This past weekend 64,000 people gathered on Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA for the fourth annual Peach Music Festival. The gathering’s founding and usual premier act, Allman Brothers Band, was not present for the first time this year, but the identity of the jamboree remained with memorable performances by Gregg Allman, Bill Kreutzmann’s Billy & the Kids featuring Bob Weir, Willie Nelson, Santana and many, many more. With one of the liveliest lineups of the summer accompanied by perfect weather, friendly staff and a water park smack dab in the middle of the festival grounds, Peach Music Festival was surely a highlight of the season.
Experiencing Peach could be described as drinking out of a giant slurpee machine containing dozens of flavors mixed from the sounds of the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers Band. If you were to blend the different flavors and slurp until that sweet, sweet brain freeze reminded you of how wonderfully painful the love of something could be, then you would have the slurpee that over 60,000 people were drinking all weekend.
The first taste started on Thursday with two sets of Dark Star Orchestra followed by a special late night set with Deep Banana Blackout, which topped the day off with a dollop of funky whipped cream.
On Friday Cabinet started things off on the Peach Stage with an early afternoon set – the Scranton-born and local favorite’s second of three sets it would play throughout the weekend. Hard Working Americans followed that afternoon, and later the excitement continued with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Warren Haynes featuring Railroad Earth, and Greg Allman playing with his own band. Difficult decisions were made on whether to end the night with John Kadlecik and Ron Holloway, Papadosio or the ever so familiar sounds of Pink Floyd done by The Australian Pink Floyd.
The next day Bill Kreutzmann held a talk and personal book signing of his new memoir “Deal” written by Benjy Eisen. Witnessing Kreutzmann sit down and look his fans directly in the eyes brought a humanizing light to the superstar and provided an experience unique to any other festival.
Bob Weir’s set with Billy & the Kids that Saturday night was a breath of the freshest air since this summer’s Fare Thee Well shows. From Bobby’s kicks and howls to the sound of Aron Magner’s silky smooth keys, this performance was the defining moment of the weekend. The man-with-the-plan Reed Mathis was an undeniable beast, allowing Kreutzmann to beat the drums with an energy that surged through the entire crowd. Seeing Bobby take a ride with Billy and the Kids with their established chemistry was nothing less than phenomenal.
Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel refreshed the festival into its final celebrations early Sunday afternoon with a sit in by Bob Weir followed by Weir and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and finally, Santana let loose on the guitar for a spectacular finish to an incredible weekend.
Written by Chris Fye