Borderland Music + Arts Festival returned to its home in East Aurora, NY this past weekend for a 2023 lineup of boundary-pushing music. The festival held at Knox Farm State Park some 20 miles from the U.S./Canada border presented a jam-heavy roster of artists topped by Goose, the classic Trey Anastasio Band lineup, and moe.
The festival kicked off on Friday, September 15th with an opening set by The Stove Pipes, with performances to follow all day long by Leroy Townes Band, Dirty Blanket, The 502s, and the Not Fade Away Band delivering a “Dead Zeppelin” tribute set honoring the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin.
Indie rock outfit Dawes showed off its developing jammy side to the improvisationally-minded crowd, welcoming Goose guitarist Rick Mitarotonda for a sit-in on “From A Window Seat”. During Goose’s headlining set, the band returned the favor by bringing out Dawes’ Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith on guitar and drums respectively for “Rosewood Heart”, with auxiliary percussionist Jeffrey Arevalo switching over to guitar.
Goose, Taylor Goldsmith, Griffin Goldsmith – “Rosewood Heart” [Pro-Shot] – 9/15/23
Borderland Festival returned on Saturday for a fully loaded lineup of music, including an early afternoon set from bluegrass supergroup Mighty Poplar, featuring members of Watchhouse, Leftover Salmon, Punch Brothers, and Billy Strings‘ touring outfit. Vintage pianoman Neal Francis got the midday crowd moving and grooving, with later sets by Buffalo natives Grosh and Organ Fairchild. The latter Buffalo-bred act had some help from rising New Jersey jammers Jeremy Kaplan and Brian Murray of Dogs In A Pile, who sat in for a take on the Grateful Dead‘s “Loose Lucy”.
Organ Fairchild, Jeremy Kaplan, Brian Murray – “Loose Lucy” (Grateful Dead) – 9/16/23
For the main event, Trey Anastasio reconvened his Classic TAB lineup featuring the Phish guitarist alongside drummer Russ Lawton, keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, and bassist Dezron Douglas (in place of original TAB bassist Tony Markellis, who passed away in 2021). The band dedicated its set, which included the increasingly common slow arrangement of “Llama”, to TAB’s late saxophonist James Casey who passed away last month at the age of 40 following a two-year battle with colon cancer.
Finally, Borderland Festival concluded on Sunday with one final day of music, kicking off with bombastic bassist Karina Rykman, currently touring behind her full-length debut Joyride. The day’s lineup also included the Krasno/Moore Project featuring guitarist Eric Krasno (Soulive) and Stanton Moore (Galactic). While the organ trio with Eric Finland grooved through a stable of covers found on its debut album Book of Queens, football fanatics were able to watch the Buffalo Bills‘ 38–10 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders with a Sunday Night Football tailgate and watch party on the Homespun side stage. All the while, The Infamous Stringdusters evened out the jams and the jazz with a bit of grass before hometown heroes moe. closed out the festival with a two-set performance.
Check out a gallery of images from Borderland Festival 2023 below courtesy of photographer Joanna Gleason.
Dawes, Rick Mitarotonda – “From A Window Seat” – 9/15/23
[Video: geo moses]
Goose – Borderland Music + Arts Festival – East Aurora, NY – 9/15/23 – Full Show
[Video: John Hicks]