Nestled in the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountain lies FloydFest. Rather than paying homage to Pink Floyd, the annual music festival—now going on two decades of gatherings—instead honors its hometown of Floyd, VA. From far and wide, travelers throughout the country ascend the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to imbibe the natural elements that can only be found on top of a mountain.
For the second day of FloydFest’s marathon five-night run, still-energized attendees had a long day’s lineup to look forward to with a highly anticipated two-hour slot from Goose set to begin at 11 p.m. There was plenty to do until then, however, as Travers Brothership issued a warm Asheville welcome to those who continuously poured into the festival grounds at 3:30 p.m. Spirits were nearly as high as the sun that day, as minimal cloud coverage and low humidity made for an idyllic outdoor concert experience.
Travers Brothership showed off the band’s versatility with an afternoon set filled with uppity daytime funk that was still nonetheless infused with the band’s inherent late-night acid-blues energy. Complete with a blues-funk arrangement of Bob Dylan‘s “(Don’t Think Twice) It’s Alright” and a searing rendition of Jimi Hendrix‘s “Machine Gun”, FloydFest day two was officially underway.
Beyond music, Friday at FloydFest offered fans a unique opportunity with a panel discussion featuring former Talking Heads members Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew with Turkuaz‘s Dave Brandwein. Though the schedule officially showed the topic as “The Culture Of Rock”, moderator Garrett Woodward of Rolling Stone had no aversion to allowing Belew and Harrison plenty of time to reminisce on the recording of Remain In Light—which the two would perform with Turkuaz later that night.
The daytime lineup offered much in the way of education, as Middle Eastern sci-fi prog-rockers Consider the Source held their own masterclass. The group’s deep dive into their unique musical identity would be followed later in the evening by a hybrid set that bridged acoustic and electric elements.
As the sun began to crest above the Blue Ridge Mountains, FloydFest welcomed Virginia’s native son Keller Williams for a Keller & The Keels set featuring flatpicker Larry Keel and his wife Jenny on bass. The daytime set in the waning sunlight was the ideal environment for Keller’s joyful sounds as he and the Keels explored a set of indigenous mountain music, alongside some oddball covers including Weezer‘s “Island In The Sun”.
Another brief hour-long respite into the evening hours led to the biggest scheduling conflict of the evening as jamgrass forefathers Leftover Salmon took the stage at the same time as the hybrid Consider the Source set. Festival attendees can make whatever plans they want ahead of time in an attempt to bring order to a chaotic 12-hour stretch of music, but when the time comes to step onto the festival site, we are—one and all—subject to the vibes and on this day, the vibes called for a hybrid Consider the Source set.
Though it was billed as a hybrid set, Consider the Source wasted little time moving from traditional acoustic instruments to an electric environment as they, too, were subject to the vibrations emanating from the crowd. From under the sanctuary of the Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. Throwdown tent, attendees pounded the grass into dust as the progressive rock of Consider the Source encouraged a whole different type of foot-stomping compared to the hooting and hollering of Leftover Salmon just 100 yards away.
The highly-anticipated collaborative set from Turkuaz with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew on Talking Heads’ 1980 jewel Remain In Light came next. No matter if you were at Consider the Source or Leftover Salmon beforehand, we were all awash in the great equalizer that was the mammoth dance party of Turkuaz paying tribute to the new wave pioneers with the new wave pioneers.
Once again, the best-laid plans came to naught as the infectious rhythms of Turkuaz were enough to cause temporary amnesia so potent one could forget the funk throwdown that had begun when Butcher Brown took the Throwdown tent. It wasn’t until Goose was 15 minutes from taking the Hill Holler stage that this writer remembered to actually go see for himself the set he had been telling everyone he met all day to go check out. Though the brief snippet I caught wasn’t nearly enough to fully satiate my undying hunger for the funk, it was enough to hold me over until we meet again.
The main event finally arrived as Goose took the stage before the slanted audience that cascaded down the Hill Holler stage. Opening up with an 18-minute slow version of “All I Need”, the band showed full well that it knew it had us for 120 solid minutes and Goose had no intention to rush anything. With that said, this headlining performance took on the more classically aggressive format of hard-hitting type I jams that propelled the band to the FloydFest stage in the first place.
Lengthy improvisation came through in full force on Friday night/Saturday morning as guitarist Rick Mitarotonda led a leisurely stroll through the Grateful Dead‘s “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo” followed by an equally relaxed “Slow Ready”. Another 18-minute jam came with “The Empress Of Organos” only to be followed by a “Mahuvan” and “This Old Sea” of equal length. The band and crowd finally earned a much-deserved break when Jon “Coach” Lombardi came out with cupcakes for bassist Trevor Weeks on the occasion of his 32nd birthday. The party kept on rolling as “Jive I” gave way to “Jive Lee” to bring the single set performance to a close.
One of the many advantages of FloydFest’s location is the lack of neighbors, leaving a bit of leeway for a headliner to offer up an encore for some icing on the cupcake. Goose took full advantage of this courtesy by serving up an “Arcadia” to close out the headlining performance.
Full show audio of Goose’s headlining set from FloydFest on Friday is available thanks to taper Moricle. Scroll down to check out a pair of photo galleries from Thursday and Friday at FloydFest courtesy of photographer Daniel Ojeda.
Goose – “This Old Sea” – Floyd, VA – 7/23/21
Goose – FloydFest – Floyd, VA – 7/23/21