News

AURA Music & Arts Festival Has Come To An End June 07, 2016 11:29

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Photo by Jason Koerner
Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
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We are extremely disappointed to report that after seven amazing years, AURA Music & Arts Festival has announced it's retirement.  For the past seven years, AURA has essentially kicked off each year's festival season.  Held annually in early March, the festival grew in numbers each year, prompting a move to Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in 2013.  Recent years have brought acts such as The Disco Biscuits, moe., Thievery Corporation, Snarky Puppy, The WerksPapadosio, Perpetual GrooveDopapod, Turkuaz, and so many more to the sacred grounds of Suwannee.  I have been lucky enough to cover this festival for the past two years, and I can't say enough about my experience.  
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It all starts with the venue, and you simply can't find a more pure, natural setting for a music and arts festival than Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.  The AURA team went above and beyond to make this festival bigger and better each year.  AURA was the first major music event that I ever covered, as AURA 2015 came about 6 months after Live & Listen was formed.  The lineup fit my musical taste perfectly each year, bringing together the best of the best that the jam scene has to offer, with notable attention paid to the best up-and-comers.  
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I can't say "thank you" enough to Daryl Wolff, Destiny Beck, and the entire AURA team for allowing  Live & Listen to help promote and cover this event for the past two years.  See below for the official statement from Daryl Wolff via AURA's official facebook page.  Thank you for the memories, AURA! 
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Photo by Jason Koerner
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Official statement from Daryl Wolff:
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Since the inaugural AURA in 2010, over 18,000 tickets were sold, over 175 musical acts performed, over 50 visual artists painted live and over 150 different staff members came together to make this all possible for YOU!

After long deliberations with our team, we’ve decided that the event has far surpassed our goals and that we’re going to close this chapter of our lives. Producing a show of this scale is no easy task for an independent promoter, yet we still managed to pull off consistent growth each and every year since inception…. Pretty amazing!

I’m extremely proud of the community we’ve built, the memories we’ve made and the vast history of art, music, friendships and families that we leave in our footprints.

We’ve still got PLENTY of archives to release from the last seven years, including a complete video recap of the entire history of AURA Music & Arts Festival (coming soon!), so keep your eyes on our social networks!

On behalf of Cameron, Matt, Destiny, Craig, CJ, Bianca and our entire staff, I thank you all for your dedicated support to our vision. There is no greater feeling than bringing people together and creating smiles rooted around the common language of music, art, love and equality.

With more love than can be put into words, THANK YOU!
-Daryl Wolff, Founder, AURA Music & Arts Festival.

“You may say i’m a dreamer, but i’m not the only one…. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one” - John Lennon

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Watch the official aftermovie from AURA 2015 here:
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The Road To AURA: Josh Schwartz of Turkuaz March 03, 2016 08:46

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The 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival is right around the corner, taking place at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida from Thursday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 5th.  As a part of our coverage of the festival, we are sitting down with a handful of this year's performers for a series of interviews called "The Road To AURA".  Next up is Josh Schwartz (bari sax, vocals) of Turkuaz.
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Turkuaz has quickly become one of the most innovative, exciting acts in the jam/festival scene, fusing together elements of funk, soul, R&B, and pop as a 9 piece band.  How and when did the idea for this band come to life?
 
Josh: Around 2008, Dave (Brandwein), the lead singer, and Taylor (Shell), the bass player, were finishing up at Berklee College of Music in Boston and had the idea to make a kind of disco funk studio album just for fun.  They got some other musician friends together and put together this album.  Unbeknownst to them, someone submitted the album to Berklee's student record label, Heavy Rotation Records, and the label loved it.  So they approached them about performing at this big showcase in front of 1000 people, and they were like, "Ok well I guess we have to put a band together."  There had already been a bunch of us who were jamming pretty regularly at a house that I was living at in Boston with a bunch of musicians.  So Dave and Taylor just kind of put together the musicians that we had already been playing with, and we formed the band, and our first show was in front of about 1000 people.  We really liked it, and the crowd seemed to really like it, so we decided to give it a go.  However, that being said, we only started touring pretty heavily about three years ago.  So we formed in 2008, but it's only been the last few years that we have really been touring nationally. 
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Has the lineup remained fairly consistent, or have you had many members come and go since 2008?
 
Josh: There are five of us who have been it in since the very beginning: Dave, Taylor, myself, Greg Sanderson, who plays tenor sax and the EWI, and Chris Brouwers on trumpet and keyboards.  And then Mikey (Michelangelo Carubba) on drums has been with us for a bunch of years.  The same goes for Craig Brodhead on guitar and keys.  Sammy Garrett (vocals/percussion) has been with us for a few years now, and Shira Elias (vocals), who is our newest member, has been with us for about a year and a half now. 
 
Watch Turkuaz perform "Tiptoe Through the Crypto" at Telefunken Studios":
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You mentioned that Greg plays both the tenor sax and the EWI.  Can you tell me a little more about that instrument?
 
Josh:  Yeah so EWI stands for electronic wind instrument.  It is a strange looking thing that kind of looks like an electronic clarinet...mixed with like a giant e-vape thing.  So once we started touring in support of Digitonium, Greg started bringing out this EWI device.  It's crazy.  He plays it like a saxophone, but he has it hooked up to a synthesizer, which he uses to modify the sounds and tones that come out.  It's wild, and it kind of sounds like a synthesizer and a saxophone.   He just goes to town and rips it up.  He can do all of these crazy sweeps and jump up and down octaves and do all of these things that wouldn't be possible with a traditional saxophone, because of the limitations and mechanics of it.  So people have been going crazy when he busts it out and seem to be really curious, asking "What the hell is that thing?"  I always get a kick out of explaining to people what it is.  I think you'll probably be seeing it at AURA.  
 
 
This past October, the band released its latest studio album, Digitonium.  How did the recording process differ on this album from your past studio efforts?
 
