April 24 – The Money Keeps Streaming In

Well I guess I became a minority five years ago today. A music minority that is, or some might say a “dinosaur”. Because unlike most people from that day on, I still get most of my music on hard discs of one type or another. But this day in 2018, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) declared that money generated by streaming service subscriptions outdid those from hard copy (ie CDs, LPs and tapes) for the first time.

It was a tidal change for the industry, but one everyone saw coming. Fewer and fewer people were dishing out for CDs, the vinyl resurgence was real but vastly over-played in the media and meanwhile, more and more people were paying to get Spotify, or less-popular services at their fingertips and on their phones. By last year, it was estimated that Spotify alone had 88 million paying users in the U.S. (about one in every three adults or teens) and almost 600 million worldwide.

The good news for the music biz is that the money is still rolling in, more than ever. The same IFPI said last year total recorded music revenue was at its highest level ever, over $26B worldwide, “driven by growth in the paid subscription streaming services”. That was up 9% from the previous year alone, and not surprisingly the U.S. was the largest market, accounting for over $10B, or about $30-something for each American. Someone’s making a lot of money, but one has to wonder how much is actually raining down on the actual musicians these days.

So streaming music is the king of sounds right now, but you might want to hold off on betting the farm on it being that way forever. This interesting graph from RIAA (Recording Industry of America) shows the twists and turns of music sales over the years. In 1973, LPs accounted for 71% of it, with 8-tracks most of the rest. A decade later, cassettes outsold LPS and CDs combined, but by 1990, CDs dominated. Ten years back, legal music downloads – remember them? – were the biggest source of income for the industry. Seems the only two constants are that people want to hear their music and that change is the only constant.


December 31 – Clark Was New Year’s To Many

Dick Clark gave us a hip alternative to the old Big Band sounds of Guy Lombardo to ring in the new year back in 1972 – his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Lombardo, a Canadian violinist and band-leader, had become something of an institution by then, seeing in the new year with his Royal Canadians big band, playing waltzes for elegantly-dressed people in New York’s classy Waldorf Astoria. In 1929 it was broadcast for the first time, on the relatively new medium of radio. The last time he did it, in 1976, shortly before his death, it was shown on CBS TV and a highly-rated program. However, Clark and some others realized that it didn’t necessarily speak to the younger crowd of the ’70s nor show the fun going on outside the hotel in Times Square, so the new “rockin’” tradition on TV began.

The first show, ringing in 1973, was hosted by Three Dog Night with help from Al Green and Helen Reddy but two years later the show was all Dick’s and he hosted it from New York City, something he kept doing until his stroke in 2004 (which December Regis Philbin filled in). The next year Dick was back, although with a speech impediment and joined by Ryan Seacrest. Clark had some cache with TV execs then; he’d taken American Bandstand from a local, low-budget Philadelphia show in the ’50s to a mainstream TV hit that ran for three decades, largely on ABC, and introduced U.S. audiences to acts like Blondie , Kiss, Village People ….and Donna Summer, who was his cohost (the only one the show had ) in 1978! It was a doubly special night for Donna, who was riding high on the charts at the time. A New Year’s Eve baby, Summer was turning 30 that day.

Clark passed away in 2012, only a couple of weeks before Donna Summer. Of course the TV show is still a popular tradition for many, and is still hosted by Seacrest but remembers Clark by still using his name in its title. Summer’s music lives on in our memories and on our speakers. Here at A Sound Day we hope you’re enjoying some happy traditions tonight and ring in a very happy and musical new year!

December 25 – Merry Christmas

I’d like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope each of you is having a fine day and will be able to be with those you love at some point today, eat well, have fun and are able to celebrate the day in whichever way you like to do. It’s also a good time to thank you for reading A Sound Day, and for your comments. It certainly makes me feel good to know that so many people seem to look at the daily columns and hopefully learn a little, be entertained a little or at very least, be reminded of some great music you might have forgotten about. Or perhaps discover new favorites. It also makes me feel great to call a number of you regulars friends and see that some of you have made friends with one another through here. It certainly makes it seem quite worthwhile to me.

And for Christmas, here’s a tiny gift to unwrap,  one more tune for the day…from my old stomping grounds in Ontario.

