The weather was sunny, the temps were HOT, and the stages were all ready to go. The PNW media team hit the road and off we went, excited to see some amazing artists and absorb the wonderful vibe that was already charging through the Facebook event page and that we’ve come to expect from the attendees of many of these events! What was going on you ask?The 5th Annual North Umpqua Music Festival took place July 17-19 2015 in Glide, about 13 miles east of Roseburg, Oregon.
As you can see in the picture below, the valley we were in was gorgeous. We were surrounded by rolling hills that echoed the music back to us and intensified it to almost orgasmic proportions. Although the Summer heat had the hills looking a bit brown, there was plenty of Oregon beauty to be had and it perfectly set the stage for the music that the promoters brought to the event and the blessings all the artists had for the festival goers….
When we arrived things seemed very chaotic and there wasn’t anyone in charge of directing vendors or media that we could find. The festival owners seemed very scattered and unorganized and it took a bit for us to find out where to camp. Eventually we came across a straping young man in a golf cart who was able to show us where to go. We ended up being the first campers on site this year so we had our choice of camp sites.
The campground was neatly laid out with posts separating the individual sites from each other. They were clearly laid out, and there were roughly 60 sites from what we could tell as well as an entire area for campers and 5th wheels to set up at.
The main problem was shade! There wasn’t any to be had around, you had to create your own! Thankfully we never go without our pop-up tent and tapestries, so we were able to create our own oasis of shade in the middle of a very dry and hot camp area. The campground never really filled up during the event either, from what I could tell it only ever hit about 60% capacity. Plenty of room for growth!
Our first evening rolled to a close and we couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the Oregon sunset……
The Music Festival – Opening Day – Friday – July 17
The gates opened at 9 AM and unfortunately the steady stream of cars coming in never materialized. With the amount of promotion we were witness to between flyers and Facebook event sharing by a multitude of people made me think there would be 1,000+ entrants on the first day. That didn’t happen, and it left the main event area empty enough that kids were able to play with a Frisbee without bothering anyone.
The music was supposed to begin with Lady Reiko and the Sin City Prophets, but car troubles put them behind schedule and the day’s music began with Ital Vibes. Their blend of roots reggae had the small crowd on their feet in no time and the entire festival was soon riding a wave of amazing vibes that continued throughout the weekend.
Throughout the day each artist worked to increase the level of love and happiness felt by all the attendees. Iya Terra and Norma Fraser both had electric sets and the music kept moving right along like they were programmed to do so. There were no breaks, no hang-ups, no empty sets. The music was right there when you wanted it, and it was all thanks to the man himself, Gorilla!
Gorilla was the music promoter who ended up wearing something close to like 11 different hats during the event. From volunteer coordinator to music promoter to vendor coordinator, the man flew around the festival grounds like a super hero and kept everything running so smoothly that the crowd never realized anything was amiss. We only knew about it from our behind the scenes activities, and talking to other vendors and attendees there would be an awed hush when they whispered how they “saw that dude EVERYWHERE!”
More on the man later……….
The evening ended with both Synrgy and Arise Roots blasting out some rockin sets and lifting everyone up to such heights that the after parties lasted for a couple of hours after. The line up for the first day was PERFECT and left EVERYONE wanting much more!! We retired to our tent tired and sweaty, but ready for the next day that’s for sure!
Day 2 – Saturday – July 18
The second day started very hot from the time the sun crested the mountains. We were dripping sweat by 9 am and VERY glad that the property owners had a couple of water stations set up since we blasted through the water we brought very quickly.
Fully hydrated, we headed back to the stage and vendor area to brave the heat and brutal sun…..
Our first stop was at the Idleyld Lodge food truck for some biscuits & gravy. How can I put this…..these were truly EPIC! The biscuits were amazing cowboy style biscuits that were toothy and flavorful. These are exactly the biscuits you want for this meal but many restaurants fall short on this. They should all take lessons from Idleyld for sure!
The sausage gravy was spectacular, fresh made daily (the restaurant is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the festival site) and thick enough to coat but not so thick that you didn’t have enough for all of your biscuit. Topped off with their “Yld” sauce, which was a spicy sweet sauce made with peach puree and habanero peppers. The sauce was almost better than Sriracha on our meal. Sadly, we ate it too damn fast to show you guys what it looked like, you’ll have to make the trip to Glide, Oregon to see it yourself!
Well fortified for the day, we ventured off to visit the vendor booths to see what could be purchased for attendees…..
The first vendor booth we stopped at was the Crafty Banner booth, ran by an amazing woman who goes by the name Banner. She creates custom apparel including shirts, aprons, pants, shorts, patches, and much more. We walked in just in time to see her fitting a cute young girl who rocked her rasta top the rest of the festival! We saw her several times for the rest of the weekend and she was wearing that top EVERY TIME!
The Crafty Banner rocked sales all weekend long and looked to be one of the busier booths that sold merch instead of food. We watched a steady stream of customers come in and out of the booth, and we saw several pairs of her rasta shorts and pants wandering the festival grounds. Make sure you stop in her booth or check out her website to pick up some of her custom creations of your own!
We skipped past a couple of glass booths (if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, right?) and the next booth in line was a gem merchant who had gorgeous gems and minerals! I couldn’t believe everything they had at the booth. We spoke with a young man who was running the booth and he showed us his altar table with gems and arrangements to help bring love, peace, and prosperity to the festival attendees.