Josh:  Well with this one, we were so fortunate to be able to actually live in the space that we recorded.  So for about a month, we set up shop in Syracuse, New York at More Sound Studios.  The engineer was this guy Jocko (Jason Randall) who is such an amazing person and producer.  He's truly the king of vibes.  So we lived there, recorded there, and actually wrote a lot of the stuff there, for that month.  Whereas, for most of our past recordings, we did a lot of them at Dave's (Brandwein) studio in Brooklyn called Galaxy Smith, which is an awesome studio, but the nature of our schedules when we were home made it so that it was kind of a piece-by-piece recording process usually.  The horn section would come in for an hour this day.  The rhythm section would be in another day.  We all have our own crazy schedules at home, so it was never a full band living and working for an extended period of time in the studio. 
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So doing it this way for Digitonium was such an amazing experience.  It allowed us to really flesh out some ideas and add on to other people's ideas.  You know, like the horn section would be recording a part and Craig (Brodhead) would be listening and have an idea to improve our part.  A lot of things like that, with a lot of cross pollination between different sections of the band.  There was no rush, no sense of distraction.  We didn't have to leave for other jobs or gigs. We were there to make the best album we could, and I think it really shows with the finished product.  
 
 
 
Over the years, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park has become the home to many of the nation's most anticipated annual music festivals.  What is it that differentiates Suwannee from other festival sites and makes it so special?  Do you feel the atmosphere has a direct effect on this music?
 
Josh: First of all, I do have to say that Suwannee is my favorite setting for a festival that I have been to.  Something about that area in Northern Florida, with the Spanish moss trees, and the river and the lake.  Something about it is different.  Maybe it's just that I'm used to the Northeast festivals, which are beautiful, but it's just such a nice change of pace.  Especially those Spanish moss trees.  Something about them...the first time we went down there, I couldn't stop staring at them.  I felt that it lent a serenity and a positive vibe to the festival, which I think carried over to the festival goers.  I found that the crowd there tends to be more positive, and there are families at all festivals, but I'd say slightly more family-friendly, but without sacrificing any coolness, for lack of a better word.  People definitely party there, but they do it in a way that is conscious of others and of the surroundings.  I've been to so many festivals where people are just trashing the place or are just there for the partying, rather than the music.  I've found that the two times we have played at Suwannee (Bear Creek x 2) there is just a positive vibe that I think the beautiful, natural setting helps to instill in people.  
 
In terms of how it affects the music, when the artists are happy, they're going to play better.  And it's hard to not smile when you're surrounded by such beauty, so yeah I can definitely imagine that it produces some sets that are pretty special that you might not get in a different setting. 
 
 
This year marks the 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival.  You have been a part of this scene for long enough to see many festivals come and go.  What do you feel are some of the most important factors in establishing and growing a successful music festival?
 
Josh: Hmm...that's a good question.  Let's see...I think making sure that there is a solid infrastructure to make both the fans and the artists safe and comfortable.  That might be a boring answer, but it's something that I've found that a lot of unsuccessful festivals don't pay attention to details.  Like for one thing, planning for inclement weather and making sure that the bands' equipment isn't going to get rained on and destroyed.  Especially in the Northeast, it seems like there is rain at every festival.  I have not been to a single Northeast festival where it hasn't rained at some point, even when it's supposed to be all clear! Then making sure that the campsites are comfortable and safe, with adequate water and food vendors.  That gets some of your basic, boring stuff out of the way.  
 
I think that the artists that are booked obviously play a big part.  Having some variety is probably good, even though a lot of festivals are kind of geared towards a certain niche.  So if it's a DJ festival, maybe working in a few full bands to round it out.  I think it makes for a festival that is memorable, and that people will want to return to.  Let's go back to the setting...like with Suwannee.  That's just such a beautiful place.  Having a festival in a place that is memorable in itself, and that people want to walk around and explore in.  
 
I also think that incorporating art in an interactive way is really important.  More festivals are starting to do this.  A great example of this is Joshua Tree Music & Arts Festival at Joshua Tree National Park in California.  We played there last year, and there was just art everywhere.  The stages themselves were handmade, and there were statues and paintings everywhere.  It kind of felt like you were walking through an awesome Burning Man village.  It creates a sense of adventure, playfulness, and creativity.  I think it encourages more interaction with both the space and setting, but also with other people.  It gets the creative juices flowing for people.  
 
Watch Turkuaz's official music video for "Generator" here":
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Turkuaz is scheduled to play The Porch Stage from 10:45 to midnight on Friday night. How does this band go about determining the setlist for a major festival set vs. any other night on tour?
 
Josh:  So Dave (Brandwein) is the one who writes the setlists.  But as the person who has been typing up them up after he makes them for several years, I've talked to him a little bit about it.  It seems like he tries to anticipate what the vibe of the crowd is going to be.  For instance, if we're playing a new market, and it seems like the crowd is going to be a mix of older and younger people, that will be a much different setlist than if we were playing an all ages show in a college town.  So for a set like the one we have coming up at AURA, like you said, it's pretty prime time party time.  People are gonna have their rage faces on.  So we're gonna definitely make sure to play some of the heavier hitting tunes that we have.  I'm sure that you'll be hearing some of the songs from Digitonium, since a lot of those lend themselves to the upbeat, party vibe.  It's all kind of figuring out and getting in the mindset of the average person that's gonna be in the crowd, which can be different from venue to venue and festival to festival.  We are super excited for this set, and we'll definitely be bringing the heat with the setlist.  We have The New Deal playing before us and Thievery Corporation playing right after us, and I am honored to be in between those two bands.  Those are two bands that I respect very much.  
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This year's lineup features a notably diverse variety of the festival scene's most exciting groups.  What do you think this lineup says about the depth of this music scene in 2016? 
 
Josh:  Well, jamtronica and the EDM scene can and does coexist healthily alongside more of the funk and non-electronic type bands. Aura has bands like Thievery Corporation and The New Deal, who I think blend electronic and live instruments beautifully, along with bands like Tom Hamilton's American Babies and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, which are more jam bands.  I think it shows that there is becoming less of a separation between the "electronic world" and the "jam world."  I like to put both of those in "air quotes" because both of those terms are very fluid.  On Saturday night you have Snarky Puppy before The Disco Biscuits.  People at the festival can appreciate both.  A few years ago, I would have said that was impossible, but I think that it's showing the openness and growing maturity of the music scene.  People don't feel like the have to pigeon hole themselves into listening to and supporting one band or one genre of music.  If it's good, and it gets you moving, than it deserves to be played at a festival. 
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For all of the latest news on Turkuaz, head over to the band's official website and Facebook page.

The Road To AURA: Jeff Lloyd of The Heavy Pets March 02, 2016 12:43

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Photo by Nick Sonsini: Sonsini Media
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The 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival is right around the corner, taking place at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida from Thursday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 5th.  As a part of our coverage of the festival, we are sitting down with a handful of this year's performers for a series of interviews called "The Road To AURA".  Next up is Jeff Lloyd (guitar/vocals) of The Heavy Pets.
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Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
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Last year marked the 10th year anniversary for The Heavy Pets.  I recall from our last interview that that band played it's 1000th show at Hulaween in 2014.  There are also numerous side projects within the band.  How have you guys gone about planning the schedule for 2016?
 
Jeff:  Well we are kind of in transition right now.  We changed booking agencies around the middle of last year.  We kind of went independent, and we started booking on our own, but we knew that wasn't going to be a permanent solution.  That was just a temporary thing.  We started working with this new agency.  We had a plan going into it with them that I think has been really successfully implemented thus far, and I look forward to seeing where that ends up.  We knew that we wanted to get out on the road just as often as we normally do.  Maybe group it up a little more together, so we're not touring all year long, but doing a couple of extended tours and as many festival plays as you have seen us do in the past.  
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What we really tried to do differently moving into 2016 was to focus on these different tribute sets.  One that we had decided to do, which was The Beatles thing, and we're starting to see that getting attention all over the country.  That's been really fun to bring that out and show that to people.  But also the 80's tribute wasn't even conceived by us.  It was conceived by AURA, and it's something that they do every year.  They pick an artist to either cover another artist or do this kind of tribute thing that we're doing this year.  We're tributing an entire decade of music.  That was definitely a big part of the plan for 2016; to get out there and show the scene that we can do all of these different things.
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I've heard really great things about that Beatles' tribute.  When did you guys debut that set, and how much are you guys thinking about doing that moving forward?
 
Jeff:  I think it was toward the end of last year.  I think it was October, actually.  We did two shows right down here in South Florida.  We did it just one of those two nights.  It was so much fun to put together.  We had never done anything like it before.  Even in the last few years, we haven't played a whole lot of covers, period.  So to do an entire night of cover songs, and Beatles' songs no less, was really fun to put together.  Then we started realizing that there was no way in one that we could play all of The Beatles' songs that we would like to play.  
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There's definitely so much more that we could do with this.  So we booked it a few more times for different festivals, and we've been adding songs and changing up the setlist.  It's been a lot of fun, and now we have it booked for New Orleans Jazz Fest.  We're doing a late night thing there.  We're going to be doing this in Denver coming up next month.  Following that up, we're doing it up in the Northeast in cities like New York City, Philadelphia, and probably a few more.  We're also getting some looks from festivals to be doing it this Summer all over.  It's not something that we intend to do forever, but it is something that has been really fun to do right now.  We're certainly not even close to scratching the surface with the potential that it has.   
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Watch The Heavy Pets performing the Beatles Walrus Tribute Set at The Funky Biscuit here:
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The band has released several EP's in recent years, Stolen Smile  & Rags and Aces being the most recent in 2014.  Are there any plans for another studio recording this year?  How often do you guys try and add new originals into the rotation?
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Jeff:  Well that's a constant.  We're always trying to add new songs to the repertoire, and there is really no shortage with all of the songwriters in the band.  The one thing that we're getting better at is scheduling.  We've been scheduling and allotting our time a little bit better.  For years, we didn't really have much of a plan.  We just played and toured and played, practiced, and so on.  But now, we're a little bit better at scheduling here.  We know that we're gonna have some time in May.  We're looking at possibly getting back in the studio and throwing some new songs down in May, and we're definitely looking to stick with the format that we've been doing the last few times with the short EP thing.  I think that works really well with our schedule, and it allows us to put out stuff that is really fresh to us.  
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The Heavy Pets are obviously no strangers to AURA and Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.  I know Suwannee is extra special to you guys, being right in your backyard.   What is it that differentiates this venue from other major festival sites?   What are a few of your favorite Suwannee memories from over the years?
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Jeff:  Suwannee is just a magical place.  It's a permanent festival site.  So that right there means they have infrastructure, roads, and the way that the whole thing is set up is for throwing big musical events.  It makes it so great for the artists, and not only for us, but for the fans as well.  It's just such a great experience because of the way its set up, and then you add on top that the place is just so gorgeous.  It's just really full of natural beauty.  The main amphitheater itself is just such a sight with the big Florida oak trees and the Spanish moss hanging down.  There are hammocks everywhere, and it's just a beautiful, easy going place.  A perfect place to take in a weekend of music.
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I think that brings me to one of the first memories that comes to mind, which was playing Wannee on a Wednesday.  We've only done it once, and it was a couple of years ago.  We played that main amphitheater stage.  They refer to it The Mushroom Stage during Wannee.  Just seeing thousands and thousands of people out there was pretty special.  And of course, as you mentioned earlier, we played our 1000th show at Hulaween in 2014 on the big ole stage that they put in the field.  That was a huge experience for us, and the festival was great.  Everything was awesome about it.  They had champagne for us, and some nice things left in our dressing room.  I think left us a nice congratulatory card.  I forget exactly what it was but it was really nice.  You really couldn't plan your 1000th show any better than that.
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We obviously need to talk more about the big 80's tribute set from The Heavy Pets, scheduled for 5;15PM on Saturday night in the amphitheater.  You guys have called on Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman, as well as a few other guests for the special occasion.  How did the idea for this set come to life, and what can we expect on Saturday night?
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Jeff:  So the festival's founder, Daryl Wolff, has started a tradition for himself.  I believe it started with the Stevie Wonder set from a couple of years ago with Kung Fu and Nigel Hall.  He just had some sort of epiphany.  He came out on stage, and he gives his reasoning before the set.  He kind of emcee's the set, and he came out and said that he had a dream about that particular set.  So he made it happen.  He followed that up with a Hall & Oates tribute set that Stokeswood did, then last year The Main Squeeze did the Michael Jackson tribute.  Pretty much everyone we have seen do it thus far have called on a lot of the other musicians playing the festival.  We definitely have some big shoes to fill in terms of stepping up to the plate and knocking this one out of the park this year.  I think people are expecting to see something great, and we definitely intend to give it to them.
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Did you guys play any role in selecting the 80's theme?
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Jeff:  No...that's the thing.  We really didnt.  Daryl just hit us up about it.  He shot us a text saying, "I think I know what I want to do for the tribute set.  Why don't you guys do an 80's tribute?"  I will say that personally I wasn't jumping for joy initially.  It kind changed up the format, which I was fine with, but it had always been one band covering another band.  The 80's is just so open ended, and we started to realizing that there are so many directions that we can go here.  It just so happened that the day he texted us, we had a nice long drive ahead of us.  We had just landed at the Pittsburgh airport.  We picked up the rental car, turned on the radio, and what was playing was like "The 80's Show" on some local rock station.   So we just listened to like two and a half hours of 80's hits, and we got really excited about it.  During that drive, we were able to make of list of like 50 songs from the 80's that we had heard on the show, or that we were reminded of by other songs.  So now it has just been a process of whittling that down over the last few months, because there are really so many things that we wanted to do.  I think what we've decided on is really the best route.  But we'll see, you know?  I think people are gonna love it.
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This year's lineup features a notably diverse variety of the festival scene's most exciting groups. `What do you think this lineup says about the depth of this music scene in 2016? 
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Jeff:  I think AURA has always done a really great job of drawing bands from a pretty wide range, and that's important with a festival.  You don't want to draw from the same well with some of these bands, as far as style is concerned, as well as the demographic of who you want to get there.  So obviously the more diverse, the more fun the party is going to be.  I think AURA always knocks that out of the part.  Our set on Saturday is followed by Snarky Puppy and The Disco Biscuits, and we'll play around 20 songs that we have never played in front of anyone before.  But yeah, we're really looking forward to that opportunity.  We have quite a few surprise guests, as well, that are gonna be popping in.  So look out for that.  It's gonna be a blast!
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Watch The Heavy Pets perform "Bibbles" at AURA 2013 here:
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The Road To AURA: Zach Gill of ALO March 01, 2016 21:38

