This weekend I spent the majority of my time at a few of the fairs and festivals that make Lehigh Valley a great place to be. Friday night I went to the Allentown Fair, but the rest of the weekend was set aside for the festival I had been looking forward to for months, even before SteelStacks was complete - SteelJam Festival. I’m a huge fan of jam bands for several reasons; the relaxing groove of the music, the fact that you’ll hardly hear bands play the same set list twice, and the constant improvisation to the songs create a style unlike any other.
Some bands I was really looking forward to seeing were Keller Williams (check him out, this man is exceptionally talented), Umphrey’s McGee and The Big Dirty, who I had seen play at Bloomsburg a few times. Surprisingly, the crowd wasn’t the typical group you see at jam band festivals. Sure, there were plenty of dreadlocks accompanied by the unmistakable scent of patchouli oil, but there were also plenty of families along with older, conservative-looking people in the crowd. It was great to see such a diverse audience come out to jam at the festival.
The weather was just about perfect on Sunday. It was a little bit hot, but I found comfort in knowing I could always stroll inside the ArtsQuest Center and enjoy the air-conditioning between sets. The music was great and I loved the feel-good atmosphere, but the intimate setting and the fact that it wasn’t too crowded were my favorite parts. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year’s festival, because this is an event I plan to attend religiously.
Make sure you check out some of the upcoming events at SteelStacks, including Blast Furnace Blues Festival (Sept. 16-18) and another one of my soon-to-be favorites, Oktoberfest (Sept. 29 - Oct. 2 & Oct. 6-9).
Did you happen to make it out to the festival? What did you think of it?