We saw several other vendor booths including the HUGE booth held by one of the event sponsors, Oregon’s Constant Gardener with Oregon’s Only Nectar for the Gods nutrient line. We didn’t get a chance to stop in as they were either VERY busy or there wasn’t anyone in the booth when we were going by.
The heat was over 100 degrees at this point so we needed to run away and try to escape the heat. We grabbed some friends and headed to the river, only about a half a mile away from the festival grounds!
Once refreshed we headed back to the festival ready for some food and more adventures. We hit the camp site for a change of clothes and our camera and headed straight for the Rumgrill Pirate booth for their spectacular tacos! Pam & Randy are a wonderful team slinging up some great pulled pork and marinated chicken, and it’s available as a rice plate or in their street tacos. We tried both, and we’ll review the RumGrill separately to tell you what we thought of the food…….but I’ll say now that we LOVED the tacos.
Randy spent some time talking to us and told us of the journey it was to create the trailer. The pirate ship is actually made from recycled pool siding, fencing, and other recycled items. It’s hand built and you can see the love the two owners put into each shift.
At this point the music was beginning for the day. Acoustic Minds played an early set instead of the DJ, so the day began again with live music that set the tone for the day. Music kept popping right along, with Black Salt Tone and the Scott Pemberton Trio giving a funky break to the steady stream of reggae. Black Salt Tone was a particular favorite of ours, and their set ended in a crescendo that lifted us up and had us eagerly looking forward to the next set!
We wandered a bit more talking to random festival goers and vendors, finding time and time again that everyone loved the event and there were many blessings and well wishes around. After a bit we came across the last vendor we wanted to highlight, the Cannaflage Designs team. These were a pair of wonderful people who take some breathtaking pictures of beautiful cannabis flowers to create their designs.
Karen and Scott are a great team we originally met at the Oregon Hemp Expo back in March 2015, they were happy to talk to us about how their growing and how the cannabis industry has been good to them.
Next to the Cannaflage Designs team was a very low-key OMMP tent. You had to be a OMMP card-holder (even though cannabis is now legal in Oregon the event was NOT a stoner’s paradise) to enter, and you got to sample some great tasting concentrates using an incredible glass recycler. As a medical patient, I was able to go in the tent and sample this myself.
Look at that piece! It was thick, durable, beautiful, and hit like a champ! Now medicated and pain free we headed back out to the music….but before the main concerts started that night we ran into one of the most inspirational people we’ve met, Kirk O’hara AKA Paintmouth. We weren’t crass enough to ask why he was in the wheelchair, however we were mesmerized by his painting skills.
Ital Vibes took the stage again in the early evening and the crowds began to fill the event area in preparation for the night’s headliner. Sol Seed came next and rocked the house, and the crowd’s anticipation reached a fever pitch. Everyone was waiting for the main headliner for the event, Rootz Underground.
After an electric set we had a chance to talk to Stevie Lightning about his thoughts of the festival. With a languid smile and an arm around the promoter Gorilla, in his thick Jamaican accent all he would say is, “Look at the smiles on the faces in the crowd, that says everything!”
We closed the evening listening to some live music coming from the artists camping area, going to sleep with some rarely heard music drifting across the camp area to mix with the reggae being played from individual boomboxes. The wave of feelings was high, Rootz did a hell of a job lifting you up and then taking you even higher just when you thought they were going to set you back down.
Day 3 – Sunday – July 19
The sun rose on the final day just as hot as it had been, and the PNW team was ready to head home. We wandered a bit more through the event area grabbing some more photos. First we stopped at the woodfired pizza booth to watch their dough slinger in action.
Then we swung back by the RumGrill to try their Island Rice Plate.
And caught the Crafty Banner team relaxing watching the early acts…..
There wasn’t much left to do but listen to some music before ending the day. Soul Vibrator began the day, and while we appreciated their funky bass lines and excellent instrumentals the singer could use some voice lessons. Lady Reiko finally took the stage and her message of peace and love was a great way to wind down the event. One A Chord was up next…..other than an odd name I don’t have much to say about them. They weren’t horrible by any means, just not that memorable.
South Bay Dub All Stars ended the evening and festival was closed by 6 PM. They were a 10-piece ensemble with a 3-piece horn section that delivered an unstoppable reggae groove with a mix of funk, soul, hip-hop and pop flavors. We didn’t catch their set, we left a bit early to beat the crowds out of the gate and to hit the river one more time before we made the drive home, but reports are that they rocked the end of the festival.
The entire weekend was filled with fun, music, love, peace, well wishes, and we met some of the most amazing people. There may not have been the amount of attendees that we all expected but that wasn’t a problem. The vendors all felt that the vendor fees would have been worth it just to see the line-up, and there were very little complaints to be heard. It truly was a weekend of love and respect….
Before I wrap up I wanted to bring a special highlight to the man himself, Gorilla. As we mentioned above, he was the music promoter in charge of getting the acts & artists settled in but ended up wearing almost ALL the hats you could possibly wear at a festival.
He was the MC, the vendor and volunteer coordinator, the complaint department, the planning committee, and much more! Everytime we ran into him he looked tired but having fun. We wanted to give a special shout out to him because we KNOW the music and the ENTIRE EVENT wouldn’t have been such a success without him! With experience as the promoter for Indubious and other major reggae acts, his is the name to watch out for in the music industry in the PNW right now! If you need a promoter, get a hold of him and he will work his magic for you!
Bless up Super Gorilla, PNWCR and all of our fans LOVE you!
See everyone at the next event………!