Lockn Festival had a rough start to its third year. Weather left the festival grounds unsafe for patrons, and the a difficult decision had to be made by the organizers. They did what they could to make it right, however, and they did a damn good job at it.
After canceling the first day of the festival, Billy & the Kids scheduled a show at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, of which we were lucky enough to catch. With Jason Hahn sitting in for the entire show, and Eric Krasno and John Popper also sitting in for lengthy portions, it was quite the show for 750 patrons who thought there would be no music on Thursday night.
The other big show of the night was the Doobie Incident, the collaboration between the Doobie Brothers and the String Cheese Incident. With the Doobie Brothers playing a show in North Carolina on Friday night, it didn’t seem like rescheduling would be possible, but Lockn slated the Doobie Incident for 1pm on Friday afternoon, the first set of the day.
When was the last time String Cheese Incident played at 1pm? Or the Doobie Brothers for that matter? The investigation is ongoing for that information, but I’ll tell you this: it was damn awesome to see those two bands collaborate for an early afternoon set. The ‘wake-n-bake with a Doobie’ Incident was yet-another special show from the SCI boys and another notch on Lockn’s belt. With a set that was highlighted with a “Long Train Runnin'” > “Texas” > “Long Train Runnin’,” Lockn came out with guns blazing, and never really slowed down until the festival concluded on Sunday night.
The best part about Lockn is the lineup and the stage set-up. It isn’t a choose-your-own-adventure festival, like most are these days, and is very much an event that gets its patrons on the same page for its duration. You head down to the stages early, post up with your crew, and get ready for a marathon of jammin’-good music. Friday was highlighted by a surprisingly tight Jefferson Airplane 50 year celebration and the Joe Cocker tribute, which was absolutely beautiful in every way. The latter showcased everything from Leon Russell taking on Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country” to Traffic’s Dave Mason singing “Feelin’ Alright.” Many may say that it was the best set of the festival.
Saturday boasted collaborations between Widespread Panic and Jimmy Cliff, Bob Weir and Billy & the Kids, and Santana with Phil & Friends. Highlights included Panic and Cliff doing “I Can See Clearly Now” and “Guns of Brixton,” Bob & Billy inviting Mickey Hart for “Not Fade Away,” and hearing Santana’s signature guitar shredding on cuts like “Fire on the Mountain,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and “Hard to Handle.”
There are few festivals that boast the talent that Lockn does, and even with a hiccup at the beginning, the festival’s third year was a raging success. The staff worked extra hard to prepare the grounds for tens of thousands of us to come and enjoy jam, soul, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll. Between the unique collaborations and talented, established veterans, Lockn 2015 was one for the ages.