Starting in 1994, the multi-day festival was created by Ekoostik Hookah, and has featured acts like Willie Nelson, Bruce Hornsby, Dr. John, Blues Traveler and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, to name a few.
Now in its 15th year, this year's lineup includes 31 bands, ranging from jambands to funk, metal, psychedelic, reggae, world music, americana, surf and everything in between.
Here's the lineup:
Ekoostik Hookah, Les Claypool, Steve Kimock Crazy Engine, The Wailers, Toubab Krewe, Great American Taxi, Freekbass, Oakhurst, Mifune, the Ark Band, Sweet Water Meltdown, My Dear Disco, the Ragbirds, Secret Chiefs 3, the Train Jumpers, Higgins & Madewell Band and Skeleton Crew.
Friday, May 22
Great American Taxi (9pm-Midnight)
Founded in 2005 by Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon and Chad Staehly, the Taxi combines electric folk, alt-country, bluegrass and rock and roll. With over 400 shows under their belt, they've played a lot of music festivals including High Sierra, Wakarusa, Summer Camp, 10,000 Lakes, Dunegrass and Telluride. 2008 saw a brief tour with Railroad Earth, a new lineup and a new album. Aside from Herman and Staehly, the band now features Jim Lewin on electric guitar and vocals, Edwin Hurwitz on bass, Chris Sheldon on drums and vocals, while Barry Sless is considered a member at large adding pedal steel and guitar. Their sound has been compared to New Riders of the Purple Sage, a "Grateful Dead for the new millennium", Wilco, Uncle Tupelo and The Byrds.
Saturday, May 23
Ekoostik Hookah (8pm-Midnight)
The jamband from Columbus that formed in 1991, created the bi-annual Hookahville in 1994, taking place on both the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Though they've put out a number of albums, the band is what you would call a "live band." Having played a number of the smaller music festivals and sharing the stage with artists like Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Weir and Bruce Hornsby, the band can often be found performing in and around their hometown at venues like Newport Music Hall, the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion and Nelson's Ledges Quarry Park. Check out CincyGroove's Scott Preston's interview with bass player Cliff Starbuck here.
The Wailers (5:30-7pm)
With Bob Marley, they have sold over 250 million albums worldwide. The greatest living exponents of Jamaica's reggae tradition, they have played to over 24 million people across the globe. The current lineup includes original members Junior Marvin on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Al Anderson on lead guitar, Aston "Family Man" Barrett on bass and Marcia Griffiths on backing vocals. Also in the band are Keith Sterling on keys and Drummie Zeb on drums. While they continue on with the Marley legacy, they also write and record original material.
Steve Kimock Crazy Engine (3-4:30pm)
A new project for guitar prodigy Steve Kimock, Crazy Engine pushes the boundaries of rock and roll, R&B, gospel and soul. Featuring members of the Jerry Garcia Band, Family Groove Company and Steve's son, John, on drums. Aside from fresh material, they'll also be covering Kimock classics and other classic covers.
Toubab Krewe (12:30-2pm)
An American band playing world music. The guys from Asheville, North Carolina combine American and World Music styles, using intruments from both. Creating instrumental music with the standard guitar/bass/setup, they also bring in the kora (a 21-string harp-flute), the kamelengoni (a 12-string harp-lute), the soku (a Malian horsehair fiddle) and African percussion. They have traveled to West Africa several times, where they have worked with local musicians. Forming in 2005, they have become a favorite at festivals like Bonnaroo, MerleFest, MagnoliaFest, High Sierra, 10,000 Lakes, Vegoose and the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival.
Denver roots rockers, Oakhurst, combine bluegrass and indie-rock, to make a rocking, unpolished sound, as opposed to the typical, lively jambands of the Rocky Mountain region. They've shared the stage with bands like Nickel Creek, Bela Fleck, John Prine, Junior Brown, Arlo Guthrie and Yonder Mountain String Band. In 2007, they were voted the Best Bluegrass Band in Colorado by Denver Westword magazine.
A Cleveland eight-piece with funky rhythms, tight harmonies, soulful vocals and blazing horns to create an irresistable force, using atypical rock instruments like synths, percussion, cello and trombone.
The Ark Band (4:30-5:30pm)
Columbus calypso, reggae band founded in 1987, combining heavenly harmonies and tight, crisp harmonies, covering both original and classic reggae compositions.
Sweet Water Meltdown (2-3pm)
Experimental jamband from Chicago, influenced by everyone from the Grateful Dead to Miles Davis, and the Talking Heads to Medeski, Martin & Wood.
Higgins & Madewell (11:30-12:30pm)
Strong vocals, acoustic guitar and heartfelt lyrics in a mix of country, delta blues and soulful classic rock. Influenced by bands like AC/DC, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, the duo of Erin Higgins and Jeff Madewell have opened for bands like the Plain White T's, Rick Derringer and Firehouse.
Sunday, May 24
Ekoostik Hookah (8pm-Midnight)
Les Claypool (5:30-7pm)
One of the funkiest, freakiest, baddest bass players of all-time, Les auditioned to be in Metallica after Cliff Burton had died, but was said to be "too good." A widely recognized signature sound, most famous for his work with Primus and Oysterhead, although he's done the solo thing, and a number of other projects including the Frog Brigade, Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains and his Fancy Band.
Secret Chiefs 3 (3-4:30pm)
Lead by Terry Spruance, the former guitarist of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, the nine-piece band play everything from surf rock to world music, to death metal and electronica.
Local bass wiz, Chris Sherman, was given the nickname Freekbass by Bootsy Collins, is a graduate of the School of Creative and Performing Arts. He got his start in the local scene, being recruited by P-Funk alumnus Gary Cooper to record a track for a Jimi Hendrix tribute. A mulitple Cammy award winner, Freekbass has played with Bootsy, Buckethead, Animal Crackers and Bernie Worrell.
The Ragbirds (latenight)
Michigan folk group, playing traditional and modern styles to create an infectious world groove.
My Dear Disco (7-8pm)
Electro-pop, funk, rock and techno, into a distinctive sound they call "DanceThink." Will be playing Wakarusa and 10,000 Lakes this summer.
Train Jumpers (4:30-5:30pm)
Skeleton Crew (2-3pm)
Everything else you need to know can be found right here.