Taken from South Florida Sun-Sentinel (March 12, 2006)
Eclectic mix highlights Langerado Music Festival's jam session
by Sean Piccoli Pop Music Writer
Sunrise -- Rejected in previous years, the Jupiter band Boxelder finally got on the card at the Langerado Music Festival that began Saturday at Markham Park.
Boxelder guitarist Matt Cahur, who also runs a small record label, said the breakthrough wasn't just his.
"Two bands from our label made it to the festival, so we're stoked," Cahur said after wrapping up a performance on the Florida Native stage, one of five stages erected across the park for a two-day gathering of local, national and international acts.
Although organizers said a head count wasn't yet available, the fourth edition of Langerado was expected to draw more than 10,000 people Saturday and today.
Originally launched by local promoters as a one-day gathering of so-called "jam bands" in the mold of the Grateful Dead and Phish, Langerado has mushroomed into an eclectic weekend party. Funk, rap, reggae, electronic and alternative groups -- many with no previous connection to the "jam band" scene -- anchored a 41-band parade.
At the Sunset stage, one crowd literally caught Wayne Coyne, lead singer of a theatrical rock combo called Flaming Lips, as he rolled inside a giant plastic bubble unto a bed of upraised hands. A few hundred yards away, another crowd took in the Meters, a veteran New Orleans funk band featuring Art Neville of the Neville Brothers on keyboards.
A concertgoer walking the grounds could sample the sexy electronic pop of Brazilian Girls at the Swamp Tent, catch reggae elder Burning Spear at the adjoining Sunrise stage, and wander back to Florida Native to hear Crazy Fingers play Grateful Dead covers.
Festival-goers cheer for Michael Franti and Spearhead at The Langerado Music Festival at Markham Park in Sunrise on Saturday, March 11, 2006.
Mar. 11, 2006
But more than the bands, it was the audience that marked Langerado as part of the jam bands circuit, with its nods to hippie culture and '60s style. Men in tie-dyed T-shirts and women in batik dresses camped out on the grass. The smell of incense wafted up from some corners of the crowd, and the occasional game of Hackie Sack broke out amid the Frisbee and football tosses.
Carla Yugovich, office manager at the Lighthouse Point Marina, was taking it all in, along with a performance by the southern rock band Drive-By Truckers. Yugovich, who recently moved here from Nantucket, Mass., was treating Langerado as an introduction of sorts to local life, echoing the observations of many new South Florida arrivals: "It's hard to meet people here."
But with two favorites on the bill, roots-rocker Ben Harper on Saturday night and rock band Black Crowes tonight, Yugovich was happy to concentrate on the music and let the socializing take care of itself.
Michael Franti dances and sings on stage with Spearhead during The Langerado Music Festival at Markham Park in Sunrise.
Mar. 11, 2006
In an early afternoon news conference on the grounds, rapper and singer Michael Franti of the group Spearhead said Langerado has become a leading light of what he called "the festival community." And an unofficial launch to the nationwide rock festival season that keeps many bands on the road through September.
Franti also said the Internet has helped Langerado grow by connecting the event to a national audience. "It never would have happened without the Internet," Franti said.
Coyne, at the same news conference, said he wasn't even convinced the Langerado audience needed a lot of music. "They're going to enjoy themselves almost regardless of what the bands do," he said. "We're just the dumb entertainment in the corner."
Sean Piccoli can be reached at email@example.com or 954-356-4832