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The 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival is right around the corner, taking place at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida from Thursday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 5th.  As a part of our coverage of the festival, we are sitting down with a handful of this year's performers for a series of interviews called "The Road To AURA".  Next up is Zach Gill (keyboards, uke, vocals) of ALO.
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Interview by Taylor Pack: Live & Listen
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Tangle of Time is the first album release by ALO since 2012, with much of the time in between featuring you guys in separate bands.  You have toured with Jack Johnson.  Dan Lebowitz was playing shows with legendary Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh.  Steve Adams recorded and toured with Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, and Dave Brogan with Salt Lake City jam band, Mokie.  How did the time spent working with other musicians affect ALO’s approach on the new album and the final product?

Zach: I think that having an "open" musical relationship has really benefited ALO.    Bands become locked into their "thing" and this "thing" might be what makes the band great, but it can also lead to feelings of stagnation with in the band itself.  Once the individual roles within a band get established it can be hard to change them.  In all of the ALO "side"projects we get to explore new roles and develop new skills that otherwise may have always remained dormant in each of us.  Every band has different needs and I think musicians intuitively adapt and grow to meet these needs.  I think some of ALO's most beneficial musical growth over the last few years has been due to our involvements with other projects.   

For myself, playing in Jack Johnson's band gave me a chance to sing more back up harmonies and less lead vocals, which then allowed me to focus on my piano playing more than I typically would've in ALO.  It also forced me to get inside someone else's music besides my own, to learn how to support someone else's musical vision.  In terms of ALO, I think I've become a more supportive band mate.  It's become less about me singing lead and more about me backing up and supporting the other guys in ALO.  These were skills that I developed in Jack's band.  I see this same sort of thing happening to the rest of the guys in ALO.  Every time we get together to make new music, each guy brings with him all the wisdom and experience from his other endeavors, and it seems to reinvigorate ALO.  

Watch ALO's official music video for "Falling Dominoes" here:

Storytelling has always been a major factor of ALO’s lyrics and as the title suggests, time is a reoccurring theme throughout the new album. Tell us a little bit about the writing process for Tangle of Time, and why time is such a significant concept to explore at this point in ALO’s career. 

Zach: We've experimented with lots of varying songwriting and recording techniques over the years, but for Tangle of Time, we kept it pretty straightforward.   We each shared our demos of more or less finished songs that we were excited about.  Talked over email, about which ones seemed like they fit nicely into the ALO catalogue and then we met in the studio to record them.  At the time we had a very small window where everyone was available, about seven days total, so we decided to go right into the studio rather than working on the songs in a rehearsal room.  

We figured if the recordings weren't up to our standards we could always consider them demos, but things went really smoothly and after the seven days, we all felt really good about the music we'd made.  It wasn't till we started diving into recording the vocals, that we realized every song had some sort of relationship to time in it.  I suspect this had to do with the fact that three out of the four of us had just turned forty.  Time was certainly on the mind.  

ALO's catalog contains such an eclectic mix musical tastes, with a truly unique sound like no other.  Who do you look to as your biggest musical influences over the years? 

Zach: I don't think any of us could target any one thing as our biggest musical influence. There are too many to keep track of.  I do think that in a lot of ways our approach has stayed the same throughout the years.  We've never really consistently stuck with one style.  It's always been more about growing individually as musicians, learning new chords, riffs, styles, techniques.  Music as a means of personal growth.  Even back in junior high, when Dan and Steve and I first started playing together, it was the same thing: "Let's play a jazz standard, or "Let's learn a Van Halen song".  Nothing was off limits.  When we met Dave in college, and he had this same approach.  This could be an educational influence I guess, a result of piano lessons at a young age, high school jazz band and radio listening.  We all seemed to identify with the craft of music making rather than identifying with any one style.  

Going into Tangle of Time, you guys had so much material to record that only a small portion of the songs were able to make the album. Can fans expect to hear any of that extra material either as part of the live sets or do you guys plan on returning to the studio in 2016?

Zach: We have plans to release an EP on record store day in April, featuring two "bonus" studio tracks from Tangle Of Time, plus some live music from our last east coast tour.  And also plans to begin recording some new music in March.  As far as a new album, we shall see.  I know the material is there.  It's just a matter of working out the scheduling.  

Spirit of Suwannee Music Park is truly a magical site to hold a festival. You guys will be playing during sunset on the amphitheater stage nestled beneath beautiful ancient oak trees and Spanish moss. How big of a role can setting play in determining how and what ALO choses to play during a show?

Zach: For a band like ALO, setting is really important.  It can make or break the performance.  It's often the difference between the mundane and the magical.  We play to the space, the audience, and to each other.  Sunset nestled beneath ancient oaks and Spanish moss sounds like the makings of an epic night.