July 10 – Greenpeace Became White Knights To Music World

The ’80s weren’t quite the ’60s when it came to protest music, but nonetheless there were plenty of musicians who were concerned with the fate of the planet and advocates for the environment. So today we look at an awful event in history which resulted in a memorable benefit concert and album. The Rainbow Warrior ship was sunk, deliberately by the French government on this day in 1985.

The Rainbow Warrior was a 131-foot long ship that was the flagship of environmental organization Greenpeace. At the time it was docked in Auckland, New Zealand and it was planning a trip to the South Pacific to observe, and protest French nuclear tests. For nearly twenty years, France had had nuclear bombs and tested them fairly regular in the beautifully South Seas. This of course, couldn’t have been good for the environment nor the atmosphere…or the health of the small number of residents who lived on the islands. Stopping it, and whaling as well, were two of the main goals of Greenpeace.

This day 37 years back, the boat was rocked by two explosions and quickly sank in the harbor. Though ten crew members got off more or less safely, a Dutch photographer, Fernando Perreira died on the boat. New Zealand correctly termed it an act of terrorism, and their investigators soon found bombs had been placed on the ship by two French scuba divers who worked for that country’s secret service. They charged them with murder, among other things, while France tried to deny any involvement. First they claimed to know nothing at all, then they admitted the arrested men were their employees but were only supposed to be watching the boat to take notes. Eventually a British newspaper got access to French government papers – labeled “Operation Satanique” no less! – with that country’s President, Francois Mitterand authorizing the bombing.

The United Nations were brought in to mediate. The two French bombers eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received 10 year prison sentences, but got returned to France after about one year. The French government paid New Zealand about $10 million in damages and settled privately with Greenpeace and the Perreira family, while at home, there was little fall-out beyond a handful of political resignations – Mitterand not being one of them. He in fact was re-elected in 1988.

That was the end of the news story, but not the reaction. Many people were outraged, understandably…including many musicians. Early in 1986, a Greenpeace benefit concert was organized in Auckland which was headlined by Jackson Browne and Neil Young, and as a special treat for the home crowd, a reunion concert by Split Enz two years after their enz had split. (Sadly, no one seemed to tape the show, or at least archive it online.) Three years later, a major double-album was put out on Geffen Records to raise funds for Greenpeace, entitled Greenpeace Rainbow Warriors. No wonder it took awhile to organize and get to shelves… it contained 31 songs that came close to being the definitive package to remember the ’80s by.

Among the many, varied artists who contributed to it were some predictable ones who’d always been environmental advocates – Peter Gabriel (“Red Rain”), U2 ( a live version of “Pride”), Sting (“Love is the Seventh Wave”) and R.E.M. (“It’s the End of the World As We Know It”) for instance – but they were joined by quite an impressive array of other artists who were apparently appalled by the bombing. Those included Bryan Adams (“Run To You”), Bryan Ferry (“Don’t Stop the Dance”), the Pretenders (“Middle of the Road”), Simple Minds (a live cut of “Waterfront”), the Thompson Twins (“Lay Your Hands On Me”), Robbie Robertson (“Somewhere Down the Crazy River”), the Grateful Dead (“Throwing Bones”) and on and on…Huey Lewis and the News, John Mellencamp, the Silencers, Sade. It was an impressive collection, and show of musical solidarity with the environmental agency.

Last but not least, in 2005 a supergroup of New Zealand’s artists recorded a song called “Anchor Me” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bombing It hit #3 there.

The good news is that perhaps the ongoing bad publicity eventually led France to stop testing nukes; last detonating one in the Pacific in 1996.

February 2 – Maybe Queen Really Are Champions Of The World

In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character famously wakes up every morning (which is in fact the same morning) to the sound of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe.” Well, if you ever put on the car radio, or have it on at your work, you might think every day is Groundhog Day…but Queen has replaced Sonny & Cher. Because apparently the Brit rockers are the most-played rock artist on radio world-wide.

That according to a much quoted recent report by Viberate. I wasn’t really familiar with Viberate, so I turned to musicologist Alan Cross who calls it “a new way for artists to both keep track of their music and to make vital connections within the music business.” Essentially, it’s a gigantic database which tracks music radio play, streaming, downloads and even appearances on social media, rating songs social media performance, radio performance and even “respect.” It’s fascinating…but altogether too big a rabbit hole to fully explore here! However, their 2021 report had some interesting observations, including “rock is resurrected.”

