Jimmy Herring being a total wizard
There are few festivals that pack in the level of talent that Wanee Festival does. Even with the retirement of the Allman Brothers Band, who hosted the festival for the past 10 years, it is still chalk-full of legendary artists who are sure to perform unique sets all weekend long.
It’s impossible to decide which sets will be the best, but we have an idea of what will really get the crowd going. As we await the schedule’s release, here are the 5 most anticipated sets for Wanee Festival 2015.
The last time Leftover Salmon played the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, it was during the String Cheese Incidents inaugural Hulaween spectacular. Following a full night of rain, which forced the festival to cancel some late-night performances, Leftover Salmon got the Sunday crowd in great spirits by playing a set that felt as good as the crisp air and warm sunshine. We’ll be sure to catch them in all their glory, once again, in the Suwanee.
Wanee always brings a little wild card to join their roster of blues, rock, americana, and bluegrass. This year, all-star ’70s act Earth Wind & Fire is going to play that spot. With their epic mix of R&B, soul, funk, pop, jazz, disco, and more, Earth Wind & Fire is sure to get the dance party rocking at this year’s festival. Here’s to hoping for all the hits and then same, which I’m positive they will deliver on.
Yonder Mountain String Band
They might not have Jeff Austin anymore, but Yonder still puts on one hell of a bluegrass show. Brooklyn’s Jake Jolliff has done a really great job of filling an impossible void, and his Berklee education translates astonishingly to his classical style of mandolin. He can pick with the best of them, and he does.
Allie Kral, formerly of Cornmeal, has also done a phenomenal job of breathing new life into Yonder’s repertoire of songs. Her fiddle playing is a new sound for YMSB, and judging by the crowd’s reaction to her killer solos, everyone thinks it’s a great fit.
It wouldn’t be a merry Wanee without some Warren Haynes guitar shred. While we won’t have the pleasure of watching him shred alongside Derek Trucks and the rest of the Allmans, we will get to see him front Gov’t Mule, who have been recently crushing it on their Sco-Mule Tour.
We could never forget in 2013 when Warren brought Jimmy Herring, Dave Schools, and John Bell out to tackle Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer.” As one of our all-time favorite concert moments, we can’t wait to see some Mule / Panic collaboration go down at this year’s Wanee.
That last little anecdote brings us to our next artist: Widespread Panic! With two nights of headlining Panic shows, we can’t wait to see what these guys do. Their brand of jammin’ southern rock is the perfect fit for Wanee, and it seems as though they’ve been perfectly groomed for this position. They can’t replace the Allman Brothers, exactly, but they are definitely the next best thing.
Last time Widespread Panic played Wanee was 2013, where they executed some of the finest face-melting shred a man could ever pine for. They kicked things off on night one with “Ain’t Life Grand” > “Who Do You Belong To?” just to get the party going early. With some rain, they were slowed down slightly to ‘squeegee their third eye’ (as John Bell put it), but that didn’t stop them from performing a great cover of Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” before ending the night with a 14-minute “Chilly Water.”
Night two continued the domination with excellent versions of “Party At Your Mama’s House,” “Bust It Big,” “I’ve Been Working,” and “Fishwater.” As the festival headliners, let’s see if they can top 2013!