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Monday, September 1

Festivals: Catskill Chill Preview #chillfam

I started this off intending to do a top reasons to go to Catskill Chill, but I couldn't find more then 3. Now some of you who are reading this are thinking "You always speak very highly of this festival, how are there only 3 reasons to go?" The answer to that is simple-within those 3 reasons are several sub reasons that complete the picture. The 3 that I have are Venue, Lineup, and Chillfam. For those who want the traditional list, I'll put my top 10 acts to see at the bottom. 
The venue is perfect for a festival setting. They claim it is a summer camp, but it seems designed for a small music festival. The 2 main stages are all shielded from the weather, with picturesque views of the lake and nature from the main stage. Club Chill is almost like being in a medium size club venue, and is the only fully indoor stage. The Acoustic Junction is right in the middle of the camping area, and the Red Bull DJ Truck is in a different camping area. If you aren't into the tent camping scene, you can rent a cabin with either a few or a bunch of friends as there are several sizes available. I must warn you that if you want a cabin you will have to book early, most likely before the lineup comes out. The camp itself is very scenic and you have all probably seen it without realizing as it is where Dirty Dancing was filmed. Another bonus is there is no cell phone service. This allows you to get full enjoyment and immersion into the music as opposed to staring at phones all day. You can also get from the far end of the camping area to the other end of camp in around 20 minutes if you walk with pace. Unlike the huge festivals where if you want to get a good spot for a band you need to camp out several sets before, it is very easy to get a choice spot here. The trick to get to the front of the main stage after a show ends at the B stage is to simply walk over when the set ends. This should put you within 10 feet of the rail most of the time. The lineup is insane when you consider they are working with a 5,000 guest festival. Every year you look at who they book and realize that there are plenty of larger festivals without near as much talent. 
Sister Sparrow 
There are a number of bands that are playing both original and tribute sets. Twiddle is playing a Grateful Deat set, Alan Evans' Playonbrother is playing a Cream set, Turkuaz is playing a Sly and the Family Stone set, and ShwiKus (ShwizZ +FiKus) is playing a P-Funk set. In addition to how talented these bands are with their own material, they will bring the party atmosphere with the cover sets. It is very hard to explain Chillfam if you haven't been, but once you attend Chill you will know and feel it all over. It is like a party with 5,000 close friends that doesn't end when the festival does. There are many a show during the year that you run into 1 person from Chill and realize that there are 20 other Chillfam members in the crowd and you are suddenly transformed into long lost friends. You can also find one of the directors acting as an Elvis impersonator at shows if you look hard enough. Bottom line is if you go to Catskill Chill once, you will be hooked and return every year. I started in 2011 for just a Saturday on the basis of Sister Sparrow and Umphreys and from that point I was hooked. I have returned each year since and this will be my 4th one.
 Top 10 acts to see (not including headliners or tribute sets) 
10. Break Science 
9. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong 
8. The Main Squeeze 
7. Kung Fu 
6. Turkuaz 
5. Consider the Source 
4. Tauk 
3. Dopapod 
2. The Nth Power 
1. Twiddle Up and com
ing bands you might not know that are not to be missed: 
1. The Hornitz 
2. Functional Flow 
3. Mun 
4. FiKus 
5. ShwizZ  

Words  & Photos: Mike Geller
©Grateful Music LLC