They looked at radio stations from 150 countries around the globe and list “Pop” as being the most-played genre, with 141 million total spins from tracked stations, followed by “rock” with about 80 million. Hip-hop then Latin Music follow, each with less than half the prominence of rock. Now, how they exactly draw the line between pop and rock is unclear (Billy Joel – rock? pop? who’s to say), but we can see that rumors of rock’s death have been greatly exaggerated. On Spotify, the presumably younger base still pick Pop the most (145 billion streams) but hip-hop is next, then Latin and then Rock, with about 32 billion streams.

Back to radio, world-wide, Ed Sheeran is becoming one very wealthy young man. His music was played more on radio than anybody else, over four million times last year. He was followed by Dua Lipa, the Weeknd…and then Queen. Queen tracks were played just under three million times worldwide. If you’re at all like us, it might seem that about two million of those airings were on stations that you happened to be tuned into at the time! I-heart Radio report that “Another One Bites the Dust” was the #1 played song by Queen on the Viberate report, but “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” couldn’t have been far behind. More surprising – the fifth most-played artist, worldwide was… Maroon 5.

So, there you go. The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” might be the most-played song ever on radio, but Sting and friends apparently have to curtsy to Queen, when it comes to total radio attention these days.

April 9 – Fleetwood Pulled Off A 2-For-1 With Lineup 19

Fleetwood and “Mac” remained, but Fleetwood Mac took on a different look this day in 2018 when they fired long-time guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and brought in two talents to replace him – Neil Finn (best known for being the leader of Crowded House) and Mike Campbell (guitarist for Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers and renowned songwriter.)

Ostensibly they brought in Finn for his vocal abilities and Campbell to replace Lindsey’s guitar prowess although both men have done a bit more than just that so far.

It came as rather a surprise to fans, although perhaps it shouldn’t have. The 2017 lineup that had been used for a few years was, from what we can tell, the 18th different lineup in Fleetwood Mac over their 50 year history. What’s one more change? Still, one couldn’t help but be a bit surprised. Buckingham had been added into the group soon after they moved to the U.S., around the end of 1974. He replaced guitarist Bob Welch who went solo. Besides about a decade’s absence in the late-’80s to mid-’90s, he’d been an integral part of their sound and songwriting all the way. Those who know the story of their mammoth ’77 album Rumours – in which the band were all at each other’s throats, taking far too much cocaine, and Lindsey himself was breaking up with bandmate Stevie Nicks – would assume that if they could get through that, they could get through anything. Apparently not.

The band were planning a major tour for late-’18 and onwards, and did a show at the MusicCares benefit. Apparently Stevie and Lindsey still hadn’t kissed and made up after all those years. They had an argument, Lindsey hated that they played “Rhiannon’, a Stevie signature song, in their short set then apparently was seen “smirking” while Stevie was talking to the crowd. She wanted him gone.

There was a bit more to it than that, not surprisingly. Mick Fleetwood, the constant center of the band, they and Buckingham “hit a brick wall, a huge impasse” over plans for the tour. Among the main disputes was that the guitarist wanted them to play a lot of lesser-known songs, album cuts and b-sides etc., while all the rest wanted to deliver what the fans wanted, a set of non-stop hits from their best records. The drummer noted that when it came to Lindsey’s departure, “well we don’t use the word (fired) because I think it’s ugly…Lindsey has huge amounts of respect.” Apparently that wasn’t satisfying for him, because he sued the band for breach of contract among other things. The two sides reached an out-of-court agreement.

Still, that left them with a hole to fill. Buckingham was a great guitarist who featured into many of their hits and sang lead on a handful of songs (“Go Your Own Way” and “Second Hand News” for example) and did harmonies on most of the others. Enter Campbell and Finn.

Not a great deal has been written about why Campbell was chosen, but he was a great pick given his guitar talents and unemployed status since Tom Petty passed away (thereby ending The Heartbreakers) . Finn also was an obvious choice. He and Mick had been close friends for years, and Fleetwood had sat in on drums for Crowded House during a 2018 benefit concert in Hawaii – his adopted home. At the time of the announcement, Finn said “two weeks ago, I received a wonderful invitation to be part of a truly great band. A few days later, I was standing in a room playing music with Fleetwood Mac. It was a natural fit. I can’t wait to play.”

