Forever Young, Wild, and StrangeCreek

The 13th annual Strange Creek thrown by Wormtown Trading Co.,was one for the books.  The weekend was like a fruit filled parfait layered with wild and wonderful people, beautiful works of art, dusty roads, lots of sunshine and of course music to inspire the span of ages that attend StrangeCreek. Majority of people steadily streamed in all day Friday. EZ ups popped up, strangers became neighbors and people all became pieces of the StrangeCreek woods.

Friday included notable performances by Banooba and Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Sister Sparrow played down bluesy tunes such as “Boom Boom,” “Too Much Ain’t No Good” and a Doors cover of “Roadhouse Blues” with a sit in by Patchen Montgomery of Strangefolk.

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photo by Peter Partenio

The crescent moon had been visible in the sky all day long and as the sun went down during a familiar Shakedown set the magic was undeniable. The wonderful Zach Deputy cleaned up the Main Stage that Friday night with his one of a kind style of comedic RnB. Unfortunately, a flip flop of set times between Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and Primate Fiasco lead to a lot of people missing Pigeons set.

It feels like a blessing that year after year everyone gets to keep reuniting on the banks of the river at Camp Keewanee. Its refreshing that some of the proceeds of the festival go back to Keewanee. It is uplifting to see the amount that members of Massachusetts music community gives back to one another.

On Saturday at high noon, The Kind Buds gave a beautiful acoustic set performance at the main stage. It did not take long in the day for a mystery to surface. Who in the world is Cuty Phazed? This unknown act began to spark some questions among festival goers. It soon became clear that no one actually knew who Cuty Phazed was. But because it was Strangecreek naturally, Sheriff Zach Deputy was hot on our radars and after some good detective work it became apparent that Cuty Phazed was Zach Deputy with the letters rearranged. This mid day acoustic set at Vernville stage was better than the night before. His setlist included “Chicken Pot Pie,” “Bikers in Diapers” and a cover of “Gold Digger” by Ray Charles.

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A stroll over to the main stage after Cuty Phazed lead me to my first rendezvous with Vermont native band the Gang of Thieves. Michael Reit shred the lead melody of a Led Zeppelin son. They were generating a huge sound. It was hardcore to hear Violinist, Michael Reit shred the lead the melody of a Led Zeppelin song.  At 4:20 Max Creek played their first set of the day on the Vernville stage in honor of their 44 years playing together. The whole day set was a tribute too all songs that came out in 1971 such as “Playing in the Band,” “Brown Sugar” and “Riders on the Storm.” Then later a second set on main stage that when combined with the day set total six hours of music. Saturday night continued to be amazing with William Thompson Funk Experiment. They got everyone very comfortable and loose and grooving by intertwining the art of funk with the art of poetry. One of the best acts of the weekend.

Photo by Peter Partenio
Max Creek Photo by Peter Partenio

The 50 year anniversary of the beloved Grateful Dead has lead to more tribute shows than usual. The Dead set on Sunday featured a “Jack Straw,” the second of the weekend, a “Ripple” and a long and beautifully jammed out “Terrapin Station.”  Following The Dead Set was Consider the Source, a festival favorite, they packed the main stage at 6 p.m. with almost everyone at the festival.  Their setlist included “I’ll Fight for the Imp,” “Put another rock in that bag PT. 1, IV” and VI and You Go Squish Now. CTS is a hard act to follow. Smushed in between the end of Source and Ryan Montbleau a band called Llama Lasagne imposed a jovial spectacle on the river worm stage. The stage held over 12 people, it is no wonder they call themselves a party ensemble.

The sun set around us as the Ryan Montbleau and Friends set took flight. They treaded lightly into a cover of “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” to open. conveniently enough, the band slid into the tune “Dead Set” which was well played and the feeling of love became contagious as the setlist featured a bunch of songs about women and love such as “Honeymoon Eyes” and “Back in Love again”. If we weren’t already standing it would have been a standing ovation.

A successful music festival can be weighted by all the musicians who jammed so lovely that their music finds its way into your future repertoire. The bands that made a lasting impression this year include William Thompson Funk Experiment, Mother Ton, Jeremiah Hazed and Banooba. A special thank you needs to be given to everyone who went into making this StrangeCreek, the strangest and most magical to date. That includes the late working vendors, the FireWormz, the volunteers, year after year,the owners and staff, as well as, the musicians and of course the Massachusetts community.

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