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  • Rich Kassirer

Issue 17: Caught in a Jam

I arrived at Ithaca College in 1979 with a boxful of Lynyrd Skynryd, Tom Petty and Pink Floyd albums.

Two years later, when my college roommate, Jeff, and I went our separate ways to follow our dreams, I left with a boxful of tapes recorded from his totally cool collection of jazz and rock albums, and a wider appreciation for all kinds of music.

Jeff and I have kept in touch over the years, our families have become almost relative-like. But we live far enough apart here in New England that get-togethers – let alone going to shows – are sadly few.

This summer we were determined to see a show together. The Newport Folk fest? The lineup wasn’t inspiring. He came up with the Gathering of the Vibes Festival in Bridgeport, Conn. Jeff is more into the jam scene than I am, even though I did my time as a Deadhead in the early ’80s. I was not quite convinced about traveling 3 1/2 hours for a day of jam bands. But when the plan became three days of music and camping, well, I was excited there was adventure (and a magazine story) to be had.

There were many emails back and forth planning meals and equipment to bring, all leading up to a great weekend that started with rain the first night and ending with two beautiful days on the Connecticut coast, enjoying sun, surf, great food and music.

In this issue, we offer some of the sights we saw. The jam-band community, like the Dead community that spawned it, is quite intact. In our three-day stay, we saw no fights, no problems with the police and a lot of people – both young and old, singles and couples with kids – enjoying themselves. The festival itself, its professionalism, the food, the care for the fans, was top notch.

And the music?

That’s another question, one we explore as well. For those who love jam bands, it was great. For those of us on the fence … well, we reveled in a weekend filled with good vibes.

Download the new issue HERE.

For pics from the festival, click HERE

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