This year AURA will feature a notably diverse lineup of some of the festival scene’s most exciting groups. What do you think the lineup says about the depth of the music scene in 2016?

Zach: I think the diverse lineup points to the health of live music in America.  People love live music; all different kinds.  I like to think that the growth of music festival culture in general has opened up people to different styles of music, and that humans are learning how to appreciate all different types of music, not just what was given to them via radio when they were kids.

Watch ALO's official music video for "The Ticket" here: 
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The Road To AURA: Eric Gould of Pink Talking Fish March 01, 2016 01:26

The 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival is right around the corner, taking place at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida from Thursday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 5th.  As a part of our coverage of the festival, we are sitting down with a handful of this year's performers for a series of interviews called "The Road To AURA".  Next up is Eric Gould (bass) of Pink Talking Fish.

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Pink Talking Fish has quickly become one of the most innovative, exciting acts in the jam/festival scene, fusing together the catalogs of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish. How and when did the idea for this band come to life?

Eric:  I formed Pink Talking Fish in the Fall of 2013. I had played some cover heavy shows over the past couple years and wanted to create something unique in the tribute genre. I picked 3 of my favorite bands that I thought would blend well together and wrote down a mock setlist so see what it would look like. Once it presented itself on paper, it was clear that this had to happen!

What’s great about this project is that it blurs the lines of tribute and originality. We utilize the songbooks of these three amazing acts as puzzle pieces to create something fresh for fans of this music.

Each of these three bands' catalogs are extremely diverse, with countless options that could be included in a set on any given night. How does the band go about putting the setlist together each night? How often do you guys learn and incorporate new material into the rotation?

Eric:  We are constantly learning new material and thinking of new concepts. We, as both musicians and fans, have a passion for pushing the envelope. We are always searching for new combinations and exploring material that will enhance the band.

I write the initial setlist draft and present it to the guys. We finalize it together as we run through the flow of the transitions. Our drummer, Zack Burwick, loves to challenge me on the setlists and make sure that we are keeping a solid variety show to show.

Even though the song order mostly comes from my initial setlists, how we transition is very much a group effort. Our guitarist, Dave Brunyak, is fantastic at coming up with innovative transition ideas. I wrote a setlist with a combination of "Stash" > "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" > "Psycho Killer" > "Stash", and Dave came up with a sweet idea to dissolve "Stash" over the “maybe so maybe not” vocals at the beginning of the jam into the introduction to Shine. It was awesome!

Watch Pink Talking Fish's entire set from Catskill Chill 2014 here:

This band's ability to weave in and out of each song is astounding. Have you guys developed certain patterns/tendencies with certain songs following another? Is there a specific focus on keeping your audience on their toes, wondering what could possibly come next?

Eric:  “What comes next?” is one of the best parts of Pink Talking Fish. We love executing a setlist and watching the audience reaction to how it unfolds. We have some combinations that have become staples like "Slippery People" > "Sand > "Slippery People", "Another Brick In The Wall"> "Life During Wartime" > "Another Brick In The Wall" and "You Enjoy Myself" > "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" > "You Enjoy Myself". We also love to sandwich songs in a Mikes Groove or in between Dogs.

For the most part though, we do our best to create new ideas. It’s important to us to make sure that each show is a different journey. We are performing “dream setlists” for ourselves and hope that it is the same thing for the audience. The last thing we want to have PTF become is stagnant for anyone. It is our responsibility to both honor the material and also present it in a way that offers a special experience for the audience. We take that very seriously. 

Over the years, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park has become the home to many of the nation's most anticipated annual music festivals. What is it that differentiates Suwannee from other festival sites and makes it so special? Do you feel the atmosphere has a direct effect on this music?

Eric:  I’ve performed at Suwannee many times over the years, and it continues to be one of my favorite festival sites in the world. Obviously, the beauty of the trees, the weather, and the layout of the place is top notch. However, it’s the energy that gets me. There are certain places that have an incredible energy among the community, and Suwannee is high on that mountain. It enhances the music and it creates a sense of family through these incredible experiences.

Watch Pink Talking Fish perforrn "This Must Be The Place" > "Character Zero" here:

This year marks the 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival. You have been a part of this scene for long enough to see many festivals come and go. What do you feel are some of the most important factors in establishing and growing a successful music festival?

Eric:  Community is the most important and AURA has that locked. Festivals are, first and foremost, about the people. With that involved, there is an effortless drive to work hard to make the logistics behind the festival as special as possible. Daryl and the other people behind the curtain of AURA have done an incredible job making that happen.

This year's lineup features a notably diverse variety of the festival scene's most exciting groups. What do you think this lineup says about the depth of this music scene in 2016?

Eric:  The beauty of the jam scene is that there is an open mind towards other genres. In my opinion, the best festival lineups that cater to the jam scene audience have some jamband staples but also provide different flavors from different scenes to heighten the quality of experience. AURA has always done well with this.

I love that Thievery Corporation did a Grateful Dead late night in Chicago last year for GD50. I think it turned a lot of the jam scene on to them, and it’s awesome that AURA has them as a headliner. The first time I saw them live was a Coachella years back when I played there with Particle, and they blew me away.

There is a surge of amazing original music out there right now. Some of it is not in the textbook jam scene realm. At Catskill Chill last year, the best band I saw was The Ballroom Thieves, and they are the polar opposite of a classic jamband. I was very thankful that they were incorporated into that festival. I look forward to finding a surprise like that at AURA this year.

Photo by Josh Brick Graphics


The Road To AURA: Chris Houser of The Werks February 29, 2016 12:51

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

The 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival is right around the corner, taking place at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida from Thursday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 5th.  As a part of our coverage of the festival, we are sitting down with a handful of this year's performers for a series of interviews called "The Road To AURA".  Next up it Chris Houser (guitar/vocals) of The Werks.

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As we progress into 2016, The Werks enters it's 11th year as a touring band.  The lineup has evolved over the years, but it's clear that the band's foundations have remained the same.  What stands out the most to you when reflecting over the past decade?

