Peach Music Festival: The Wanee of the North?
The Peach Music Festival, presented by the Allman Brothers Band
Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain
August 10-12, 2012
For two days in August, the Toyota Pavilion in Scranton, PA became the site of the Peach Music Festival. Proudly donning the adjectives “first annual” and “inaugural,” the obvious question going into the affair — that was presented by the Allman Brothers Band — was whether or not the adjectives were bold statements based upon preparation or simply premature proclamations made by organizers that had fallen victim to the overly disproven theory that fans will only look at the lineup and judge an event based solely on that lineup’s performance.
As noted above, there was a natural inclination to liken this virgin event to Wanee, the tried and true staple event located 1000 miles south of Scranton that officially kicks off summer festival season for many. Some on message boards were excitedly referring to Peach Fest as potentially being a “Wanee of the North.” It had all the makings,” they presumably thought. But it also had all the trappings. Let’s face it, which festival actually wants to be compared to Wanee (or any other veteran event) during its first year?
Any hopeful message board sentiments were quickly extinguished once onsite. Sure, the Allman Brothers were headlining both nights of the three day/ two night event. As well, the lineup that would greet fans and play the two-stage event was very ABB derived — consisting of Tedeschi-Trucks, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band and two sets from Warren Haynes, one with his band and another, a wake up acoustic set.Further, just as one will find at Wanee, the bill was populated with other friendly acts that played well into the prospective ABB-heavy audience’s hand. (Robert Randolph, Blackberry Smoke, Railroad Earth, Dark Star Orchestra, Toubab Krewe, Trigger Hippy, Zac Brown, etc.)
Just as one might suspect by reading the aforementioned list or by gazing at the full lineup, a musically exceptional experience was yielded. For those who watched from home (via a free live-stream) all most likely appeared to be bliss was bliss. Actually the parts they saw were. The part that they didn’t see was the heavy hand of Live Nation at work, all that entails and is far too well-known to write yet another dissertation on the subject.
They also could not feel the absence of Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and all that the magical grounds bring to the table. (and can be read about in countless Honest Tune articles, such as this one that gives the MVP award to the park) This alone should have been enough to quell any message board hopes of utopia in… well, Scranton, the town most recently known as the home of one of the brightest branches of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company tree.
In other words, and in complete interest of getting to the point, the weekend was musically phenomenal and for the “locals” that seemed to be the target audience, it was certainly an event that was worth its weight. Driving a couple of hours a day for what unfolded musically would be money and time well spent. Making a weekend getaway with one’s better half and splurging on a nice hotel room would be outta site. But for what it was, largely those seeking the more traditional festival experience, it fell short.
And for those that drove 500 miles ISO “Wanee in August,” the affair was pretty much a wash. But (note to self) those were ridiculously high expectations anyway.
Click the thumbnails to view photos from the festival by Vernon Webb…
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