And play they did. They toured quite extensively before the pandemic shut down most live music, usually including his “Don’t Dream It’s Over” in the set list. That was, according to the Boston Globe (who reviewed one of the first shows with the new lineup) “a true highlight of the night”, suggesting “the band could’ve done a whole lot worse than recruit Neil Finn and Mike Campbell to fill Buckingham’s shoes.”

They could have indeed. It leaves one with conflicting emotions – partly hoping this will be the final and definitive lineup for the band and partly hoping it drives them along enough for there to be a 20th!

February 17 – AC/DC Records Like Money In The Bank

Yesterday we looked at an Australian band who broke through to the international market in a small way – The Church. Today we look at a different style of Australian rock band who broke through in a much bigger way – AC/DC. They got started on this day in 1975 with the release of their debut album, High Voltage. At least at home.

The band put together by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young a year or two earlier had set out with a goal in mind. Angus says, looking at the contemporary music scene back then, “it was obvious what was missing : another great rock band.” They set out to fill that void. They’d signed to Albert Records, an Aussie indie label, and put out one single “Can I Sit Next To You Girl?”, in ’74, with singer Dave Evans (not to be confused with the Dave Evans in U2, better known as The Edge.) He didn’t seem to fit in though, so their older brother George brought in a friend of his, Bon Scott to take the mic. “Scott moulded the character of AC/DC,” says Angus.

Although not a member of the band, George Young co-produced their debut album and played bass on many of the eight tracks. His younger brother says “it was recorded in 10 days, in between gigs (and) working through the night after we came off stage…there was no thought put into it.”

Perhaps, perhaps not. The rather spontaneous, imperfect sound arguably enhanced the type of music they were making. As allmusic suggest, it began “the blueprint they’ve followed all their career”, in particular “riffs so simple they’re often dismissed as easy, that give the music its backbone.”

High Voltage had eight songs, seven originals with titles that also set the blueprint for AC/DC writing to come, such as “She’s Got Balls” and “Soul Stripper” plus a cover of an old Big Joe Williams blues tune, “Baby Please Don’t Go.”

The album eventually took off Down Under, reaching #14 on the charts. It now sits at 5X platinum there. They soon signed to an international deal with Atlantic Records, who introduced them to the world in ’76 with an album also called High Voltage, but one which contained tracks from their debut plus their next Australian album, TNT, including “It’s a Long Way to The Top” and “TNT.”

If you’re a big fan of Angus, Malcolm and the lads, you might want to pick up a different sort of collectible souvenir. To show big and famous AC/DC have become, Australia released coins honoring them last year! The Royal Australian Mint released seven limited edition coins last year, six 20-cent coins with album covers, and a silver dollar coin with a picture of Angus Young playing guitar behind the band’s iconic logo. The 20-cent ones each are made to look like LPs, with black outer rings and an album cover picture in the middle, with High Voltage being one of the six, as well as TNT, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Back in Black, For Those about to Rock and Ballbreaker. Of course, being part of the commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth’s picture is on the back of all of them. Viewers of The Crown might think that Prince Phillip might have a bit of a chuckle seeing HRH on a coin honoring a “ballbreaker.” The whole setis available in a neat little box made to look like a band crate, but they’re not quite dirt cheap. They sell for $110 Australian.

December 18 – Fab Two Still Beatlin’ Along Too

So the Stones’ guitarist is 77 and still rockin’? “Hold my beer,” say the Beatles! As old as Keith Richards is, there are older rock stars around, from even more famous bands… and they’re keeping busy! Believe it or not, this week we have new music from both remaining Beatles – a new song from Ringo Starr, and an entire album from Sir Paul McCartney!

The two have similarities and huge differences. Both were created at the rockers’ own homes and seem to have been partly inspired by boredom resulting from the pandemic and subsequent “lockdown”, keeping Ringo, 80 years young, and Paul, 78, from being out and about or socializing much this year. That’s where the similarities end though, with Ringo’s song “Here’s to the Nights” being a veritable musical all-star (or “All Starr”) team effort, while Paul’s, simply entitled McCartney III, is a truly solo effort. Mind you, the number of people involved with Starr’s single doesn’t equate to a big party or crowded control rooms. He told NBC’s Harry Smith yesterday that he moved his drums into his bedroom at home, and played them there while he converted his guest house into a studio and had other musicians come in to play there individually. He says he’s not seen more than eight people in person since March due to the virus.

