poster, as seen in one of the pictures below. 

The outer cover is signed by all members of Widespread Panic that were in the lineup at the time that the album was released: John Bell, John “JoJo” Hermann, Michael Houser, Todd Nance, Domingo S. Ortiz and Dave Schools


There will be a second prize but that is still being ironed out. Trust us, it will be good and as worthy a consolation as it can be to the “once in a lifetime” status of the grand prize.


Here is the plan:

1) The autographed Widespread Panic album will be raffled for 5 bucks per ticket. There will be a second place prize (that will be announced soon… still working out the details there)

2) One family will be the beneficiary of all monies collected and that family will be chosen through cooperation with our friends at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.*

3) The money will be delivered during or before the Bear Creek festivities and only after a winner has been drawn from the raffle.


That’s it! Sounds simple, right? Not so fast! This requires YOUR help. Why? Well, other than the obvious reason that we need you to buy a ticket (or 20), if by November 2, 2012, there has not been at least $500.00 raised, all monies will be refunded and the raffle will not go down or be extended accordingly.


Why 500 clams?

The fact is, there is a near identical item that recently sold for 3,500.00 and another up for auction on eBay with a starting price of 2,750.00. So, if we wanted to, we could just hop on over to eBay, sell the album of a couple of thousand dollars, donate that money and be done with it.

But that requires absolutely zero community effort and excludes so many from the opportunity to have the album and the opportunity to give to a family that is in need.  Plus, we hope that we can do better that a couple of thousand dollars. We want to blow this family’s mind with the amount of generosity that the folks with our little Honest Tune family & community gathered.


So tell your friends, tweet, post this on Facebook, etc.  Let’s make this thing work! [AWD_likebutton]


â—Š Rules & Eligibility:


1) All of the entered names will be collected from the survey site and pasted into a computer generated random name picker. All of this will be videotaped so that nobody can cry foul. To see examples of us using this tool, click here. If we are lucky, maybe we will bump into Col. Bruce and get him to draw names out of a beer pitcher again.

2) The drawing will be held on 11/7/12** and the winners will be notified within 7 days from that date.

3) No previous or current Honest Tune editor/staff may enter

4) Contributors (senior and otherwise) may enter.

5) A person may enter as many times as he/she wishes, but please note all raffle “virtual ticket” sales are final.**

6) Entrants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of entry and from within the continental United States.


â—Š How to enter?

Are you ready?


Well, here ya go:

Simply click on the pay now button below and you will be directed to PayPal where you will complete your transaction. After you are done and if everything goes correctly, you will be redirected to a “Success!” page and your email from PayPal will confirm your entry.

If you have any questions, please publicly list them below in the Facebook comments section. If, for whatever reason, you need to contact us with a question, please utilize the contact option in the menu at the top of this page.

Lastly, we encourage everyone to read the fine print, which contains terms and other items of interest, including checks & balances that ensure legitimacy.


â–º Don’t forget:


There are three Honest Tune giveaways underway. Prizes  include autographed CDs from Trey Anastasio & Jimmy Herring, tickets to one of a handful of Gov’t Mule & Jimmy Herring Band (w/ Victor Wootem Band) shows, a new copy of Gov’t Mule’s new Georgia Bootleg Box and some merch and CDs from Jennifer Hartswick and Van Ghost. Be sure to check them out. They don’t cost a penny to enter and with the vibes you are putting out by entering this raffle, you r odds surely just increased! Good Luck!



Pick a quantity




More pictures…

Click the thumbnails to view…






*We are choosing to do this in this manner, as opposed to the traditional routes we have taken with past charity-related auctions, donations, contests and giveaways, is due to the trusted relationships that we have in Live Oak who can steer the giving appropriately, and because we want to see how and who your and our efforts help… especially with a prize as near and dear to our heart as this one is.