Chris:  Looking back on the past decade, I would have to say what has stood out most, to me personally, has been the will to survive. It hasn't been easy to keep doing what we do for so long. The road wears on our minds, bodies, and souls, as well as our interpersonal relationships with other band mates. I feel we've done what we've had to do at certain times and made sure to keep relationships good between former band members as well as current, although it may have taken some time to achieve in certain circumstances. As far as the music goes, I feel like we have always had a certain goal for achieving new heights through music. I just feel like we have kept getting better at it and have a more positive message as we go along.

This tour is obviously a bit different four you guys, as bassist Dino Dimitrouleas has taken an understandable step back to spend time with his family.  In the meantime, Jake Goldberg has stepped up to fill Dino's spot.  What is the band's history with Jake, and how has the transition been on the initial run of shows on this tour?
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Chris:  We've been friends with Jake for a while now, and he's actually sat in for Dino on numerous occasions when Dino was unavailable in the past, which has made this transition much much easier. Jake started as a fan, became a friend, and now he's filling in during one of the hardest times in the bands history. Jake has added a new groove to the band during these last few weeks, and it's been fun having his outlook musically added to what we already do. While still holding true to Dino and Chuck's originally recorded licks, he has not hesitated to add his own flavors to the jams which is new and fun for us to use a jumping off points in jams.
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Listen to "Drop" from The Werks' most recent album, Inside a Dream, here:

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Over the years, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park has become the home to many of the nation's most anticipated annual music festivals.  What is it that differentiates Suwannee from other festival sites and makes it so special?  Do you feel the atmosphere has a direct effect on this music?
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Chris:  The vibe at Suwannee is unmatched, in my opinion, by any other site in the region. The Spanish moss hanging from the trees is what always gets me.  I don't know what it is about it, but it makes me feel like I've gone back in time (laughs). The grounds seem to promote a laid back simplistic vibe that encourages relaxation and care free bliss. That's how I feel when I'm on the amphitheater stage looking at the people and the trees; pure bliss and relaxation. It pours through the music and brings us to higher climaxes as we seem to have maybe just a little more confidence when surrounded by such feelings, sights, and faces.
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You guys are scheduled to headline the first night (Thursday 3/3) on the Amphitheater Stage.  How does this band go about determining the setlist for a major festival set vs. any other night on tour?
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Chris:  We usually go by the feeling we get when we arrive at a venue and go by what jumps out at us. Recently, we've been trying to make sure that we aren't playing the same songs we did in years prior. This year, with Jake, we planned ahead (which is very abnormal, haha). We hand picked this years set honoring suggestions from our tour manager (Kenny Holmes) and our lighting designer (Alex 'Herm' Schneider). This one's going to be really good.
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Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

This year marks the 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival.  You guys understand the amount of time and effort required to execute a festival of this magnitude as well as anyone, as The Werk Out proves.  What are some of the most important factors in establishing and growing a successful music festival?
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Chris:  I would have to say that two of the most important things would be first: knowing when to say "no" when planning the fest. "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well, you just might find, you get what you need".  There's a fine line between having what you need and losing your ass. Throwing a festival is scary in that sense, because if you over shoot it, you could be screwed. Number two is: knowing when to say "yes". This is the hardest one for me.  There are so many factors that go into throwing a fest: between staffing, equipment/production rental, the lineup, food, lodging, transportation, hospitality, vending, parking, etc.  It can make your head spin. We, and AURA as well, have been blessed by learning over the years and putting the right people in the right positions that are trusted and have our best interest in mind. We have become very good at deciding when it is time to say "yes", and when it is time to say "no".
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This year's lineup features a notably diverse variety of the festival scene's most exciting groups.  What do you think this lineup says about the depth of this music scene in 2016?
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Chris:  It's fantastic to see such a broad spectrum on this years lineup, from The Disco Biscuits to Holly Bowling, from ALO to our good friends Broccoli Samurai, from Snarky Puppy to Nunchuck, and Thievery to Mike Dillon.  Wow..that really just sunk in (laughs).  This is going to be off the hook man.  AURA is always a fest that The Werks looks forward to every time we are lucky enough to be said "yes" to.  AURA is wonderfully doing its part to make sure you get as broad a spectrum of today's best music on one bill. Our scene is so diverse right now, and it only helps out every other band and fan, because it opens all of our eyes to what's really out there and what you never knew you loved.
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Watch The Werks perform "Gameplan" at Catskill Chill 2015 here:
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Catch The Werks on tour in a city near you this Spring!
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The Road To AURA: Chris Bullock of Snarky Puppy February 26, 2016 09:42

Interview by Taylor Pack: Live & Listen

The 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival is right around the corner, taking place at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida from Thursday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 5th.  As a part of our coverage of the festival, we are sitting down with a handful of this year's performers for a series of interviews called "The Road To AURA."  Next up is Chris Bullock (tenor sax/flute/clarinet/bass clarinet) of Snarky Puppy.  Snarky Puppy is scheduled to play the Amphitheater Stage at AURA on Saturday night from 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM.

Snarky Puppy’s latest album, Sylva just earned Snarky Puppy its second Grammy in as many years, this time for best contemporary instrumental album. But the recent success is a result of over 10 years of hard work and dedication to the music.  How does the album reflect the experiences and influences that have shaped Snarky Puppy along the way?

Chris: The album, Sylva, was the largest production of an album we have made to date. It was definitely one of those moments that everything we had done before, the numerous albums and multitude of gigs, had shaped us and prepared us to make that record with the Metropole Orchestra. It’s a diverse collection of music and genre mash-ups which I feel is an honest representation of the sound we have developed over the years. It’s also of note to mention how amazing of an organization and ensemble the Metropole Orchestra is!

How did the experience of winning your second Grammy different from the first one?

Chris: As per the first time we were awarded the Grammy, we were pleasantly surprised. This recent Grammy win had us in a category with some of our musical heroes, Marcus Miller and Bill Frisell. It was an extreme honor for us to be in a category with these two individuals who have had a collective musical impact on so many members of the band. The first time we won was a bit of a blur due to some rigorous travel/touring. This time around everyone had actually slept the night before.

Watch Snarky Puppy perform "Binky" from the live DVD groundUP:
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Many years of rigorous touring led to the bands eventual breakthrough. It is rumored that at one point you guys were doing over 200 shows a year. Even your recent albums are recorded with live audiences. Are you guys just being really generous with your music or does performing in front of an audience have an effect on what happens on stage?

