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Big show marks a moment for LG venue

Adirondack Independence Music Fest in LG? ‘It clicked’

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

The Adirondack Independence Music Festival drew an impressive crowd and set a new bar for the Festival Commons Space at the Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George.

The two-day event headlined by the Vermont jam-band Twiddle was Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 2 and 3. It drew about 2,500 paid admissions, promoter Dave Ehmann of Lake George told The Chronicle. He estimates that total attendance, with comps, crew, children in free, was around 3,000.

This is the show that might finally put the Festival Commons on the map. It got the venue into the heads of the young and young-energy concert-going crowd. By all the looks of it, they had a good time.

An estimated 3,000 people filled the Festival Commons for the Adirondack Independence Music Festival in Lake George last week. Photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Maybe they notice who plays there next.

It’s easier to come back once you know the place.

This was a scene: Exciting, a little trippy, women in crochet tops and hula hoops, dreadlocks everywhere, flowy skirts and tie-die, chillin’ crowds filling the grass in front of two alternating stages.

Everything worked: The crowd was the right size, manageable and for-real. You felt like you were at a concert, you know? This is Lake George, I reminded myself. Wow.

Saturday, mid-day and early evening it was however, overwhelmingly too loud.

With the stages on the far side of the park, away from the lake, I tried hiding all the way back toward the Lake George Steamboat Company parking lot and still, the bass was wrecking my eardrums.

By dark on Saturday they had toned it down; Sunday when I was there for the evening shows, it was loud but fine. You could talk to people.

The stage light shows were impressive. Lighted trees along the outside of the park were pretty. The sky and surroundings themselves did their part.

The set-up with two stages worked well. There were enough food vendors to serve the number of people, some hippie-leaning tee-shirt and crystal-type shops as well. Lines were not too long for the bathrooms and Porta-Johns, parking not impossible.

Not to mention, some truly great music.

Twiddle frontman Mihali Savoulidis.Photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Jam bands aren’t my first love, but Twiddle had some good sounds. I liked them best when they veered toward Reggae or blues influence; those longer jams don’t really captivate me. Consummate players, however — keys, frontman on guitar, the bass.

One Twiddle fan, a self-described “Twidiot,” had driven directly here from his job in New Jersey that morning; he’d also followed the band two of the previous three nights when they played in Connecticut.

The band Kung Fu, on Saturday night’s bill, has a slightly more funk-infused jam vibe. I was remembering — two years ago, I think — they played the Commons, late, and in mid September. It got so cold, nearly everyone left, including me. I’ve been in the audience several times for shows like that in this space— good, but nearly no one there. All the more exciting when it clicks.

Ryan Montbleau was I think my favorite — a singer-songwriter-guitarist at heart, great voice, bluesy songs.

Ryan Montbleau. Photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Singer Hayley Jane: Dang. The woman has a big voice like Bonnie Raitt, and piles of personality. She put me in mind of Janis Joplin, singing with such unabashed love to her audience, like every individual out there is a good friend, swirling, arms wide, in a big long skirt and flowing calf-length silk vest, big curls of hair, colorful.

I missed her own set with her band The Primates, but caught her when she sat in with Gratefully Yours and with Twiddle.

Hayley Jane, good energy. Photo by Frankie Cavone

The band Sophistafunk veered into horns and funk, mostly played just-all-out rap that had a groovy edge, fun.

Dave Ehmann was a happy, happy man. Mostly I saw him running around, but Sunday night he sat in on drums with Gratefully Yours, alongside guests including Twiddle frontman Mihali Savoulidis, Vinnie Amico from moe., and Tony Markellis from the Trey Anastasio band.

Sophistafunk, rap-heavy. Photo/Andrzej Pilarczyk

Vendors were happy, too, he told me afterwards. “They ‘killed it’ is their term,” Mr. Ehmann said. “Lots of sales.”

Saturday’s weather was picture perfect, a little hot but temperate, cool into the night.

Sunday it poured all day until dark — likely dampening attendance by casual fans. But this was a crowd willing to suffer to hear their favorites, Mr. Ehmann suggests. Rain wasn’t going to be a big problem.

They had folks camping out, mostly staff, crew and artists, Mr. Ehmann said afterwards, and mostly because, with Labor Day weekend and the Adirondack Triatlon taking place at Battlefield Park, all rooms were taken.

The festival scene, slightly trippy. Photo/Andrzej Pilarczyk

His colleague, co-producer Jim Anderson called it “by far the best festival yet at the Lake George Festival site.”

Next up at the Festival Commons: Marshall Tucker Band, on Sunday, Sept. 24. Mr. Ehmann promotes that show as well.

Adk. Music Fest promoter is a happy guy!

Lake George concert promoter Dave Ehmann, in photo, was a happy man Sunday evening, Sept. 3. “This is what I’d always dreamed of for this space,” he said, sitting in on the drums with the band Gratefully Yours in front of a massive crowd at the Adirondack Independence Music Festival in Lake George.

It was the second-to-last act of the two-day event headlined by Vermont band Twiddle that Mr. Ehmann and co-promoter Jim Anderson organized in the Festival Commons space at Charles R. Wood Park.

The Festival also marks a significant milestone for the Festival Commons, our writer Cathy DeDe suggests on page 43.

The above photo was taken by Frankie Cavone, 2011 Lake George grad and video production/digital media artist.

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