**Exceptions: 1) If, by November 2, 2012, there has not been at least $500.00 raised, all monies will either A) be refunded and the raffle will not go down or B) be extended past the original deadline. 2) If a mistake is made in purchasing, refund requests will be looked at and evaluated on a case by case basis. For example: If you accidentally choose to purchase 100 tickets, but you meant to purchase 10, that would be an obvious “of course, we will refund your money.” On the other hand, if you choose to purchase three tickets and have some odd form of buyer’s remorse, your probably going to be out of luck. The refund policy is necessary to ensure that the contest, short as it is, runs smoothly.






Fine Print:

This contest/giveaway is not endorsed, sponsored by or affiliated with Michael Houser, Widespread Panic, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Capricorn Records, the city of Live Oak or any related entities to include (but not be limited by: management, estates, official representatives, copyright holders, etc.) It is, indeed, the sole responsibility of Honest Tune, thereby making Honest Tune responsible for all parts of this giveaway/raffle.  Due to the financial commitment each entrant is making, Honest Tune will, at minimum: Publish a list of every entry and dollar amount. Entrants confidentiality will be kept by use of his/her email’s first 3 letters and first two letters of domain (example: John Doe enters and buys 3 tickets. His email is johndoe@gmail.com. His information will appear as: j**n***@gm***.com) This list will be published within 90 days after the close of the drawing via Google Docs.It will be up to each individual to check the site, honesttune.com, for the release of this document. Further, a screenshot of the PayPal balance, as it stands on the drawing date will be included in that document. Currently, the balance is $0.00.




360° at Bear Creek, 2011: Video, Photos, Review & Interviews

Once a year, the title of “Funkiest Place On Earth” is bestowed upon the Bear Creek Music Festival, the last chance to share in an outdoor groove before putting the camping festival season to bed for the year.

Held together by a singular thematic funk element and the goal of keeping the crowd dancing until the wee hours of the morning, Bear Creek has carved a reputation by primarily being  niche-festival that also adds various spices for those that need a genre other than funk for at least one meal a day.

Held at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, home to many of the year’s finest festivals, Bear Creek always manages to be the perfect example of saving the best for last.  On tap for this year was one of the grandest lineups to date with Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB, the legendary Dr.Lonnie Smith and an all weekend tour of the deep career of George Porter Jr.

Of course, all of this fails to mention the vibe — the primarily element that causes a recidivism rate that is steadily climbing with each passing November pilgrimage to Suwannee.




The vibe at Bear Creek was, as it always has been, true unified purpose put in action; people carrying out a mission statement to have the funkiest good time humanly possible.  It could be best described as equality driven and the love vibe only grew as the weekend progressed, flowing in a loop of love from the planners to the builders of the stages, architects of the sound,  the security personnel — the bands and fans picking up and giving back with full steam along the way.

Days seem to float past in a sea of moments that are heightened by sonic joy and an overall feeling of oneness. During the music sets themselves it was only a matter of which way one turns his head that determines whether he will see people dancing, standing with eyes squeezed shut or smile adorned faces that appear to be lost in sonic bliss.

None of this occurs by simple happenstance. It truly embodies the vision that Paul Levine, founder of the event and captain of the Bear Creek ship, holds near and dear to his heart.

By booking many of the acts — or members thereof — for more than one day, and the fact that keeping a primary genre focus means that most billed bands travel in similar circles, the end result is that it turns into a massive party amongst friends. The fact that musicians mingle with fans is what sets the event apart in the current bi-weekly festival atmosphere that is the live music scene of the present day.




Trey Anastasio Band (11/12/11)
By David Shehi


What is perhaps most unfortunate about Trey Anastasio’s shows of late is the fact that once you have caught one on any given tour or run, you have pretty much seen them all. This said, they are virtually error-free and on this night, there was a distinct difference between Trey of the past and Trey of the present: he no longer requires to be the center of sonic attention.

