MOOSIC — For more than 12 hours Saturday, music filled the air around The Pavilion at Montage Mountain as Cabinet presented its second-annual music festival.
The purveyors of Pennsylvania Bluegrass gathered 14 other artists for the “Susquehanna Breakdown,” an eclectic mix of music ranging from the experimental rock and jazz of Marco Benevento to the soul and funk of Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds.
Other main-stage performers (which was dubbed the “Susquehanna Stage” for the festival) included The Brummy Brothers, Eastbound Jesus, Freight Train, Driftwood, And The Moneynotes, and Floodwood featuring Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico from moe.
Performers on the satellite stage (the “Breakdown Stage”) included Schooley Mountain Band, Tom Graham, Blind Owl Band, Kalob Griffin Band, Coal Town Rounders, Leroy Justice, and Terrapin Flyer featuring Jerry Garcia Band organist Melvin Seals and RatDog guitarist Mark Karan.
A third stage featured performances by Cabinet’s Pappy Biondo in an early morning campers-only set and later with a kid friendly set, Mollie Edsell, Jordan Tarter, Abby Millon, and a last-call, late-night set by Rogue Chimp.
Early afternoon favorites included Scranton’s own And The Moneynotes, providing its patented mix of folk, swing, burlesque and rock, in its annual one-time-only reunion performance.
Coal Town Rounders, another Pennsylvania Bluegrass band, played traditional favorites on the satellite stage beginning at 6:45. The four musicians gathered around a single microphone with acoustic instruments to alternate between spirituals and songs such as the Flying Burrito Brothers’ “Christine’s Tune (Devil In Disguise)” and “Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms.”
Back on the main stage, Benevento led an hour-long dance party as the keyboardist and his backing band of bass guitar and drums played songs to be featured on his latest album coming in September, interspersed with snippets of Nilsson’s “Jump Into The Fire” and Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.”
Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based funk and soul band, followed with a high energy 75-minute set. Singer Arleigh Kincheloe and the six-piece band scored on songs such as opener “The Long Way,” “Sugar” and a horn-driven cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.”
Festival-organizers Cabinet turned in an impressive, nearly two-hour performance highlighting songs from its most recent release, “This Is Cabinet, Set II.” Banjo player Pappy took the lead on the early songs such as “Old Farmers Mill” (the inspiration for the festival’s original name “Old Farmers Ball”) and “Heavy Rain.”
Mandolinist and vocalist JP Biondo took over for spirited romps through “Poor Man’s Blues,” “Caroline” and The Byrds’ “Mr. Spaceman” as the clock struck midnight.
Fittingly, the band finished up with an explosive version of its instrumental “Susquehanna Breakdown,” bringing the music on the main stage to a close at 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
The rain held off until Terrapin Flyer got started on the Breakdown Stage after Cabinet’s set on the main stage. The Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia Band tribute act played classics once covered by the JGB such as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “After Midnight” and “Dear Prudence.”
Tenor saxophonist Ron Holloway, who has worked extensively with the Susan Tedeschi Band plus the Allman Brothers Band and its offshoots Gov’t Mule and the Derek Trucks Band, sat in with most of the festival’s performers.
Sam Cutler, best known as the tour manager for the Rolling Stones’ 1969 U.S. Tour that ended with the disastrous free concert at Altamont and the highly successful 1972 European Tour for the Grateful Dead, served as the festival’s emcee.