The second day (September 23) of Blackwater Music and Arts Festival 2011 begins at what time you see fit. If you want to sleep in and can manage in the heat then by all means, go ahead, however you don’t want to sleep too late and miss all of the music. Music officially began around noon on the second day.
One of the earlier sets at 1:15 was played by Spiritual Rez a group from Boston, MA (with the exception of Toft, lead singer, who hails from Orlando, FL). Even though it was already very hot and muggy that didn’t stop them from giving it their all and jumping and dancing around the stage while playing fantastically. With a reggae background they have made a sound that is all their own, transitioning into harder hitting metal-esqe breakdowns which are appropriately paired with hair flinging, guitar shredding and drum smashing. Getting the crowd primed for the day, they are one of those shows that should not be missed even if 1:00 in the afternoon is considered early among the festival crowd.
During the day some festival attendees choose to head to the beach at the river to cool off. Down at the river a stage was set up for Whetherman to play first and Nate Holley playing second. Having the addition of music at the beach was welcome by all and the beach goers clapped and thanked the bands for the music after their conclusion.
Later in the day (around 7 p.m.), Zoogma was an interesting show to watch as it seems every member is multi tasking and plays either multiple instruments or manages to be both a DJ and play an instrument simultaneously. They blend the precision of digital music with the soul and energy of live rock. Opening with “Zipper” they drew the crowd in to their own dance party laced with guitar rhythms. Night was beginning the fall setting the scene for the light show which adds to their allure and is in the perfect setting with the Spanish-moss draped tress intersecting the lights. Closing with “ M 10” one of their newer songs which samples hip hop songs for extra dimension, the show ended with both audience and band joining as one for an intense body thumping jump up and down dance, that to onlookers may have seemed planned due to the cohesiveness of band and audience.
After the conclusion of Zoogma, Easy Star All Stars took to the Meadow Stage. Keeping in tune with the Reggae vibe they played to a packed audience. For those who were unfamiliar with the band, they are easy to enjoy as many of their songs are interpretations of well know songs by artists such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd. The crowd got excited when they played “Dark Side of the Moon” and they kept everyone feeling positive vibes.
Ghostland Observatory took place next in the Amphitheater. The trees gave the perfect setting for the somewhat freaky music experience that was to take place. Having intensely powerful lasers (which had to be cleared with the Federal Aviation Authority in order to be used at the festival) and lots of smoke billowing from the stage, even for those who might not be the biggest fans of the band musically, the stage show makes for something that you just have to experience. To prove that point exactly front row and center was a woman well over sixty who stayed planted for the whole show, bobbing her head. The singer, Aaron Behrens, has a unique high pitched voice and with the eighties feel to their music, he and Thomas Turner (who donned a Texas flag as a cape) have become quite popular and the Amphitheater was filled for their set.
Closing out the night was Girl Talk in the Meadow. Coming out in front of his DJ booth to speak to the crowd before beginning, and jumping on top of it to show the crowd he was ready to show them an amazing time, he then packed the stage with audience members. Whether a fan of his mash-ups or not, the dance party taking place onstage gave off undeniable energy and made enjoying the show unavoidable. Taking the crowd through a journey of nostalgic sing-alongs, he manages to pick songs that everyone knows and plays just enough of them to get you pumped before progressing to the next equally reminiscent speaker bumper.
Not to be outdone by Thursday night, there were late night sets to go on Friday night as well. Not just one but two bands played on the Campground stage which were also unscheduled. The two bands to be occupying the stage were Big Something and Three Legged Fox. Both bands could be heard jamming throughout most of the campgrounds. Keeping the pace for hours the music continued past 4 a.m. Although the music eventually stopped many of the campers kept partying late into the night and spontaneous howls and yells could be heard until the sun came up and beyond.
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