Charlottesville’s LOCKN’ Music Festival brings fans together for shows from The Avett Brothers, Phil Lesh, Margo Price, Jim James and more

If you’ve been following music for a while now you know first hand just how tied up music culture and current political events can become. This years LOCKN’ Music Festival had enormous political pressure place upon it due to the fact that the festival grounds are just 45 minutes from Charlottesville, Virginia, and that an enormous majority of attendees are at least somewhat local.

With such specific pressure it would be understandable for a festival as young as LOCKN, just 6 years, to focus on a safe and fun festival, but what LOCKN’ did this year was prove themselves to be not only a great summer music festival, but to be a festival rooted in it’s community so strongly that is was able to deliver empathy far beyond its years.

The festival began on a Thursday, which chugged along much like any other Thursday at a music festival. Grounds were open a few hours before the stage was set to start, so every monitor played a documentary on The Grateful Dead and Gerry Garcia, a perfect way to set the tone for a festival grounded in Deadhead-culture.

Brandi Carlile

To really establish the weekend as a Charlottesville first festival the night began with an opening ceremony, a little different than most festivals. The founders came out on stage and lead the crowd in a minute of silence for Charlottesville with some local performers bringing home the theme before turning the stage over to acts like Kendall Street Company and The String Cheese Incident.

If there can only be one takeaway from LOCKN’, it’s that the daily line-up is set up in such a way that the mood of the crowd has to be positive the entire time. Each day began with wonderful mid-morning afternoon music that eased its crowd into every night partying with Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and whoever else was gracing the stage at LOCKN.

Friday brought two really stand out performances. The first was a crowd favorite, Jim James, who performed an afternoon solo set. Last year at LOCKN’, Jim James graced the stage as well with his band, My Morning Jacket, but this year it was just Jim James and his acoustic guitar. It didn’t matter where you were standing for this set, there was someone nearby being moved to tears.

Stand-out act number two was Seattle sweetheart, Brandi Carlile. The thing that you come to understand about Jam-Bands and Jam-Band Festivals is that there isn’t a lot of crowd engagement. The act gets on the stage, plays music in a way that makes even the most senior of musician question their talent, and the crowd simply moves itself. But with Brandi, things were a little different. Brandi Carlile was truly the first act of the weekend to take to the stage, and really and truly own it. Her command of a 6PM crowd was simply stunning, and her beautiful music didn’t falter.

Pigeons Playing Ping-Pong, The John Butler Trio, and John Fogerty were standouts for Saturday. All three of these sets delivered an incredible high-energy and captivating performance, much like every act Saturday, but there was just something about these performers that lead the audience to talk about them all day long.

As the festival drew to a close on Sunday the attendees were nowhere near ready to go back to their lives. Every hula-hooping girl was still dancing all day long, every lawn-chair couple was still posted up with a beer in hand, and every other attendee scrambled to sample all the scrumptious food options provided to them.

The John Butler Trio

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Main stage Sunday was the day of high energy performers. The revivalists had the audience captivated with the leading man heading into the crowd more than anyone else had or would. Margo Price earned her spot as the talented country babe of weekend showing that while the lineup may have lacked woman, those who where there were some of the most talented musicians. And the closing act for this years LOCKN’, The Avett Brothers, brought the Festival back down to live music basics with a theatrical performance that still managed to feel intimate in the enormity of the grounds.

All in all what can be concluded about LOCKN’, is that if you’re a traditional festival fan, this is a festival that will wow you. LOCKN’ brings music festival back down to the Deadhead days, its all about being a apart of the environment you’re living in, taking care of your neighbor, and dancing all night long. The tense sense of heavy security at most modern day music festivals just isn’t there, LOCKN’ just tells you that everything is going to be okay. And maybe it won’t all be okay, but for the four days at Infinity Downs Farms and LOCKN’ Music Festival, it will be.

Blackberry Smoke

Widespread Panic

Umphrey’s McGee

Umphrey’s McGee

The Terrapin Family Band

The Revivalists

the Avett Brothers

the Avett Brothers

Phil.Moe

Phil.Moe

Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band

Moonalice

Moonalice

Margo Price

John Fogerty

John Butler Trio

Jim James

Greensky Bluegrass

Govt Mule

Govt Mule

Kathryn DeFrank
Kathryn DeFrank is a traveling filmmaker and photographer based in Richmond Virginia who focuses in coverage of music culture and its influence and importance on the East Coast. Find her work at kathryndefrank.com.