There was a time when “Trey band” was simply an opportunity for Anastasio to be the absolute center of it all, a notion that was met with much resistance in Anastasio’s primary project, Phish. Simply put, in many ways, the players who backed their front man were little more than space-savers who filled out the music around Anastasio’s endless — and borderline monotonous — solos, making it all too obvious that the guitar god had a literal need for the “chairman of the boards,” Page McConnell (keys, Phish). Well, that was then.

Anastasio is not the same guy as he was then and though the difference has slowly been peaking its head over the past few years, it was at its most noticeable on this recent run and made for an enchanting evening at Suwannee.

Anastasio has always been arguably the best guitarist on the jam and live music scene, but it seems that his personal maturation has yielded a musical insight wherein he now knows that — just like a string — one man can be broken, but a group of strings that are interwoven and entwined makes a rope that is virtually impossible to sever.

In a time slot all unto themselves, Trey and company were in their finest hour in so far as playing as a unit was concerned.  They were cohesive and equal parts distributed; each member following their leader but shining as bright and occasionally brighter than the conductor himself.

Opening with the high-energy “Push on ‘Til the Day,” it was immediately apparent that it would be the brass section, and predominantly Jennifer Hartswick, who would own the Bear Creek night.

When the announcement came that Trey Anastasio would play at the beloved park — a place that has a feeling of home for those that frequent the beautiful setting — I was ecstatic. With so many players on the lineup with whom Anastasio has played (John Medeski, Marco Benevento and others), thoughts of sit-ins were overwhelming. However, nothing of the sort happened. What did happen was a standard show — that the perma-grinning band had as much fun giving as the audience did receiving. It was a set that was short on fireworks but sound in its framework. It did come with moments of grandness, in the form of  “Sand>Valentine” ( a Trey assault), “Burlap Sack & Pumps” that was played to perfection by Tony Markellis and Jen Hartswick’s relentless vocal work on the closing “Black Dog.”

On its whole and in spite of being slightly disappointing due to personal over-zealous expectations for the set, the two and a half hour long show was quite a journey, and one that will be forever etched in the Suwannee corner of my mind.

Download an audience recording of this show here
Download the soundboard recording of this show here


Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (11/10/11 & 11/11/11)
By Bob Adamek


Karl Denson closed the Purple Hat Stage on Thursday night and the Big IV Amphitheater on Friday night, bringing his well recognized brand of rock/funk/soul to eager Bear Creek funk fanatics. No stranger to the art of the sit-in himself, Denson welcomed many guests to the stage. Joined by Boots Riley (The Coup), Robert Walter and many others, Karl D’s “tiny” universe was expanded to say the least.

As is typical for a Tiny Universe outing, the sets were packed with high energy, soul and spacious lengthy jams, featuring a cast of great players who adequately provided turn-down service for their maestro to lay down vocals or a crushing sax or piercing flute solo.

A highlight of the sets came with a Robert Walter sit-in. Walter’s organ work was so weighty that Denson himself made his way to the instrument to co-engineer; both musicians adorning an infectious grin that spread throughout the cold and crowded Suwannee field.

The inspired and impassioned play made both sets the subjects of much discussion throughout their succeeding days.

Download night one here
Download night two here 


Medeski, Martin & Wood and Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood (11/11/11 & 11/12/11)
By Rex Thomson


There had to be a first moment when Medeski, Martin and Wood hit a perfect synchronicity; a moment when each member of the trio realized that they had collectively surpassed anything than each could ever hope to be alone.

Each masters of their craft, the sounds collectively created by John Medeski, Billy Martin & Chris Wood blend into a unique voice that is both instantly recognizable and utterly distinct.

From Billy Martin’s expressiveness from behind his drum kit and percussive instrument table to Chris Wood’s ownership of one of the most honest bass tones of any player working today and John Medeski’s uncanny ability to sprawl across the rhythmic tapestry and lay down into his signature expansive and dense organ and piano work, MMW are unquestionably innovators and founders of a jazz-based sound that simply cannot be imitated.