Chris: I would say that a “breakthrough” came because a combination of touring coupled with the power of the internet and friends sharing music with their friends and then repeating that cycle. Performing live in front of all varieties of audiences and different venues/spaces most definitely has an impact on the music we make. As a band, we improvise collectively within the compositions a lot during our performances. The energy that the audience gives is very easily felt on stage. We have a book’s worth of stories about bizarre, funny, and amazing moments of this interaction.

Snarky Puppy has almost 40 band members constantly fluctuating on and off its’ roster and your recent release Family Dinner Vol.2 has at least one featured artist on every track. Why is artist collaboration so important to what you guys are doing?

Chris: Everyone in the band writes their own music and participates in a plethora of different musical projects. Because of that, the band can often feel like a room of producers during the musical creative process. Working with a variety of artists from different genres and parts of the world challenges us to make authentic, honest music through the filter of Snarky Puppy. It’s a very rewarding experience for the band and helps up grow and push collectively and individually.

This year's lineup will feature a notably diverse lineup of some of the festival scene’s most exciting groups. What do you think the lineup says about the depth of the music scene in 2016?  

Chris: It’s an honest reflection of the the type of audience and listeners that are excited to support a variety of music that excites them.

With just one set, it has to count. How does the band go about deciding the set list for a major festival set and any teasers as to what the fans can expect on Saturday?

Chris: Regardless of the gig, whether it’s a festival or any other location, we always approach the music making process the same. A majority of the time the set is determined close to the performance time. We have a large catalog of original Snarky Puppy compositions that we draw upon depending on the vibe and setting. In December, we recorded a new Snarky Puppy studio album which will be released later this year. The title of that album is Culcha Vulcha. We will be playing a few of the 13 new compositions from that album.

Catch Snarky Puppy on the Amphitheater Stage at AURA on Saturday night from 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM.


The Road To AURA: Greg Ormont of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong February 25, 2016 10:22

 

Photo by Brady Cooling Photography

The 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival is right around the corner, taking place at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida from Thursday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 5th.  As a part of our coverage of the festival, we are sitting down with a handful of this year's performers for a series of interviews called "The Road To AURA."  First up is the always charismatic Greg Ormont (guitar/vocals) of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong.  

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has just finished up another highly successful year.  Your audience continues to grow, you're playing bigger venues, and the band is clearly in high demand on the festival circuit.  What has been this band's approach toward building this momentum, and how do you plan to continue on in 2016?

Greg: Well, you know, we continue to do the same things on our end, which is practicing every week when we can, while continuing to focus on having fun.  Our vibes seem to be resonating with more and more people and as we play larger venues.  But our "momentum" as you put it, is separate from what we experience daily.  We're just doing the same thing we've been doing since college, which is just getting together, working on creating a unique funky sound as a group, and trying to put a smile on everybody's face when we're playing live.  So we're just continuing to do what we love to do, and it seems to be moving nicely, in terms of us being able to play in bigger rooms,which just allows us make more people smile.


You've recently announced the release of the latest Pigeons' album, Pleasure, due out on Friday, April 1st. How does this album differ from Psychology, and what can your fans expect upon listening for the first time?

Greg:  Oh man... listening to Pleasure gives me a lot of... pleasure (chuckles). I'm so proud of this album.  I consider Pleasure to be our first "professional" studio recording in the truest sense of the word. We recorded at a phenomenal studio in Baltimore called Wright Way Studios and the experience was totally different than Psychology's recording process.  With Psychology, we recorded the album ourselves, albeit with some help from our sonically inclined friends, at an impressive home studio, but we didn't have any professional assistance from start to finish.  With Pleasure, we hired the owner of the studio to engineer the album, and his input and abilities eclipsed Psychology within seconds of the first recording session. Our fans can expect to hear our songs jump off the speakers with professional-grade sound quality. The album's overall flow rises and falls like the peaks and valleys of our live experience, and it's all mixed with precision.

Listen to Pigeons Playing Ping Pong's latest single "Live It Up":


The first single released from Pleasure, "Live It Up," is one which has been in rotation in the Pigeons catalog for a while now.  Have many of the remaining songs on this album been played live as well?

Greg:  At this point, all of them have been played at least once. We play so many shows that we don't really like holding back our material live, especially in this musical-ADD age.  So if we're working on a new song that we're liking, and we feel it's ready to play live, we play it.  That way, we can experience the live energy and see how the song actually plays with a live crowd. And typically, our songs will develop after a few performances. The thing is, you can get all the parts together in practice, but once you play it live, you find out what that song actually "is" and how it affects people.  Because, you know, music is communication, and when you create a song, it communicates one thing in practice, but when you expand that setting to an excited crowd in an exciting place, you end up with a different result. Just like delivering a speech to one person vs. 1,000, you're going to say things with different emphases based on your audience, setting and mood. Sometime we'll play a new song and it goes exactly as expected, and then other times, the jam section emits an emotion that is not what we planned for initially, just based off of the energy of a particular crowd. So we prefer to test our songs live and experience the feedback before laying it down for good in the studio. That way, we can embellish the parts that resonate with our fans. As a result, all of the songs off Pleasure have natural live energy injected into the studio versions.

Click here to pre-order your copy of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong's new abum, Pleasure.

Photo by Brady Cooling Photography

Over the years, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park has become the home to many of the nation's most anticipated annual music festivals.  What is it that differentiates Suwannee from other festival sites and makes it so special?  Do you feel the atmosphere has a direct effect on this music?

Greg:  Oh definitely...everyone talks about The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park the same.  The rumors are always true. Just like any major city that I've heard a lot of buzz about, such as Asheville, North Carolina, Burlington, Vermont, the entire state of Colorado...typically when hear great things about a place, you go there and feel the magic right away.  The same goes for Suwannee, for so many reasons, but primarily, it's like...imagine the perfect set up for a festival, with an awesome amphitheater stage where everyone can see the music amongst tropical trees, artists and fans are hanging together, there's swimming available, and it's warm....  And then, add like...I don't know...a sheet of Dr. Seuss' best acid in terms of aesthetics, with drooping Spanish moss hanging over picturesque ponds, with lit up swans floating in the water... Plus there's a mysterious and legendary black river with black water running through it...a common site for cliff jumpers... the intrigue never ends.

And then on top of all of that, you're in Florida in early March, so anyone who has travelled from outside of the Southeast like us is thrilled to be walking around in shorts and t-shirts in the middle of what should be snowy weather.

