The ninth annual Mountain Jam hits Hunter Mountain this weekend: a vivid, family-friendly, vaguely carnivallike tribute to the sounds and spirit of jam-based and blues-and-folk-inflected music. If all goes according to plan, it will be a decidedly warmer and drier festival than last year’s iteration. Mountain Jam runs from Thursday, June 6 through Sunday, June 9.
If the weather is agreeable, there are few music and arts festivals in the world with a more perfect setting, with the main stages set up at the base of an acoustically pleasing mountain. It is green, it is lovely and it is covered with music fans and partiers alike. There will be hippies: the modern-day version and the original issue from back in the day. And they will all go nuts for headliners like Primus, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic and Phil Lesh & Friends. They will also go nuts for groups lower on the bill, like perennial performer Michael Franti & Spearhead, Dispatch and Rubblebucket.
Last year, Mountain Jam promoters made an effort to cast their net wide, bringing to an enthusiastic crowd the Roots, the Ben Folds Five and Charles Bradley & the Extraordinaires. This time around the surprises come less from genre-expansion than from a youth movement, with popular groups like the Lumineers and the Avett Brothers. Returning for a second straight year is young guitarslinger Gary Clark, Jr.
During a late-night deluge last year, LCD Soundsystem’s main conspirator James Murphy turned in a massive deejay set that rolled up the mountain like a funky freight train. Murphy’s DFA labelmates Holy Ghost! will continue the tradition with a deejay set late Saturday night.
And it’s not just about a youth movement onstage. Though the revelry takes on many hazy shapes, Mountain Jam purports to be a kid-friendly environment, and that’s certainly true with the inclusion of excellent local performers like Uncle Rock, Ratboy, Jr., Dog on Fleas and Story Laurie. And there are other activities for the littlest festivalgoers too, like Ash Street Puppetworks, Tipi Village and the Wayfinder Experience: a role-playing game of good and evil.
All VIP options for Mountain Jam are sold out, but if you’re still on the fence about whether to go, you can pick up three- or four-day passes, with or without camping options. Three-day passes cost between $200 and $215 without camping and $232 to $247 with a camping pass, while four-day passes cost between $225 and $240 without camping and $257 to $272 with camping. Single-day passes are also available, ranging from $49 to $99, depending on the day and when you buy.
For more information, including the full artist lineup, schedules and just about everything else that you might need, visit www.mountainjam.com.