"The Ties That Bind"
Written By: Adam Epstein & Max Pottebaum
Photos By: Duncan Ross
Ohio’s best-kept secret resides in the unlikeliest of places. Proto-electro jam act The Werks
, along with festival organizers Funky Bean Productions and Alchemy House Presents, helmed by executive director Tom Blessing, drew artists of all creeds and codes to the
3rd annual The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival
September 20th-23rd. The event capped off yet another successful season for Midwest camping fests, proving that this thriving industry boasts great music throughout each and every one of the region’s heartland states. Following two years of surpassed attendance expectations at Zane Shawnee Caverns, the promoters projected another jump in patrons and subsequently relocated to a grander stage. In their junior effort The Werks & family established a new residence at one of Ohio’s most renowned outdoor venues: Legend Valley. The park, Circa de Columbus, is a natural phenomena dear to the heart of Ohio’s thriving jam-music scene. Having hosted several Grateful Dead fests during the 1970’s, the infamous amphitheatre breathes quite the tradition of awesomeness.
Despite the absence of a glamorous lineup, artist selection here was sensational, because in Ohio it’s all about family. It’s here where the Midwest’s most friendly people (always up for debate) introduces an alternatively-managed festival that draws in only the best acts, not names. Featuring renowned performances from the likes of Lotus
, Break Science
surely enticed festi-heads abroad. Moreover, it was the a plethora of under-scribed acts such as Kung Fu, Roster McCabe, The Heavy Pets
, Indigo Sun and Skeetones
who filled the air with eccentric waves unbeknownst to many music-lovers. In this aspect, The Werk Out Music & Arts festival is unparalleled.
Road warriors Roster McCabe (pictured above) performed Friday afternoon on the main stage, engaging the audience with their distinct sound. Almost certainly coming to a town near you!
Funky and diverse Kung Fu (pictured) hails from Connecticut & got the crowd’s feet grooving during twilight Friday. Watch for these guys to hit the national scene soon enough.
Encompassing generations of musical evolution, energetic duo EOTO brought their incomparable lotus flower light-rig Friday night. This powerful sensory experience is a journey through festival art, portraying visuals from real pieces at their show.
Indianapolis sensation The Twin Cats brings heavy funk, trance and synth fusion that’s soothing to the ears. If you ever get the opportunity to see a live show, don’t dare miss out!
“Holy Toledo!”, “Knights of Columbus!”…whatever you want to call it, our hosts The Werks summoned the legends of jam from a stormy sky during their Friday evening set. Leaving the entire capacity in awe seems to be their forte’.
To close out an epic night, Matt Butler, A.K.A. Everyone Orchestra conducted a wide variety of participants from the night’s festivities. His increasing repertoire includes members from notable groups like The Grateful Dead, Phish, Moe. , String Cheese Incident, even Adrian Belew, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur as well as Tuvan throat singers, live painters, dancers, chanters, choirs, hula hoopers, firespinners, jugglers, stilt-walkers, storytellers, a presidential candidate are among hundreds in his growing legion of performers.
Chicago-bred IndigoSun brought their innovative sounds to an eager Saturday afternoon crowd. Collaborating with guitarist Mike Rempel from Lotus and finishing their set with feel-good tune “Float On” left quite the imprint on a foreign crowd.
The unique music of Zoogma piqued the interests jam and hip/hop fans alike for a memorable Saturday night set. I doubt that anybody will be asking who the f*** they are for much longer.
The subtle sounds of Lotus (pictured) warmed the masses on the Midwest’s first frigid autumn night. Their unmistakable melodic ways leaves audiences in a sure state of bliss.
There was no shortage in swag during Break Science’s banger set. Pretty Lights Music affiliates Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee (pictured) mixed their Brooklyn based hip/hop into an extremely charismatic set.
To close out their festival, The Werks and co. gave their audience a triumphant bow. Though the act came all but naturally to them, it symbolized the welcoming of each open mind into their own family.
Certainly The Werk Out hosts artists in each facet of jam music, but what sets this gathering apart is the immutable endorsement in exhibitions of art that demonstrate true intrinsic value. This expression is placed front and center for all patrons to relish in, encouraging growth through imaginative means. In congruence with this majesty is the energetic unity provided by music that spurs additional arts. It is through reciprocity where endless inspiration derives. It is only here where you find art “werkshops” extending, but not limited to painting, hooping, belly dancing, poi/flow arts, meditation, yoga, reiki and a whole multi-galaxy of energy healing practices. It’s no coincidence that the intensification of music and art festivals, including this one, aspires to relieve people of stress by connecting kinetically, face to face. It seems that in the course of ridding away our external expectations what was once “so hard to find”
has inevitably found us.
As a byproduct of our greater connectivity we’ve all essentially tapped a keg of an unknown brew by which we can provide for all who are soul receptive. This cocktail of strange arrangements has proven thus far to be our point of articulation, thus The Werk Out Fest. Let us all take a social to what we have created, for this transformation, like all great ideas, is created from necessity and is as elementary as function itself. These ties that bind provoke a spirit that unveils the compositions of everyone’s equal matter.
The looming cosmic rearrangement over next winter solstice beholds a breaking point which requires reverberating positivity in order for all to enlighten simultaneously. In laymen terms, the energy which you put out into the universe through inter as well as self-actions will benefit a universal cause. With The Werk Out Festival marking autumnal equinox, we now enter the 4th quarter of rotation, surely this coming solstice will not lead us into overtime, rather a renewed understanding. Stationing yourself in between this teeter could prove to be change necessary for society or at the very least, influence your own.