Saturday, the main day of Mountain Jam 2016 had arrived. Attendees stepped out into a brand new day of the weekend. The warmth started to set in as the fog fully broke at about 9 a.m. It was easy to tell the day ahead of music and festivities would be glorious, sun-filled and containing an item that many people would be crossing off of their musical bucket lists after nightfall.
The day started off with an act in Healey Hall that has helped bridge the parent-child festival gap at Mountain Jam for multiple years. Ratboy Jr., comprised of Timmy Sutton (rhythm acoustic, electric guitar, vocals) and Matty Senzatimore (drums, keyboards, bells, vocals) provide families with a friendly place to bring their children first thing in the morning. As we all know, the children get up early and must be entertained. Described as “Ween-esque,” whose “intergalactic folk music is paired with curious subject matter like eating clouds, high five-ing shadows, big-headed Mexican wrestling hopefuls, space fuzz and guitar pickin’ chickens,” by Out With The Kids, Ratboy Jr. has become just as important of an act at Mountain Jam as most other supporting acts the core attendees arrive to see.
Once the children had their fill of silliness to hold them over until after nap time, the rest of the spectacular and diverse schedule of music, events and workshops started to unfold. Next up in Healey Hall was the Paul Green Rock Academy, a school in Saugerties, NY, that is driven to show kids a path to success onstage through interactive performance-based lessons, with the goal of creating genuine music through creativity and experience. While the kids were rocking out the Hall, Rochester-based Mikaela Davis was performing on the Valley Stage. Mikaela was a late addition to the bill when Gary Clark Jr. had to suddenly back out. Shortly after, Darlingside, a Cambridge, MA, indie-folk band, hit the Mountain Stage. NYS Music was fortunate enough to be nearby when Darlingside stopped by Radio Woodstock’s live broadcast area for a quick set and captured a clip on Instagram.
The Mountain and Valley Stages’ next acts were dynamite, to say the least. After Mikaela Davis played, Con Brio, Son Little, Lettuce and Houndmouth finished out the Saturday music on the Valley Stage. Alternating from those acts on the Mountain Stage were Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, the Record Company, a Warren Haynes solo set (another addition from the Gary Clark Jr. cancellation) and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Each of the last acts on the two concert field stages played to the audience as dusk turned to night.
While those bands played their sets, Healey Hall was home to a couple of workshops, one by Jay Blakesberg, in which he gave an abridged version of his book tour presentations he gives all over the country. Jay told NYS Music that he normally talks a lot longer about his books, but since he only had 45 minutes he chose to dedicate more time to a question-and-answer session and signing books for fans. There was also a documentary on Lettuce follow by an opportunity for participants’ questions, and then another documentary called A History of Cannabis in America. These events helped many attendees get more out of this mountain festival by allowing an in-depth view into portions of the music industry.
Once the sun was down, the face of the mountain filled to the point that a nine-year veteran attendee exclaimed that the crowd was the largest he’s ever seen on a Saturday night. He hypothesized that it could be attributed to large single-day ticket sales sparked by the 9:30 p.m. act, Beck. Unlike most acts at festivals, Beck came out late, but no one was upset once he hit the stage.
Beck opened up his set with “Devil’s Haircut” and naturally, the crowd erupted with cheers. Anyone who has seen one of his shows knows just how amazing the next hour and a half went. The set list of Beck’s performance was equally as eclectic as his history of songwriting and production. Aside from the opener, he played hits like “Loser,” “Que Onda Guero” and “E-Pro.” He also paid homage to the late artists Prince and David Bowie by covering “Raspberry Beret” in the latter half of his set and by playing part of “China Girl” during his band introductions in the middle of the encore, “Where It’s At.” Once Beck’s set was over, no one could stop talking about how electrifying he was. However, there wasn’t a soul who was worried about a lull in the fun, since the late-night acts to come were certain to keep people’s ears filled with topnotch music and help their feet continue to kick the dust around with a variety of impromptu dance moves.
The first act of the late night was Con Brio, playing their second set of the night, but this time in Healey Hall, which due to the last-minute schedule changes overlapped Beck’s set by a half hour. Next up was Thievery Corporation on the Mountain Stage. Lettuce finished off Saturday’s music in Healey Hall and played to a packed house, while the oh-so-common Mountain Jam rain finally made its first appearance of the weekend.
Slowly, but surely, people made their way back to their campsites to ensure everything was watertight in anticipation of any increased precipitation. The biggest hope on everyone’s mind was that the rain would move in and out while everyone was sleeping so Sunday’s big acts like Michael Franti, Brandi Carlisle and the Avett Brothers would be able to perform under clear skies. Little did they know the weather had different plans for Sunday.
Check out the photos below taken by our staff photographer, Steve Malinski, throughout Day Three of Mountain Jam.