Plus, AURA does such a good job of booking up-and-coming bands, and they are the same bands we run into at different festivals and in clubs year round. All friends. So we're surrounded by amazing people who are also experiencing a happy break from the weather in a magical, almost nonsensical festival site. There's just too much beauty to explore. I still haven't experienced all of its amenities, and this will be my third time down there.

Watch Pigeons Playing Ping Pong perform "Julia" at AURA 2014 here:

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You guys are scheduled to play at 6:45-8PM on Saturday night at the Vibe Tent.  How does this band go about determining the setlist for a major festival set vs. any other night on tour?

Greg:  We love taking festivals from the daytime to the nighttime.  It is the best.  I mean, I love headlining and playing late night too, but it's really interesting to experience a sunset while you're playing.  You can literally see the crowd's mood change from daytime smiles to nighttime raging and you tailor your setlist to accentuate that experience.  That moment of nightfall is always great visually, but it's also a very unique musical experience that emits some serious natural energy.

And one thing that we focus on is putting on a different show every time.  We work hard to consistently brew up something special and new for our crowd, and continue to push ourselves to create new transitions, bust out new covers and teases and continue to keep it fresh. Plus, we have a ton of friends in the AURA family, so there's a good chance that we'll get some help from our musical friends. I wouldn't miss this one...


This year marks the 7th Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival.  You guys understand the amount of time and effort required to execute a successful weekend festival, as your 7th annual festival Domefest proves.  What are some of the most important factors in establishing and growing a successful music festival?

Greg: It's key to build a good team around you and delegate responsibility, because you simply can't run a festival by yourself.  Our guitarist Jeremy Schon and I can work every day for 6-12 months a year planning out every single detail of Domefest, but once the weekend is upon us, we couldn't pull it off without our team of go-getters. This year, we'll have around 40 staff and 60 volunteers, and no one can slack off for a second if we want to continue to put on the a smooth and epic event that people have grown to love. Fortunately, we're surrounded by an amazingly supportive community of people who give Domefest their all each year.

Click here to sign up to be a volunteer at Domefest 2016

Beyond that, we focus on fostering a fun and easy-going experience for our attendees and bands. Having toured the country for years, we know how important it is for bands to feel comfortable at festivals during the long summer. We model our festival after what we look for in hospitality as touring musicians, as well as festival attendees. Musicians and fans can enjoy some mountain air and new music side-by-side in a hassle-free environment, which our fans have grown to appreciate in the age of a million festivals. Domefest is a little more laid back and grassroots than most festivals these days. There isn't much separation between where the artists and fans camp and chill.  It's really free flowing, and I've felt similar vibes at AURA the past two years. Fans and bands seeing new music together. That's what it's all about.

Watch Pigeons Playing Ping Pong perform "F.U." at AURA 2014 here:

This year's lineup features a notably diverse variety of the festival scene's most exciting groups.  What do you think this lineup says about the depth of this music scene in 2016?

Greg:  AURA always books the best up-and-comers and top headliners in the jam scene. For years, I always noticed that their lineups were on the pulse and I wanted to be part of it. The lineup is always comprised of bands who are just down to have a good time, no prima donnas or anything like that.  Everyone just enjoys a winter vacation in Florida while getting their name out there.

I mean, from top to bottom, you have The Disco Biscuits, who have been having a good time since they started, and then every band who would be totally fine with having a career similar to The Disco Biscuits' in 10 years, with the exception of a few acts who are dominating their own paths, like multiple Grammy Award winning Snarky Puppy, the incredible songwriters of ALO, and then of course the globally successful Thievery Corporation. And I think AURA has hand-picked some of the best up-and-comers that will lead the future of the jam scene.  I'm talking about Turkuaz, The Main Squeeze, hopefully us, Aqueous...I think that every band on AURA's lineup deserves to be there and I can't wait to see them all lay it down in the swamp!

DomeFest will take place from May 19th - May 21st on Fort Royale Farm in Bedford, PA.  Tickets are currently $60, but prices will increase to $70 on Tuesday, March 1st.  This year's lineup features three nights of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, as well as sets from Big Something, Aqueous, Broccoli Samurai, Mister F, and many more.  Click here to purchase your tickets today!


AURA Music & Arts Festival Announces 2016 Phase 1 Lineup October 01, 2015 13:33

Early Bird Tickets on Sale Monday, October 5
Additional headliners and artist announcements coming soon!


AURA Music Group
and Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park have announced the phase one line-up for the seventh annual AURA Music & Arts Festival taking place March 3 - 5, 2016 at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak, Florida. Performing at AURA are live electronica pioneers The Disco Biscuits, Bay area feel-good rock band ALO, high-energy funk quintet The Main SqueezeThe Heavy Pets with a special tribute to the ‘80s featuring Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman, hybrid tribute fusion masters Pink Talking Fish, nine-piece power funk army TurkuazTom Hamilton’s American Babies, the southern psychedelia of Bright Light Social Hour and many others. Additional headliners and artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

AURA is more than just a music festival. It is a much-loved celebratory weekend of music, art and community attracting fans from around the country. The ever-expanding Yoga & Healing Arts Program will offer more than 20 classes and workshops throughout the week and fans can dance in the Silent Disco into the morning hours. The grounds are also home to one of the most beautiful natural amphitheaters in the US made only more awe-inspiring by AURA’s strong attention to sound and lighting production.

Set in the midst of 800 acres of Spanish moss-draped oak and cypress trees along the Suwannee River, the venue is a playground for endless activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, disc golf and biking. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, full-service restaurant, free showers, indoor bathrooms and water stations.

A very limited number of Early Bird tickets go on sale Monday, October 5 at 10am EST. Early Bird tickets are $129 for a 3-day GA Weekend Pass and $275 for VIP (all taxes, fees and camping included).

Stay tuned for additional artist announcements, workshops and activities! To join the wait list for cabins, glamping tents, golf cart rentals and upgraded campsites, please contact SOSMP at 386.364.1683.
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Early bird tickets go on sale Monday, October 5th at 10:00am at http://www.auramusicfestival.com!

In case you missed it, check out our two-part recap of the 2015 AURA Music & Arts Festival!

Looking Back on AURA 2015: Part 1

Looking Back on AURA 2015: Part 2

2015 AURA Music & Arts Festival Official Aftermovie