Among the guests who took part in “Here’s to the Nights” were Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Corinne Bailey Rae and one…Paul McCartney. He had Steve Lukather of Toto on guitars and Benmont Trench, formerly of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers on keyboards for the song primarily written by Dianne Warren. Warren rose to songwriting prominence in the ’80s penning such light pop hits as “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge and Laura Branigan’s “Solitaire.” The song may not match his best works of four or five decades back, but is a likable enough little tune that could well be a closing time sing-along with lines about “here’s to nights we won’t remember, with friends we won’t forget.” Perhaps the most surprising thing about it is how fine a form Starr’s voice appears to be in.

McCartney’s venture is a bit more ambitious. McCartney III he says is the finale of a trilogy of albums he envisioned long ago, following, logically enough McCartney I (in 1970, which featured the original version of “Maybe I’m Amazed”) and McCartney II (from 1980 with its lively hit “Coming Up”.) Those two resulted from his reactions to the demise of Beatles and Wings, respectively, while this one is simply him playing music, seemingly for himself. He played all instruments and produced it himself, in contrast to his last effort, Egypt Station, two years ago which had extensive outside help and production designed squarely with the idea of having him back on the charts.

The 11 song Capitol Records album contains a mix of songs, tempo and mood wise, with a variety of titles that would sound at home on old Beatles albums – “Winter Bird”, “Lavatory Lil”, “Seize the Day”, “Deep, Deep, Feeling”…

Initial reviews are quite good for it. Entertainment Weekly grades it a “B” while Rolling Stone gives it 4-stars, the same as allmusic and Britain’s The Guardian. The latter note that it does seem like a follow-up to the other two because they garnered mixed reviews due to them being “moments where he temporarily forgot his commercial impulses, but not his innate gift for melody.” This they considered “personal and hugely enjoyable,” with “Deep Deep Feeling” “the best song to bear McCartney’s name in over a decade”, although they lament “Lavatory Lil” is best flushed… “the best thing you can say about it is it isn’t quite as awful as its title.” Allmusic say that it doesn’t have “the shock of the new” the way I and II did, but with “arrangements so uncluttered” and “nods to sadness and loneliness on ‘Deep Deep Feeling’” as well as “the sweet ‘The Kiss of Venus’”, the album is enjoyable and better than his 2018 work.

If you want to find out for yourself, McCartney III is available today digitally or in small quantities as an LP. Real hardcore fans might want to search out one of the limited edition colored vinyl editions – Jack White’s Third Man Records (Detroit and Nashville) have some 333 yellow albums with black dots, Target stores will carry green ones and some retailers will have pink.

July 24 – Cue Up The End Of Q

Covid claims another music victim, but at least this time around it’s not a beloved musician. Rather, say goodbye to the excellent Q magazine. The British mag had been publishing monthly back to 1986, but in a news release this week, editor Ted Kessler said “the pandemic did (it) for us and there was nothing more to it than that.” He added, “I must apologize profusely for my failure to keep Q afloat.”

Like many of its human victims, Q wasn’t entirely healthy when the pandemic struck. The drop in advertising and reduced sales (both from fewer trips to stores that stock publications and less disposable cash) were the final nail in the aging magazine’s coffin. Indeed, circulation at the start of the year had dropped to a rather meagre 30 000 copies per month or so, down by a third since 2015 and only a fraction of the glory days of 2001, when nearly 200 000 copies of each issue circulated. The internet got a lot of the blame for that; Q was slow hopping on the “online” bandwagon and when it was there, found most of its younger readers stopped buying the paper version; meanwhile older readers were starting to drift away too. Few Baby Boomers have much interest in today’s hottest new band and there are only so many times you can interview David Gilmour about Dark Side of the Moon, apparently.

Q was begun in 1986 by Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, two music-lovers who’d worked on the BBC music show Old Grey Whistle Test. They noticed that as CD sales were beginning to soar, the majority of the sales seemed to be re-issues. Older fans were replacing their vinyl copies of Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Rod Stewart more than they seemed to be buying the latest Cocteau Twins or ABC. They realized people were talking more about tired old Queen at Live Aid than young Nik Kershaw. They reasoned there must be a legion of “fans wondering what happened to their old heroes,” and set about telling them in a magazine. As Alexis Petriadis of the Guardian put it, “Q went where other titles were too cool to tread.”

