Festival Coverage

Shakori Hills Beyond the Music: A Survival guide

Each May and October hundreds of music lovers, artists, and adventure seekers alike gather together in Pittsboro, NC for Shakori Hills grassroots festival of music and dance, I myself have become one of those people.  Rain is a notorious part of Shakori In fact, there hasn’t been a dry festival in years, but this hasn’t ever stopped people from packing their belongings and heading out for a weekend getaway. This year is no acceptation as we lurk the midst of hurricane Matthew this may be the rainiest Shakori yet. With this being said here are a few items I am taking out to the festival to keep the festivities going despite the ominous weather.

1.)    Boots: Not only do boots keep out rain and mud, you can dance in them. When I’m forced to wear shoes I’ll be sure to have a pair of boots on deck.

2.)    Plastic Rain poncho: Not the picture of fashion but very necessary if you want to get out and enjoy some music without getting soaked and catching a cold. I’ll be taking around my clear $1 rain poncho I picked up before Spring’s Shakori.

3.)    Vitamin C: The last thing you want is a cold to force you home for the weekend. To keep my energy up and immune system kicking I’ll be taking Emergen-C along with me.

4.)    Tarps: Not only will your tent need a cover but you won’t want that mud seeping into your sleeping bag this can easily be avoided by covering your campsite in a tarp.

5.)    Lots of Layers, extra clothes: With Autumn in full swing it’ll be chilly at night, pack lot layers you can strip off when you get sweaty swing dancing to Dirty Bourbon river show and can pack on when you’re hanging out by the fire at the end of the night.

If you choose to partake this weekend follow these tips, be safe, and have a happy Shakori!

– DJ Whatsherface

Festival Coverage

Shakori Hills Spring 2016 Review: Big Mean Sound Machine

As a Shakori Hills frequent flyer, Big Mean Sound Machine is clearly a crowd favorite at this point. Hailing from Ithaca, New York, this afrobeat powerhouse packs a pretty funky punch with their tight rhythm section, jazzy guitars, smooth keys, and prominent brass section (one trumpet, one trombone, and one baritone sax for this Spring Shakori).

Big Mean Sound Machine’s Saturday afternoon set took place on Shakori’s biggest stage, the Meadow Stage, and with constant calls for people to dance along, definitely got the crowd bumpin’ and grindin’ as one happy group of campers. They began with a track off of their new(ish) album, “Contraband,” that really got everybody out of their seats, followed by another tight jam with a wicked Santana-like keyboard solo that sounded like it could have been coming from a double-humbucker guitar. With the bassist acting as the front man and vocalist, the whole band worked together to trade off solos and rhythm breaks, but never letting the audience forget how the brass section was really leading the groove.

The Big Mean crew continued with a slow, spacey, dub jam with some duet guitar solos laid gently, yet powerfully over the backing rhythm set by the rest of the band and the fast hands of the man on congas. After a loud, sustaining ovation from the crowd, they led on with more of their traditional, hip shakin’, afrobeat jams that really got everybody dancing their hearts out. Then as the set was coming to a close, they decided to pay homage to the homeland, and origin of their sound and style, Africa. They skillfully and respectfully rode on with a slow, smooth song from the great Ethiopian musician, Mulatu Astatke, the father of Ethio-jazz.

After saluting the great Astatke, Big Mean Sound Machine finished off with another track from their new album, thanked everybody in the audience for joining them for a beautiful Saturday afternoon jam, and invited everyone to come say hey over in the merch tent. The brass-led afrobeat always seems to get the people moving, and Big Mean Sound Machine are some of the greatest promoters of this sound in modern day music. It was one funky, soulful set that the Shakori people enjoyed once again, and hopefully will experience for many Shakoris to come.

Big Mean Sound Machine Bandcamp:

– DJ Sundae

Festival Coverage

Shakori Hills Spring 2016 Review: Temple5

Temple5 is one very smooth, 7-piece, organic hip-hop jazz group out of Wilmington, North Carolina. After rockin’ the Pour House for the April 14 edition of Local Band Local Beer with Durham natives The Beast and Zoocru, one could only expect more sweet vibes from them at the always beautiful Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance. And after performing at the fall edition of Shakori last October, Temple5 knew what a great audience would be waiting to jam with them.

Temple5 was scheduled to play the intimate Cabaret Tent on Saturday night, and after setting up all the mics and instruments, including drums, bass, guitar, saxophone, trumpet, keyboards, and Moog synthesizer, they jumped right into the first track. However, not without playin’ the crowd a little first. Left wondering where their front man MC was, saxophone player Malik Rae introduced him after some soulful intro jams.

