photos by Rob Specht | Wandering Skunk Photography
by Bailey Foss
It’s official, fall has arrived. Many music lovers celebrated the cooler outdoors at the Tribal Equinox Music and Arts Festival.
This past weekend marked the second annual Tribal Equinox, hosted by the Blue Martian Tribe of Omaha. The event pulled hundreds of people in to Riverwest Park in Elkhorn, Neb., for a four-day camping experience. There were more than 60 different bands and DJs from all over the region to enjoy.
“We wanted a local festival where the showcased acts were some of the hottest acts both locally and regionally,” says Ryan Redding, bassist of the Blue Martian Tribe. “We wanted a top-notch festival, with top-notch production, performers, vendors and ambiance for all our closest fans, friends and musical colleagues so we could gather and rejoice in the bond we all share.”
The Blue Martian Tribe is a six-piece ensemble that has been together for more than seven years. They integrate multiple styles of music including rock, trance, jam, funk, jazz and bluegrass, and the band consists of Ryan Redding (bass and vocals), Matt Story (guitar and vocals), Chris Story (keys and vocals), Nick Konecny (guitar), Adam Gerber (drums) and Andrew Alback (percussion). The tribe has traveled to various festivals over the years, including 10KL and Wakarusa.
The Big Wu, a headlining act from Minneapolis, Minn., performed Sunday night of the festival. “Getting to tell the Big Wu how much we love them, how much they influenced us to play music was truly special,” Redding says. The Big Wu is a phenomenal rock 'n' roll jam band that had its would-have-been final tour during the winter of 2006 as the band recently decided to start things up again.
Deadman Flats from the Witchita, Kan., area also performed at Tribal Equinox last weekend, marking their third festival experience in Nebraska. “We played at Lovefest two years ago, and they treated us pretty well so we kept in contact with the right people,” says Matt Stambaugh, mandolin player of Deadman Flats. Stambaugh describes their music as “aggressively progressive bluegrass,” and some of their biggest influences are Ween, Split Lip Rayfield, and the Dead Kennedys.
From Nederland, Colo., Smooth Money Gesture brought great vibes to the festival. When asked how they describe their music, bassist Dan Diminco replied, “It’s kind of the future of classic rock.” Smooth Money Gesture is composed of a mix of funk, rock and jam. Some of their major influences are the Grateful Dead, Phish, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, James Brown and Steely Dan.
“We’re pretty good friends with Blue Martian Tribe at this point,” explained keyboardist, Pete Goldberg. “We’ve had tradeoffs with them. They’ve been out to play in Nederland and we’ve played in Omaha a few times.”
“We’re currently on a four-week tour headed all the way up to Vermont, Mass., West Virginia, and all over the East Coast,” said Cody Wales, drummer of Smooth Money Gesture. Guitarist Doug Diminico and his brother Dan are from the East Coast, so they are excited to go home and see old friends and family. Tribal Equinox was the first stop on their tour. The band will also be starting to record a new album later this fall. A free album can currently be downloaded on their website.
"Both events have been extremely successful. We've grown in just two years by a lot, I think it's safe to say that year three will be happening for sure!” Ryan Redding says. So for any of the festival goers that are hoping for another Tribal Equinox experience, or anyone that missed out on the fun this time around can most likely look forward to a third year.
Other performances from this year’s festival include Obbligato, Heatbox, The Floozies, Fortuitous, Funk Trek, The Jerry Pranksters, The Midland Band, The Weeping Figs, Djem, Groove N Vibe, Soap, Zed Tempo, Mouth, Mr. Blotto, Mountain Standard Time, Wrekafekt, $pencelove, Drum & Disorderly, Sharkweek and Akara. A complete list of all performances can be seen here.
photos by Rob Specht
photos by Bailey Foss
Bailey Foss is a Hear Nebraska contributor. She plays flute and sings in Zed Tempo. Reach her at email@example.com.