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Charlottesville’s LOCKN’ Music Festival brings fans together for shows from The Avett Brothers, Phil Lesh, Margo Price, Jim James and more

If you’ve been following music for a while now you know first hand just how tied up music culture and current political events can become. This years LOCKN’ Music Festival had enormous political pressure place upon it due to the fact that the festival grounds are just 45 minutes from Charlottesville, Virginia, and that an enormous majority of attendees are at least somewhat local.

With such specific pressure it would be understandable for a festival as young as LOCKN, just 6 years, to focus on a safe and fun festival, but what LOCKN’ did this year was prove themselves to be not only a great summer music festival, but to be a festival rooted in it’s community so strongly that is was able to deliver empathy far beyond its years.

The festival began on a Thursday, which chugged along much like any other Thursday at a music festival. Grounds were open a few hours before the stage was set to start, so every monitor played a documentary on The Grateful Dead and Gerry Garcia, a perfect way to set the tone for a festival grounded in Deadhead-culture.

Brandi Carlile

To really establish the weekend as a Charlottesville first festival the night began with an opening ceremony, a little different than most festivals. The founders came out on stage and lead the crowd in a minute of silence for Charlottesville with some local performers bringing home the theme before turning the stage over to acts like Kendall Street Company and The String Cheese Incident.

If there can only be one takeaway from LOCKN’, it’s that the daily line-up is set up in such a way that the mood of the crowd has to be positive the entire time. Each day began with wonderful mid-morning afternoon music that eased its crowd into every night partying with Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and whoever else was gracing the stage at LOCKN.

Friday brought two really stand out performances. The first was a crowd favorite, Jim James, who performed an afternoon solo set. Last year at LOCKN’, Jim James graced the stage as well with his band, My Morning Jacket, but this year it was just Jim James and his acoustic guitar. It didn’t matter where you were standing for this set, there was someone nearby being moved to tears.

Stand-out act number two was Seattle sweetheart, Brandi Carlile. The thing that you come to understand about Jam-Bands and Jam-Band Festivals is that there isn’t a lot of crowd engagement. The act gets on the stage, plays music in a way that makes even the most senior of musician question their talent, and the crowd simply moves itself. But with Brandi, things were a little different. Brandi Carlile was truly the first act of the weekend to take to the stage, and really and truly own it. Her command of a 6PM crowd was simply stunning, and her beautiful music didn’t falter.

Pigeons Playing Ping-Pong, The John Butler Trio, and John Fogerty were standouts for Saturday. All three of these sets delivered an incredible high-energy and captivating performance, much like every act Saturday, but there was just something about these performers that lead the audience to talk about them all day long.

As the festival drew to a close on Sunday the attendees were nowhere near ready to go back to their lives. Every hula-hooping girl was still dancing all day long, every lawn-chair couple was still posted up with a beer in hand, and every other attendee scrambled to sample all the scrumptious food options provided to them.

The John Butler Trio

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Main stage Sunday was the day of high energy performers. The revivalists had the audience captivated with the leading man heading into the crowd more than anyone else had or would. Margo Price earned her spot as the talented country babe of weekend showing that while the lineup may have lacked woman, those who where there were some of the most talented musicians. And the closing act for this years LOCKN’, The Avett Brothers, brought the Festival back down to live music basics with a theatrical performance that still managed to feel intimate in the enormity of the grounds.

All in all what can be concluded about LOCKN’, is that if you’re a traditional festival fan, this is a festival that will wow you. LOCKN’ brings music festival back down to the Deadhead days, its all about being a apart of the environment you’re living in, taking care of your neighbor, and dancing all night long. The tense sense of heavy security at most modern day music festivals just isn’t there, LOCKN’ just tells you that everything is going to be okay. And maybe it won’t all be okay, but for the four days at Infinity Downs Farms and LOCKN’ Music Festival, it will be.

Blackberry Smoke

Widespread Panic

Umphrey’s McGee

Umphrey’s McGee

The Terrapin Family Band

The Revivalists

the Avett Brothers

the Avett Brothers

Phil.Moe

Phil.Moe

Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band

Moonalice

Moonalice

Margo Price

John Fogerty

John Butler Trio

Jim James

Greensky Bluegrass

Govt Mule

Govt Mule

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