Zach Deputy joins Ryan Montbleau

To kick off the summer festival season there’s no better place than the small northeast music and arts festival StrangeCreek. It’s a festival that has a dedicated fanbase, and has become a yearly tradition for many festival goers, young and old alike. If you have been here before you will be greeted with many happy familiar faces. Campers start arriving to set up their site on Thursday at Camp KeeWanee in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Most of the camping is located in the woods, giving attendees a unique, natural camping experience unlike many other festivals. Two smaller stages, River Worm and Vernville, are set up in the woods surrounded by campers, while the main stages and late night cabins are in a large, open field with vendors and a community fire.

Music kicked off Thursday night in the late night cabins, with acts such as The Cosmic Dust Bunnies and Della Swingers, preparing eager partiers for the weekend ahead. Campers who came early were able to snag their favorite campsites and dance in the cabins. Most people started pouring in Friday, with the music starting as early as 10AM. Acts such as Relative Souls and Gangs of Thieves graced the main stage. With much excitement, the Ryan Montbleau Band, a StrangeCreek favorite, played a captivating set that featured sit ins from other beloved StrangeCreek artists, including Zach Deputy. The John Kadlecik Band had a phenomenal debut at the festival. A great sounding band many hope to see return to the StrangeCreek stage, the Kadlecik Band included keyboardist Todd Stoops playing tunes from the Grateful Dead and more. Friday night’s headliner was Zach Deputy, who was joined by a full band playing fan favorites such as “Chicken Pot Pie.” With the closing of the main stage, the late night cabins started raging. The Grateful Dead cover band Shakedown, started the night off in the Wormtown cabin keeping the energy high as many packed into the cabin to dance the night away.

Saturday’s line up did not disappoint. Returning favorites, the Kind Buds played a fantastic noon acoustic set. Following the Alchemystics set, Marco Benevento played material from his new album, The Story of Fred Short. Marco’s uplifting performance combined a upright piano with various effects and sounds to create a truly unique experience. Another from Zach Deputy followed, this time returning to his solo act. Deputy’s ability to develop and perform entire songs single handedly is as fun to watch as it is fascinating. The long time running northeast jam band Max Creek headlined Saturday with a long four hour time slot. Playing two full sets, Max Creek brought out a huge crowd, and featured originals and covers, with highlights such as the “Big Boat” opener and extended takes on “Just A Rose,” “Said and Done” as well as the four song encore of “Turn On Your Lovelight,” “Cities,” “You’re The Only One For Me” and “How Many People Are You.” Saturday’s late night cabins started with an exciting performance from the colorful band Beebs And Her Money Makers. Beebs killed it with powerful singing and fun stage antics that kept the place rocking.

On Sunday, an overcast sky brought a bit cooler weather which was a nice change from the hot and sunny previous days. Another full day of great music, the lineup was full of StrangeCreek veteran acts and new up and comers. A superb up and coming act Hayley Jane and the Primates put on an awesome first time appearance to the fest that will surely have people hoping for a returning set next year. Hayley was joined by a group of female dancers and fun outfit changes that kept the vibe high and the crowd moving. The traveling Vernville stage located in a small opening in the woods featured an impressive set from another up and coming band Big Something. A band that shows they have something to prove they nailed a fantastic Pink Floyd cover on a day that would also feature a later set by the renowned Pink Floyd cover band, The Machine. Following a mainstage set from the Grateful Dead cover band Shakedown, The Machine brought out a large production as intrigued campers waited for the show to start. Beyond delivering a range of Pink Floyd tunes, The Machine’s performance was notable for its production as large amounts of smoke, lights, and lasers dazzled the crowd as the sounds of Floyd filled the field. The final night of cabins began with Pink Talking Fish, a unique band that performs select covers from Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads, and Phish— a great way to segue out of the Machine’s headlining set and kick off a final night. As the sun began to rise delighted campers got their last dances in to Zach Deputy in before a final good night to secure an end to a truly fantastic weekend.