With the incredible amount of talent on hand, the guest appearances during the trio’s Bear Creek sets met the very definition of the much overused word, “epic.”

By performing two shows over the course of the weekend, MMW were given an opportunity to do something far ranging and rare. First, in their own turn on the Purple Hat stage, they played a variety of their more classic material that was taken to an even further heightened place through the host of guests that joined them, ranging from brass legend, Pee Wee Ellis to guitar guru Will Bernard, and second pairs of percussive hands donated by none other than Stanton Moore and Johnny Vidacovich.

In the second of their two billed sets, they were joined by frequent collaborator and master of the clean sustained note, John Scofield.

The pairing was amazing. The sparseness of Scofield’s leads cut through the thick organic funk of the three funkateers, creating temporary division prior to a perfect union — easily being one of the most memorable sets of the weekend.

Download Medeski, Martin & Wood’s set here
Download Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood’s set here


Dumpstaphunk / Dumpstajam (11/12/11 & 11/13/11)
By Bob Adamek


As consummate Bear Creek closing act, Dumpstaphunk is charged with a sizeable task: to shine as brightly as all of their predecessors. Having become a symbol of today’s state of the art funk, the act that is helmed by Ivan Neville is beloved by the Bear Creek faithful — with their annual “Dumpstajam” that closes the Saturday night festivities having become legendary. The only quandary for the crew is how they will outdo themselves each year. It can safely be said that the test was passed in ’11.

A warm 47 degrees greeted the patrons on Saturday night, a temperature that was welcoming to those that had been frozen to their core on the preceding evening. This said, 47 degrees is still quite brisk, but the heat would soon come in the form of the Dumpstajam that raged through Sly Stone numbers and — amongst others — Tower of Power’s “What is Hip,” with Louis Cato (Brian McKnight) putting on a figurative clinic in bass groove.

Though expected, the list of sit ins evolved into a rotating cast of many of the festival’s top players — Eric Krasno, Nigel Hall, Skerik, Freekbass, Louis Cato on drums and bass, Billy Iuso and a large variety of guitar and horn players — with the Dumpstaphunk members in charge of both providing and maintaining a leading and supportive structure to some of the longest and most experimental improvisation imaginable. It was the skill set of the latter that kept it from not only not sounding like a complete mess but instead, sounding like a 14 member band that plays together regularly.

As the festival wound down, the only game left was Dumpstaphunk on the Big IV Amphitheater stage. The band’s vocals and harmonies were some of the best of the weekend, and dual bass attack by Tony Hall and Nick Daniels dug a groove of unrelenting depth.

In correlation with the multitude of guests including George Porter Jr. and Skerik (Garage A Trois, Dead Kenny G’s), they rolled through Dumpsta standards like “Put It In the Dumpsta”  and “Meanwhile.”

Download Dumpstaphunk’s set from 11/13 here
Download the Dumpstajam here


Most Valuable Players


George Porter Jr.
By Bob Adamek


George played in four billed bands — Funky Meters, Runnin’ Pardners, The Trio (Jen Hartswick, Vidacovich & Porter) and John Scofield & Piety Street — and sat in with even more acts including: Russell Batiste Band, Lettuce and Dumpstaphunk.

His first set was on Thursday with the Runnin’ Pardners for what turned out to be the set of the day. The band worked through many songs from their new album, an homage to George’s favorite Meters songs (Can’t Beat the Funk) that were never played live and hit many other highlights from his illustrious career. The set peaked when the band ripped through Robert Palmer’s versions of “Sailing Shoes” and “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley,” both of which featured Porter on the studio album that included “the trilogy” from 1974.

The Funky Meters set on Saturday was a significant Bear Creek addition because so much of the music at this “mother-of-all funk fest” was influenced and owes its roots to the Meters. Pee Wee Ellis — of James Brown fame — sat in on sax as did Bear Creek artist at large, guitarist Billy Iuso.

Sunday morning began with The Trio. Sit-ins included Khris Royal (Dark Matter, Runnin’ Pardners) on sax and Freekbass (Bootsy Collins, Freekbass). Thanks to a lifetime of competing for the bottom end with Art Neville’s Hammond B3 left, Porter was easily able to find space while playing with another bass player.

George’s official duties concluded on Sunday with John Scofield & Piety Street, demonstrating a skill-set that goes way beyond funk and proving that he can just as easily handle the low end whether it be a gospel, blues  or jazz number.

Simply put, George Porter Jr. was rightly treated as royalty at this festival, creating a buzz whether playing or simply standing side stage to watch and listen to other bands.


Download George Porter Jr. & The Runnin’ Pardners set here


Jennifer Hartswick
By David Shehi


Jennifer Hartswick has completely come into her own and it is official, she will no longer be simply known as the horn player in TAB. With a new album (Ocean Floor) recently released, Hartswick brought her incredibly skilled band — consisting Nicholas Cassarino (guitar), Dezron Douglas (bass), Nikki Glaspie (drums) of Beyonce’ acclaim & Rob Marscher (keys) of Matisyahu and Addison Groove notoriety — along for the ride. The set that ensued was one of the top musical moments of the entire weekend. Hartswick’s soul shone brightly as she guided her crew through servings that were not were more than appealing to the ear, they were immersing to the spine.

As mentioned previously, Jennifer’s light was the brightest on the TAB stage, highlighted by what was unquestionably the hottest offering of the set that came in the form of an uproarious vocal offering of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.” The number  whirled the Bear Creek throng into a frenzy and sealed the deal on a night that had been hers as much or more than it had been Trey’s.

Officially appearing in four lineups over the weekend (Trey Anastasio Band, Van Ghost, JHB, The Trio with George Porter and Johnny Vidacovich), she made the rounds — usually with “little sister” and TAB band mate, Natalie Cressman, in tow — from the largest of stages to the smallest. At each stop, she sung and played with as much fervor as anyone else on stage, but moreover, she did so with the most giving spirit and brightest smile.

Simply put, Hartswick was and is a star whether standing front and center or in the back corner leading Trey’s horn section.


Download Jennifer Hartswick Band’s set here


Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
By Rex Thomson


Growing better with practice, the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park layout goes through minor tweaks from event to event. Since it is the last event of the year, Bear Creek has the fortune of being the beneficiary of all  of the improvements that have taken place throughout the summer and early fall.

Bowing last, Bear Creek has the good fortune of being staffed by dedicated workers who know their jobs and the grounds like the backs of their hands. The various vendors are culled to be nothing but the best in artisans, with delightful festival eateries that have proven their allure as well as the finest weavers and designers whose dedication to outfit the festival in bright colors and warm party wear is second to none.

What is perhaps most oxymoron-like is that the one thing that superficially seems  “negative” about the festival — the chilly nights — actually enhances the overall experience as attendees are even more inclined to shake asses out of the instinctual need to keep warm until the very last note of each day.

Besides being a group experience shared and withstood, the park’s policy of allowing small ground fires adds to the overwhelming camaraderie of the experience. Complete strangers “fire hop” from camp to camp, stopping along the way back at their temporary homes to meet and greet the kind folks who are stoking fires along the way and each morning, as the sun returns to the heavens, sleepy faces emerge from tents with smiles and wide open arms, outstretched to meet the day.

Musical Highlight & Lowlight

By David Shehi


Highlight: Rubblebucket


Adding some spice to the mix, and something off the beaten funky jam-band trodden path while still including heavy brass, Rubblebucket’s set that took place in the indoor Music Hall was just different enough without being too much of a deviation from the sounds of the weekend.

With a sound that can best be described as avant garde with splashes of indie influence served on an afro beat platter, Rubblebucket delivered a high-octane set that begged undivided attention — primarily as a result of front woman Kalmia Traver’s stage presence and antics.  She had the nuances of Bjork without being too spacy to grasp.

What was most impressive was the obvious natural chemistry and the management of the large band that clearly has orchestral persuasion. This is a band to keep a close eye on in the coming year, if for no other reason than to see if something this unique has the ability to succeed in the mainstream/radio section of the industry to which this outfit seems to be propelled: a world where cookie-cutting seems to be of utmost importance. Because if there is one thing that Rubblebucket is not, it is cookie cutter.


Lowlight: Beats Antique



Bear Creek tends to steer clear of electronic music, but did include a few that use instruments. The rest were relegated to the silent headphone tent, an experience that was not to be missed and housed some stellar acts including Skerik, Eric Krasno’s DJ set and Wyllys’ spinning of vinyl that would make that cat from Juice proud. Other than Beats Antique, Zoogma and Big Gigantic were the only other bands with an electronic lean playing on a main stage.

In regards to Beats Antique, the schtick is up, the newness smell is out of the car. Delivering what has devolved into the same serving from festival to festival, the trio operates based upon a simple equation that worked for a minute: make lots of noise with overloaded bass and put a beautiful belly-dancer front and center, occasionally handing her a bass drum for her to bang.

Though many talked about the set, those that spoke highly of it, were Beats Antique virgins, the Bear Creek having been the only one that they had witnessed. Naturally, they like anybody else who was once new to the band, were primarily enamored by the gorgeous Zoe Jakes that they, like I, were able to give the music a pass. Well, that time is up for me and as Officer Barbrady would say, “Move along folks, nothing to see here.”


Musical Discoveries

By Bob Adamek


If there is one thing that remains true of Bear Creek, it is that its undercard is not fully known by even the most proficient aficionados.

Over the course of the weekend, there were three undercard-occupying bands that defined themselves as can’t miss acts: Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Orgone and London Souls.

Sister Sparrow is driven by a four piece horn section that is tight as a fist and a wonderful lead singer whose voice calls up the growl of Janis Joplin as well as the ringing clarity of any modern day diva.

A hurricane force of energy for Orgone lives in their guitarist, Sergio Rios. He never stopped thrashing around and forced the music to his will, compelling the crowd to dance and infecting his band mates. Though many doubted the band’s sustenance following the departure of front woman Fanny Franklin, Orgone proved that they are here to stay behind the woman who has amply filled Franklin’s shoes, Sy Smith.

The London Souls are a throwback to the days when the power trio ruled the rock and roll landscape. All three members can sing, but their stock and trade is won through hard rocking, high energy, forceful jams. By being one of the few brass-less acts to grace the Bear Creek lineup, their sound was immediately ear-catching, but it was the raw energy that kept the crowd’s attention span from dwindling away or on to the next act.


Download London Souls’ set here




Another Bear Creek year has come and gone. With a lineup that accomplished exactly what it presumably was attempting, the turn out was substantial. New friends were made and old friendships were strengthened.

As folks gathered up their belongings on a “way too early” Monday morning and bid farewells, the vibe remained.

Bear Creek remains to be a festival that is not simply about music. Sure, the music is the carrier of the torch and the initial tie that binds Bear Creek residents to one another. But it is the relationships that grow from the humble beginning that have the true stay-power.

It can only be hoped that the Bear Creek tradition continues and that next November — and for many Novembers to come — we will still be able to indulge in our own little funky piece of a yearly chilly heaven with friends of old and those yet to be made.


On the Scene at Bear Creek with Garage A Trois, George Porter Jr., Honey Island Swamp Band, Jen Hartswick, Johnny Vidacovich, Natalie Cressman & Rubblebucket

Scroll down for more photos from the festival.