The magazine was large, glossy and featured long interviews and dozens of record reviews monthly. Even the name reflected that; it was originally going to be called Cue, as in “cue up the cd player”, but friends suggested it would get mistaken for a pool enthusiast magazine if that word appeared in big font on the cover. The majority of the reviews were of old albums rather than new releases. However, Q didn’t want to be exclusively the bringer of musical cobwebs, so it did spotlight a number of new, up and coming stars as well. It created an unusual blend where on one cover you might see Paul Weller featured, with blurbs about content on Elvis Presley, the Prodigy, Echo and the Bunnymen and Ringo Starr inside. In the ’90s, it was a champion of Britpop – Oasis, Blur, Pulp and the like – without forgetting about Elton and Elvis. As the Guardian say, for awhile it was “the cornerstone of the British music press.” Nearing the height of its popularity, it began its own awards show in 1996 and had the then-Prime Minister, Tony Blair as a presenter. It was also known for periodically including a mix-CD with the magazine; the discs became collectors items and were known for having known artists, unlike some other magazines that did the same. One Tweet this week said the “first time I heard Pearl Jam was from that CD.”

The magazine sold at high prices in limited quantities in North American bookshops. Except for one month in 2010, when they considered a topless photo shoot of Lady Gaga accompanying an interview with her too racy for American eyes. (How they reached that conclusion isn’t clear.)

Tim Burgess of The Charlatans says of the magazine’s end, “sad news. Q was good to us over the years. I learned much from its pages.” I think even those of us who were only infrequent buyers would agree with that, Tim.

The last issue is expected to ship this weekend.

June 7 – Fans Will Have To Wait For Bonnaroo – Booo!

Under normal conditions, it’d be getting on towards Bonnaroo time down Tennessee way! Inspired a little by Woodstock, a little by Phish and Grateful Dead shows and a little by Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo is now one of the longest-running and most important annual music and arts festivals. Today marks the eighth anniversary of the kick-off of the festival’s best-attended year, 2012.

Begun in 2002, Bonnaroo is a four-day event which features a number of stages providing all sorts of live music (“gospel to jazz to hip hop to alt rock” ) focusing largely on newer, up-and-coming musical acts, as well as other arts displays, a movie tent and various special interest cause booths. It takes place in Coffee County, a bit southeast of Nashville, and many of the attendees camp out for the whole long weekend. Over the years the lineup has been impressive and included showings of movies like Stop Making Sense and Rattle and Hum, stand-up routines from famous comedians, and concerts from U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem, Tom Petty, a Buffalo Springfield reunion, Bruce Springsteen, ZZ Top and more.

While most years attendance has been in the 70 000 range, the 2012 version topped the 100 000 mark for the only time to date. Among the highlights of that year’s festival were Dale Earnhardt Jr. (the Nascar race star is the next thing to royalty in parts of the South), breakdancing demonstrations, a tent with dance DJs all weekend, and musical performances from Kathleen Edwards, Ben Folds Five, Colin Hay, Radiohead, Alabama Shakes and Red Hot Chili Peppers to name just a few.

The event of course is a big boost to the local economy, bringing in an estimated $14 million or more annually in tourist spending for the county and it also donates millions annually to charities like the Sierra Club and Doctors without Borders. Thankfully, there’ve been few big problems through the years. CNN describes it as “music and sub-culture melted together into a pot of creative, bubbling energy,” so no wonder Rolling Stone called it the “Best Festival” in 2008, and Spin concurred in 2012.

This year’s version should’ve been kicking off this Thursday, but due to the pandemic it’s been re-scheduled for late-September. A drag for those who had already made plans and purchased 4-day passes (for about $319) but a necessary change in the name of public health. On the plus side, early fall in that area tends to be a bit drier and not as hot. The lineup promises “10 performance stages, entertainment that goes all night long” so “you will NOT be bored”. Highlights include a tribute to the Grand Ole Opry, Miley Cyrus, Tool and Jack Black’s Tenacious D, for those interested!