Their set was filled with rhythmically driven hip-hop swing with layers of talk box guitar licks, jazzy piano measures, and powerful brass melodies. On top of all this head bumpin’ goodness was some quick paced, intelligent bars from MC Louis. And even though the MC took center stage, they all took turns playing lead roles, dealing out solos, and bouncing with the audience that came to pack out the little tent in the mud.

They jammed on some of their own tracks like “Drop The Mic,” but also played some great covers including The Roots’ “Get Busy,” Missy Elliott’s “Sock It 2 Me,” Digable Planets’ “Rebirth of Slick (Coole Like Dat),” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” and a little tease of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Warning” and “Machine Gun Funk.” These weren’t just normal covers either. Temple5 was always keen on adding their own lyrical and rhythmic flairs to these hip-hop classics that definitely got the crowd goin’ wild. After confirmation with the man behind the soundboard, they even gave in to the audience’s plea for “ONE MORE SONG!” and finished the night strong.

Temple5 is an extremely talented group of musicians, gratefully supporting the local hip-hop jazz scene. Definitely somebody to check out.

Temple5 Facebook:

Temple5 Bandcamp:

– DJ Sundae

Festival Coverage

A Crash Course in Navigating Shakori Hills

With every six months comes another edition of Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance. With the spring semester at NC State coming to a recent close, it is only fitting to put together a crash course in how to successfully navigate the muddy paths of future Shakori festivals! 

Lesson #1: Keep a map! Shakori is relatively big with multiple stages, a big dance tent, sprawling camping sites. Make sure to grab yourself a copy when you check in at the ticketing booths to make navigating between the stages efficient and stress free. There is constant fun to be had at Shakori and getting lost is just a big ol’ waste! 

Lesson #2: Expect to get dirty. There is mud. Lots and lots of mud. For some meteorological reason beyond my understanding, it seems to ALWAYS rain right before Shakori gets going. With hundreds of people trekking through the earth, things get dirty quite quickly. 

Lesson #3: Barefoot, boots or bust. There is no in between when it comes to what to put on your feet. With all the mud puddles, if you don’t want to get mud on your feet, the only way its to wear knee length, waterproof boots, rain boots do well here. But if you want to cut corners, you really can’t here. Wearing any other type of footwear will just leave you with mud in between your foot and shoe, you might as well rip the shoes off and get a some foot exfoliation au naturale. 

Lesson #4: Bring snacks! You will burn lots of calories running around between tents, dancing your booty off, setting up your sick camping site, etc. Don’t forget to feed yourself often, it’s easy to forget. Fuel your fun with extra snacks, I always bring a handful of protein bars and some fruit to keep me going. The food trucks are always amazing but for your average college student, a bit of a supplement is a must. 

Lesson #5: HYDRATE YO BODY. You are a big water bag and you shouldn’t let Shakori dry you up. Bring a reliable water bottle and acquaint yourself the water taps dispersed throughout the Shakori grounds. Coffee, alcohol and soda will dehydrate you, so with every non-water drink you have, try to compensate with twice as much water. 

Lesson #6: Have fun! Shakori is a weekend of unforgettable times with music and art loving people. Don’t be afraid to branch out and meet new people, your soul will thank you. 

This is DJ Sparrow hoping to see you at many Shakori Festivals to come! 

Festival Coverage

Shakori Hills: Top 5 Picks

Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance is a semi-annual grassroots festival held in Pittsboro, N.C. The festival features a variety of music from bluegrass to indie pop as well as dance workshops and crafts; something for everyone can be found there. Despite its cold and rainy start, Shakori has lots to offer. Here are DJ Whatsherface’s five bands you won’t want to miss:

#5 – Big Fat Gap
Looking for some good Authentic N.C. bluegrass tunes? Big Fat Gap consists of guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass. The lineup includes former members of Mipso and Mandolin Orange, making it a great band to check out.

#4 – Ellis Dyson and the Shambles
This band will undoubtedly have you dancing. Hailing from Chapel Hill, this folk band with an old time feel and jazz influences will rise your spirits and make you wish you knew how to swing dance.

#3 –

Rebekah Todd and the Odyssey

Rebekah Todd started her musical career as a solo folk/blues artist from the small NC town of Benson, and now plays in a five piece band. With raw folk instrumentals with a twinge of funk/jazz their unique sound is one to check out.

#2 – River Whyless
This indie folk band from Asheville will pull at your heart with emotional lyrics of self exploration and loss accompanied by beautiful vocal harmonies, strings and percussion.

#1 – Punch Brothers
This experimental bluegrass band from New York is definitely a festival favorite. Featuring mandolin, fiddle, banjo, bass, and guitar this band stands out from other bands with their unique sound incorporating classical and chamber music aspects into their songs.