Along with the notable sit-ins at Umphrey’s McGee’s headlining sets, Bear Creek Music Festival was highlighted by a copious amount of collaborations as like-minded artists from a variety of genres came together in Live Oak, FL.
On Thursday, The Main Squeeze played late in the day and were joined by Khris Royal for a take on Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” as well as Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter.” Earlier in the day, Catfish Alliance were joined by a popular guest throughout the weekend, Brandon Niederauer for Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone From the Sun” as well as The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” which also included Big Sam Funky Nation bassist Eric Vogel.
Friday would see early collaborations such as Catfish Green welcoming out Khris Royal for “Insect” as well as one of the final sets of music from Alan Evans’ Playonbrother, who recently announced they will be leaving the road. The band delivered a notable cover of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” Later in the day, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds welcomed out Bernard Purdie and Dr. Roosevelt for their closing take on “Boogie Man” while Turkuaz and Roosevelt Collier jammed on “Monkey Fingers” and The Band’s “The Shape I’m In.”
The New Mastersounds threw one of the most innovative sets of the day as they welcomed out several guests. Roosevelt Collier first joined on “This Ain’t Work” before Johnanthan Lloyd and the Heard Horns came out for “It Ain’t Fair But It’s Fun.” Khris Royal once again showed up along with Eric Vogel and Pee Wee Ellis for “All Wrapped Up” and Brandon Niederauer added guitar to “Thermal Bad.” The band broke into a fun cover of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” with Grant Green Jr. before bringing all previous guests out as well as Neil O’Hara for a closing rendition of “Make Me Proud.”
Elsewhere, Soulive was warming the crowd up for Umphrey’s McGee and did so by jamming with Talib Kweli on a variety of tunes including “Eleanor Rigby,” “Nautilus” and “Get By.” Brandon Niederauer sat in on Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression.”
Saturday kicked off with a sit-in from George Porter Jr. during Comeback Alice’s set. The famed bassist joined in on ‘Take It As It Comes.” Porter would also join the Nicholas Payton Trio for “Five Two Backward Step” later in the day.
Oteil Burbridge and Roosevelt Collier brought their collaborative band to Bear Creek and played a set that included sit-ins from Bernard Purdie, Nick Cassarino, Grant Green Jr. and Jennifer Hartswick. Brandon Niederauer also once again joined in on “Got Me Floating.”
Meanwhile, New Orleans prog-funk rockers Earphunk played two sets on Saturday and welcomed out Niederauer for “She Don’t Wanna Hear From You” as well as Roosevelt Collier on “Recoil.” Khris Royal also joined in on “Sweet Nasty,” the title track to their latest effort. The band’s second set would once again see Royal emerge as well as Jonathan Lloyd. The duo added their talents to “No. 9-5.” Smiley from The Main Sqeeze then came out for “Trombone” and George Porter Jr. joined the band for a fun rendition of “Fly Like an Eagle.” Earphunk closed their Bear Creek appearance with a raucous version of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of.”
Dumpstaphunk also brought out Niederauer for “James Gang” during their set. The New Orleans funk establishment closed their set with help from Skerik, Jennifer Hartswick and Farnell Newston on their classic “Put It in the Dumpsta.”
The final day of Bear Creek featured a brief but notable slate of music. St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the soul group, appropriately played on Sunday and delivered a set that featured takes on Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” as well as David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” and Tom Waits’ “Make it Rain.” Lettuce closed down the day and festival with a performance that included a take on “My Friend” with Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour.