LOCKN’ Gets It All Right

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Lockn10-12 After a few years of logistical hiccups and growing pains, LOCKN’ number five seems to have gotten it right. This was the LOCKN’ we have been waiting for.

Last Thursday the festival kicked off four days of music at the newly named Infinity Downs Farms located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Arrington, Virginia. In comparison to past years, entry into the grounds was organized and direction to camping was prompt and easy. The entire landscape of the venue (entry, camping, stages, vendors, etc.) had been modified making the festival feel more intimate and easier to navigate.

This year both the single main stage and the Relix Stage/Blue Ridge Bowl (formerly the Shakedown Stage) were both housed within the actual festival. The main stage featured a rotating stage that allowed for, mostly, continuous music throughout the entire day. This stage was also positioned closer to the bowl amphitheatre allowing for a quick walk to and from afternoon and late night sets.

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LOCKN’s lineups have always been built upon a sense of nostalgia. Last weekend was no exception as attendees were gifted with a once-in-a-lifetime headlining set from Phil Lesh with Special Guests Bob Weir, Nicki Bluhm & The Terrapin Family Band performing The Grateful Dead’s classic 1977 album, Terrapin Station, in its entirety. Additionally, Ann Wilson of Heart joined Gov’t Mule on stage to cover everything from Led Zeppelin to Janis Joplin (Garnet Mimms original) to Memphis Slim. The shining moment was the synergetic take on “Magic Man,” from Heart’s debut Dreamboat Annie (1976). Other magical music moments came from The Avett Brothers, in their long awaited LOCKN’ debut, with Bob Weir, Moonalice joined by Jorma Kaukonen, and Lesh sitting in with moe.

Prior to LOCKN’ it was unfortunately announced that moe. bassist Rob Derhak had been diagnosed with cancer and would not be joining his bandmates in Virginia. With Lesh stepping in, Phil.moe. was born. The Sunday set was a mixture of both moe., Grateful Dead hits, and one incredibly memorable cover of The Band’s “Ophelia.” Additional guests appearances were made from Bob Weir, members from The Revivalists, and Nicki Bluhm. This set also marked the last show moe. would play before taking a hiatus.

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LOCKN’ was graced with the stand out and highly anticipated performance from singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, who had to cancel her appearance last year due to illness. As the sun was setting, attendees listened as Carlile made a heartfelt dedication to all of the mothers in the crowd, followed by an emotional performance of “The Mother.” Her set was also speckled with covers of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” and John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” which she invited My Morning Jacket’s Jim James to join her on stage.

Additional notable sets from the weekend came from Widespread Panic with a very fitting rendition of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”, the always rockin’ John Butler Trio, and fan favorites The Revivalists.

Musically and logistically speaking LOCKN’ got it absolutely right this year. But beyond just the festival happenings, LOCKN’ also got something else right. While the world around us turns in turmoil and unrest, the LOCKN’ community came together to form a family built on acceptance, kindness, smiles, and pure love – proving that both Virginia and LOCKN’ are not just for lovers, but they are for everyone.

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It all started when a much younger Jackie dove into her parents’ record collection, grabbed that trippy Magical Mystery Tour album, and played “Strawberry Fields” over and over again until it was engrained into her soul. She grew up on the dreams and stories of Simon and Garfunkel, “Bleeker Street” being one of her favorites, the seduction of The Doors, Van Morrison, because “Brown Eyed Girl” is definitely her song, and the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix…you get the picture. It may not show on the outside, but Jackie has a hippie heart, and that reflects in her musical tastes today. While some of her favorites may or may not be jam bands, her taste in music feeds into many genres. From alternative, Brit, and indie rock - OK, maybe all rock - to pop, to rap, to electronic, she loves it all. As a northerner, she thought she would never understand country until she found herself on a Georgia farm in cowboy boots watching Luke Bryan shake it for her- yeah, she got that. She is a chronic wanderluster, she doesn't believe in guilty pleasures, enjoys a great Moscow Mule, and is an absolute music festival fanatic- you’ll find her wherever the music takes her.

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