Bear Creek is widely known as a truly unique and special festival community. There is a reason people tend to go back year after year, and we found this to be highly justified. First and foremost, it is a festival made for (and by) true music lovers as well as musicians. Being one of the first festivals ever to have incorporated the “Artists-At-Large” surprise sit-ins, Bear Creek’s spontaneous collaborations throughout the weekend placed some of the most legendary funk acts in the game on stage with one another, putting this festival in the upper echelon of funk festivals.


The superstars of this weekend who really stood out were Khris Royal, Eric Benny Bloom and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. It is just a wonder how they do it all. Jumping on stage with everyone from Break Science to Umphrey’s McGee to Dumpstaphunk, just to name a few, their presence boomed all over Suwanee Park. 

Special shoutout to Taz, the smallest big thing to happen to funk music recently. It was a pleasure to see the little dude crush it with some of the biggest names in music. At the age of 11, he has already established his own sound and confident stage presence that most can only strive to achieve. His repertoire with the more established artists both on and off stage places him in a category far beyond his years, without losing an ounce of that childlike innocence of simply following his passion and doing what he loves. It’s enough to restore your faith in humanity – or at least the music industry.

*Catch Taz sitting in with Dumpstaphunk, along with Eric Krasno and Todd Stoops, at Dumpstaphunk’s ‘Phunksgiving Eve’ Wednesday 11/26!*



Turkuaz always comes ready to bring the funk in full force. The 10-piece squad fired up the crowd with many songs off their new album, closing with a powerful “Shape I’m In” ft. Roosevelt Collier. The Brooklyn locals are one of the hardest working bands we know, and we love watching them blow up. 

Alecia Chakour always wows crowds, dominating the stage with her powerful pipes and fierce demeanor. We were simultaneously blown away and charmed by her family band, which consisted of her, father Mitch Chakour (former music director for Joe Cocker), fiancé Cochemea Gastelum (Dap-Kings, Antibalas), brother Alex Chakour, members of the Budos Band and the Pittsburgh Orchestra.

One epic sit-in extravaganza of the weekend was Break Science, who brought out the legendary Talib Kweli, Khris Royal, Benny Bloom and Niko Is. While Adam Deitch and Borham Lee laid down that funky, smooth yet booty-dropping beat that Break Science is known for, Talib spit fire, joined by his boy Niko Is, whose freestyling skills are on point. Bloom and Royal’s horn section really added an extra level of full-blown funk to the performance, making for one of the most raging sets of the weekend.

Attendees at Soulive were fortunate to witness a similar cast of characters. Eric Krasno, Neal Evans and Alan Evans took us on a jazz-fueled journey through classic tracks including “Aladdin,” before being joined by Talib in the middle of an upbeat rendition of “Eleanor Rigby” that had everyone going wild. Kraz was particularly on fire throughout this set, though all members certainly had their time to shine and exhibited fantastic seasoned musicianship (including Deitch, who joined on on drums). Taz joined the party for “Manic Depression” towards the end, crushing the solos like a seasoned vet.



Chris Robinson’s Soulive Revue was particularly the thing that makes Bear Creek so special. An all-star lineup had the ever so talented Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes/Chris Robinson Brotherhood) sharing a stage with Soulive and the Shady Horns while welcoming on legendary guests George Porter Jr., Oteil Burbridge, Pee-Wee Ellis, Alecia Chakour and Ivan Neville. The set tackled massive versions of classic covers of the Grateful Dead, Traffic, the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding and Joe Cocker, to name a few.

*Full Audio And Setlist From Chris Robinson’s Soulive Revue*

Umphrey’s McGee was on fire throughout the weekend, crushing Friday’s set with a sit-in from Oteil Burbridge on “Bridgeless,” but Saturday was really their day to shine. Between a killer setlist and plethora of very special guests, everyone was feeling the Umph Love. The Shady Horns and Taz lent a hand on “Booth Love,” which had everyone grooving hard. Then drummer Kris Myers came forward while the New Mastersound’s Simon Allen took his place as they delved into Huey Lewis’s “Power of Love,” their first time performing the classic. They jammed hard through an encore of “Day Nurse” featuring Nicholas Payton on trumpet into “Mulche’s Odyssey,” leaving fans begging for more.

*Check out our interview with Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee!*

Lettuce delivered one of the most powerful sets we have seen this tour. Perhaps it was Jesus’s incredible purple hat that had the band ready to bring it to a festival they’ve called home for the past several years. Opening with a new one, “The Big Anthem,” everyone was psyched to see where they would go with it. Joined by both Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour, there was an undeniable chemistry amongst the group and contagious energy emanating from the stage. They mosied through classics like “Yakatori,” “Lettsanity,” “Fly” and “Break Out,” an older fan favorite, threw in the new “Chief,” and closed out strong with “Do It Like You Do.”

*Catch Lettuce At Brooklyn Bowl 12/5 & 12/6!*

The Dumpstajam was a highly anticipated set, and Dumpstaphunk undoubtedly delivered on expectations. This superjam of epic proportions welcomed to the stage Nigel Hall, former drummer Nikki Glaspie, Taz, Skerik, Purdie, Khris Royal, Oteil, George Porter Jr., Nate Edgar and Jennifer Hartswick, just to name a few! The group tackled funky covers of Led Zeppelin classics like “Black Dog” and really exhibited their versatility of style.

*Catch Dumpstaphunk performing Led Zeppelin, Sly & The Family Stone and Other 70s Classics On Wednesday, 11/26 at B.B. King’s!*


St. Paul and the Broken Bones are just pure soul. Lead singer Paul Janeway delivers nothing but good vibes through his powerful yet soothing pipes. These guys know how to get the crowd going, throwing down covers from Sly and the Family Stone, Radiohead, David Bowie and more. It’s all feel-good vibes with these guys and they set the perfect tone for a Sunday daytime set. 

The Nth Power appeared on Sunday to deliver one of the most powerful sets of the weekend, transporting everyone through a rollercoaster of emotions. An Nth Power set makes you want to hug the stranger next to you and call your grandma. It is difficult to determine who the superstar of this band is when Nick Cassarino’s pipes could possibly cure world peace, Nikki Glaspie and Weedie Braimah hold down one of the strongest percussion sections out there and Nigel Hall kills it on both keys and vocals. This set was perfect for a Sunday afternoon and left everyone’s souls feeling deeply cleansed and renewed, like stepping out of the Gospel Tent at Jazz Fest.

*DISCLAIMER: It was extremely difficult to select our top musical highlights from a festival that was filled with talent of such epic proportions around every corner. Looking back on all of the incredible music we saw this past weekend we are simultaneously grateful and overwhelmed, and just wish we could cover it all!*