Equifunk V – The All-Inclusive Music Festival is not your typical summer festie. What started as an intimate gathering amongst friends for great music in gorgeous, precipitous confines, has blossomed into one hell of an event that grows every year. Held on the grounds of an overnight camp in the town of Equinunk, PA, in the Pocono mountains, Equifunk V is poised to be the breakout festival of the summer! The festival boasts a funk-fueled lineup including Galactic, Dumpstaphunk, Orgone, Turkuaz, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, The Pimps of Joytime, Bustle in Your Hedgerow; as well as the reunion show for SuckerPunch, (a seminal trance-fusion jamtronica side-project that features members of The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, and (now-defunct) The New Deal).
Equifunk V is The All-Inclusive Music Festival– as in one where you leave your wallet at home, because everything you could want or need is provided within the cost of admission. That means music, food, beer, beverages, activities/games, (and more music!); yes that’s right ALL are included in the ticket price. If you’d like to stay in the cozy confines of a camper’s bunk, there is a premier ticket for that; if you prefer the more-affordable camping ticket, you can sleep under the stars at the picturesque campgrounds. This festival caters to either end of the financial spectrum.
Equifunk is indeed a music festival, first and foremost, and upfulLIFE was lucky enough to catch up with some of the heavy hitters on this year’s docket to capture their vibe leading up to the big weekend. Every Equifunk, the lineup gets more and more stacked; the people behind the scenes have worked hard all year to incorporate many wonders of modern crunkalogic science!
For some, Equifunk is the best kept secret on the summer festival scene, a kindred spirit and virtual little brother to Bear Creek Music & Art Festival in Florida. For others, it recalls the Equifunk Express, memories of the pre & post Phish throwdowns that took place around 2011’s Bethel Woods summer tour stop. For ballers and those who prefer the finer things in life, Equifunk is their type of festival, one that caters to their needs and makes everything very easy. To a small collective, it represents lifetime friendships, memories of summer camp and color wars gone by. The soundtrack to the fun & games is laced with unrelenting funk grooves, hammered deep into the night, high up those Pocono mountains, stashed just out of reality’s reach, for a long weekend. Again, no matter the perspective, all of them lead to the Road to Equifunk V.
UpfulLIFE set out to check in with a few of the artists performing this year; read on to find out what they said about EQUIFUNK.
Rob Mercurio – Bass – GALACTIC
Galactic’s career resurgence and upward mobility are a testament to both the original crew and the newer members- aka “The Coreys” : trombonist Corey Henry and vocalist Corey Glover (of Living Colour). “We all feel like one big band now” says bassist Rob Mercurio- aka “Baby-Faced Bobby Mac”. “Corey Henry has done every show with us for the last three years, and Corey Glover has been with us for almost two.
Mercurio made no bones about it: Galactic is stoked for Equifunk! “We are honored to be headlining EQUIFUNK V. We still approach our festival sets the same way as a club gig, though you are playing to potentially new fans as well as the ‘old-die hard’ fan… Normally our time at a festival set is usually shorter than our club dates, so during a festival set we will probably have shorter solos and a quicker arch to the whole performance… but this is not so for EQUIFUNK; the promoters are long time friends and big-time Galactic supporters, so you better believe we’re going to be playing our asses off for him!”
Dreiwitz ( WEEN) & Metzger – BUSTLE IN YOUR HEDGEROW
Heavy hitters Bustle In Your Hedgrow are gunning for an Equifunk throwdown. Dave Dreiwitz (bass) and Scott Metzger (guitar) told us so. That duo teams up with THE DUO Marco Benevento (keyboards), Joe Russo (drums) in the Zeppelin themed quartet. Dreiwitz and Metzger told us about why we should be looking forward to their set:
Dreiwitz: “Having played Equifunk before, I think its the ideal setting for Bustle… its a beautiful outdoor meadow! The fact that we play together so rarely, and these players are amazing. Marco, Joe and Scott are great friends. This is also the ONLY Bustle in Your Hedgerow performance all summer, so for that alone, I am looking forward to Equifunk!”
Metzger chimed in: “We can play a long, loud show at Equifunk, so it is ideal for Bustle! Since there’s no soundchecks (at festivals), its gonna be much more on the fly kinda thing. We can just plow through it and not sweat the details.”
SERGIO A. RIOS of Los Angeles funk mafia ORGONE –
Sergio Alexandro Rios tells us how Orgone’s been touring & sweating heavily all summer long. The band has crushed Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Summercamp, FloydFest, Gaia, while tearing up club dates in between. “We’ve been all over this country & Canada this summer tour. We’ve gotten great crowds and fans coming to our shows, the people come to dance their pants off. We have a slew of brand new tunes in the set from our upcoming record New You which will hopefully see a fall release. Very excited about the new record & new songs-the band has evolved from so much touring & honed in some tight songs & arrangements.”
Orgone may be new to Equifunk, but rest assured they are not to funk fans and ragers from the City of Angels, nor anybody whose been to JazzFest, JamCruise, or Bear Creek. Orgone is on a collision course with Equifunk massive. “This will be our first time at an ‘all-inclusive’ festival like Equifunk, and I can tell you the whole band is very excited. Its lots of really great bands, and great friends playing. The past year, we have continually heard lots of great stuff about this festival. We are looking forward to the pool party(!) which we’ll be playing on Saturday, we are also on for a nighttime set. We can’t wait!”
Sergio, neither can we.
Dave Brandwein of Turkuaz:
The Brooklyn-based funk army known as Turkuaz “is like tossing a lit match into a dumpster full of fireworks” (bestnewbands.com). Dave Brandwein of Turkuaz has been down with EQUIFUNK for a long time. His band’s arch is parallel to that in the festival.
Turkuaz is like an Equifunk house-band in a lot of ways. “ Well so far we’ve actually played three Equifunk events and had a great time at all of them. We started with Equinunk Express in May 2011 which was such a blast for us. We’d never experienced anything quite like that before. And of course, returning for Equifunk in August 2011 was amazing as well. Lastly we played the Halloween party at Hiro Ballroom back in October 2011. I supposed this is what you mean by Turkuaz being the Equifunk house band? Haha! I don’t know if we can exactly say that, but we’ve had a great relationship with them and all the guys at Equifunk have been really supportive and great to us from the beginning. We’re very glad to be returning amongst probably their most impressive lineup yet!”
Dave also understands the emotional and communal vibe that’s present at this summer camp venue and the people who attend the events on the site. “I think Equifunk definitely holds a special and different place in people’s hearts than other festivals. It’s basically summer camp for three days! The fact that it’s all inclusive, people have cabins, eat meals together, go swimming.. It’s just insane!! I’ve gotta say it’s completely unlike any other festival, or really any other experience I’ve had. We’re thrilled to be back!”
Karl Denson, whose band KDTU was on the bill for the August 2011 Equifunk fest.
“Our whole band loved the vibe and the entire production at Equifunk. That place, that camp for kids that they have, is an awesome way to throw a festival. When we got there, we were treated great and the people were just joyful. It seemed very intimate and almost like a family reunion. They got a good thing goin on down there! Its a small festival, but it has this energy.”
By B. Getz of THE UPFUL LIFE & TIMES – Check them out!