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the festival by Bob Adamek, Rex Thomson & David Shehi

Editorial Revision: Though Sy Smith did sing with Orgone at one time, Niki Crawford is the current vocalist for Orgone. We apologize for the oversight and/or any confusion that resulted from it.

Honey Island Swamp Band: Live, Backstage And Unplugged at Bear Creek

Trying to find artists at Bear Creek Music Festival — in all of its electrified and funky glory — who are able to go unplugged while staying true to their style is like trying to find a Waffle House west of the Mississippi. In other words, it is quite difficult. This said, no matter the location, we could not have found a better outfit than Louisiana based Honey Island Swamp Band to participate in our relatively new but completely awesome Live, Backstage & Unplugged series.

Born from displacement at the hands of Hurricane Katrina, the HISB ensemble quickly rose to acclaim in San Francisco with their self-described Bayou-Americana genre, a sound that is perhaps best described by the band’s moniker itself.

Located in Louisiana’s St. Tammany Parish, the Honey Island Swamp is one of the least altered river swamps in the United States. It is murky, muddy and home to many an indigenous creature. It is nature in its natural state, and Honey Island Swamp Band’s music is delivered in the same fashion, where the beauty is most evident due to its unrefined and unaltered raw glory.

Rather than go on and on about the band and their sound, we will let you be the judge. So sit back, relax, listen, watch and enjoy as Honest Tune — in association with Bear Creek Music Festival and Technaflora Plant Products — presents Honey Island Swamp Band’s Chris Mule’ & Aaron Wilkinson performing “Sophisticated Mama”: Live, Backstage & Unplugged.


Honey Island Swamp Band: Live, Backstage & Unplugged @ Bear Creek

Previous Live, Backstage & Unplugged segments:

Acoustic Syndicate, Brett Dennen, Brock Butler (Perpetual Groove), Emmitt-Nershi Band,
Gary Clark Jr., Jim Lauderdale, moe., The New Familiars, Railroad Earth, Sam Bush, Sarah Siskind, Toubab Krewe, The Wood Brothers,
Yonder Mountain String Band, Zach Deputy




Bear Creek Music Fest releases daily schedule, pre-party details and more


2011 Poster by Stanley Mouse

Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival held this November 10 – 13, 2011 at Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL has just released the daily performance schedule as well as additional details about pre-parties, costume theme nights, ticket prices and more. The festival lineup includes Trey Anastasio Band (only Florida performance), Medeski, Martin, Scofield and Wood, Galactic, The Funky Meters, Big Gigantic, Soulive, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and many more. Full lineup details and tickets on sale now at ww.bearcreekmusicfestival.com.

To kick off the weekend of music, Bear Creek will have an official Pre-Party on Wednesday night featuring Honey Island Swamp Band, Juno What!?, Thomas Wynn & the Believers, Gravity A, Pepper Drive, Trial By Stone, funkUs in The Music Hall. Thursday night’s party – on four stages – will host Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Beats Antique, Pimps of Joytime, Papadosio, George Porter’s Runnin Pardners and many more.

4-Day Passes include Thursday night and 5-Day Passes include both Wednesday and Thursday nights. All active and retired military that purchase a 3-Day Pass will be upgraded to a 4-Day Pass (Thursday to Sunday). Valid military ID at the gate is required.

With less than 6 weeks to Bear Creek, early bird tickets are still available for a limited time. Weekend festival passes will remain at $150 until 11:59PM on Wednesday, October 12. Thereafter, ticket price will increase to $165. Buy now and save a few bucks! ww.bearcreekmusicfestival.com

Friday night of Bear Creek will see the first of two costume parties with the theme WARM & FUZZY, so bring your warm & fuzzy costumes – long johns, smoking jackets, hats, fleeces, animal outfits and more – to get into the spirit. To honor the funk roots of Bear Creek, Saturday night’s theme FUNK SOLDIERS GONE WILD brings back the disco era with leisure suits, bell-bottoms, and all the disco funk you can gather.