The 20th anniversary of the Wormtown music fest is complete. Rumors swirled fast and vast yet none compared with the reality. Start with an amazing lineup of bands, great weather, and a tight group of Wormtown alum and you’re off to a great start.
Working at a festival has perks that come with related costs. Come early but miss bands; access more areas but miss bands; unload your gear from your car but stay late (plus, miss bands). Luckily the main stage is close to the table I ran all weekend so I heard most of those acts from a distance. Another lucky happening was that I was free until Friday morning.
Setup was quick on Wednesday night and people started coming Thursday afternoon. On deck for the early crowd was a celebration of the new album from Roots of Creation featuring dub versions of Dead tunes. Also in the cabins was West End Blend, and Hayley Jane and the Primates. I managed to catch some of each and all of Hayley Jane. Watching through the window of the Wormtown cabin (one of two that house late night bands) provided a stage-left view of the stage. Waves to the boys and a notice from Hayley throughout the long set which included some great new tunes and a special thank you from the Wormtown brass. Some technical difficulties arose but were dealt with as only a professional band can. Watching the silent communication is wonderful. “Vamp while I get a new ax!” “That amp is not fixing itself? Fine, what can we do without bass?” No issue, no judgment, just a drive to perform and keep the smiles flowing.
Trapped at a table all day (don’t get me wrong, I love it) had me miss The Stupid Robots but spending time with Jon the drummer made up for it. I’ll make it happen soon. Other highlights ear-jacked from the main stage included Pink Talking Phish and Turkuaz on Friday and Tauk, Keller, The Wailers, and Lettuce on Saturday. If you’ve not heard Lettuce lately… you’re missing out. They played a set at Lockn’ this year that will soon be listed as an essential piece of music history. Their time at Wormtown had everyone dashing towards the stage in hopes of a glimpse. Even from a distance, I could tell the scene was nuts. I imagined people dancing across the packed field, the crowd jumping in unison, the lights shining on countless smiles.
Other perks of hanging at the table include food delivery. Perfectly marinated steak from the fire dancers and fresh smoked ribs from the Stupid Robots. This is quickly becoming a tradition I love about Wormtown. Speaking of food, the first rumor I heard was there would be cake for the first 1,000 people to line up near the stage. This was to celebrate the 20th anniversary. As far as I know, that didn’t happen.
The next rumor involved Zach Deputy who had already played two sets over the course of the event. “Zach is playing in the river!” In the river? Yes. We’ll have to see. Sure enough, I see a picture of a stage being built in the river. “They’re wiring it up now and he’ll play soon.” This was on Sunday when the weather was hottest, on a stage with no shade, above flowing water powered from who knows what source. I’m told the set was amazing. Stuff of legends they’ll say in years to come! If marketed appropriately, this will help bring more people to town.