"For community." That is the Gardenstock vibe. The Sauk Valley is in for a rare treat on August 16, 2014 when musicians from Australia to Dixon take stage to exchange sonic conversations for the 6th annual Gardenstock Art and Music Festival benefit for Sinnissippi Center's Youth Garden Program.
Music crosses barriers and cultivates community whenever and wherever engaged. Boundaries of time and language fall away through musical exchange. Talk with any local musician and it becomes apparent early on, they thrive on playing with other musicians and communicating through music. Take the conversation further and the word "community" surfaces just as often. It's no surprise then to find them cross pollinating sonically, continuously opening up and exploring new channels of style and genre, expanding the continual and evolving tapestry of one of the oldest forms of human communication. That is music culture at its core.
This culture finds itself alive and well in the extensive musical connections of Australia's number one Blues Guitarist, Gerry Joe Weise. Gerry Joe established himself as a blues rock musician of international acclaim since beginning his career as a soloist in the 1990s. Guitarist, singer and songwriter born in Australia, he has performed throughout the world with such renown and legendary artists as Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Noel Redding and The Yardbirds, among others.
Gerry Joe's numerous international awards and accolades include being named number 1 on the Top Electric Blues charts in Australia. He has 8 solo albums signed to the Chicago based Blues Breaking Records label, including the recent release: "Stormy Sydney 20th Anniversary", celebrating 20 years as a solo recording artist.
Gerry Joe first played Gardenstock in 2012 setting the crowd ablaze with a repertoire spanning genres and stemming from his reverence for Jimi Hendrix. As he states, "When it comes to playing Jimi Hendrix material, we have never been a Cover Band with note-for-note covers, but a Tribute Band influenced and inspired by the essence of Hendrix."
This year, Gerry returns, bringing with him a very special guest, the legendary, former Hendrix Woodstock percussionist, Juma Sultan. Gerry and Juma will play with select local and area musicians, Jay Pauley on keyboards, Bill Encke on bass, and Joe Pasteris on drums. This USA Gerry Joe Weise band is opportunity for our local musicians to play with some of the world's greats.
While Juma Sultan may best be remembered as the percussionist for Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, dig deeper and an amazing story unfolds of a man entrenched in the highly fluid emerging NYC Loft jazz scene of the late 60's and 70's. In 1968, Juma and friend musician, Ali Abuwu established the Aboriginal Music Society, a band, production company and creative collective that pushed the envelop of the Avant-garde jazz scene and creative cross pollination of the East Coast late 60's. The society's motto was, "Any Song. Any Key. Anywhere". Through the Aboriginal Music Society, Juma connected with Jimi Hendrix in the summer of '69 from which emerged the fabled Hendrix band, Gypsy Sun and Rainbows who blazed their way into music legend only a few months later at Woodstock Festival in Bethel, NY.
Juma, current president of the New York Jazz Association and ordained minister possesses an extensive musical history. He's played and recorded with Jimi Hendrix, Archie Shepp, James Blood Ulmer, Noah Howard, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, Sonny Simmons, Daoud Haroon, Asha Nan, Emmeretta Marks, Don Moore Band, and Sankofa. The list only scratches the surface of this musician's connections in a career that has spanned over half a century. In 2006 the Clarkson University in conjunction with Juma, received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to preserve Juma's audio and video documentation of Avant-garde jazz during the 1960s and 1970s. Selections from the archive can be found at www.jumasarchive.org.
Last year, Gardenstock 13 saw over 2200 in attendance and projections suggest that number may climb to 3000 for Gardenstock 14. To accommodate growth, new this year, Gardenstock offers online pre-selling of entrance wristbands and reserve tents. Twenty tents throughout the grounds will be available for reserve, first come first serve. For the benefit of everyone, guests can no longer bring large tables and tents onto festival grounds. This is so everyone can have a great view and so organizers can accommodate the increased number of guests anticipated. However, coolers, blankets, lawn chairs and small, close-to-the-ground tables remain allowed. Tent reserve and wristbands will go on sale online starting, Monday, June 30, 2014 at 7:00 a.m. on the Distinctive Gardens website: www.diggersdelight.com. Guests who preorder can avoid waiting in purchase lines at the gates the day of the event.
Admissions has expanded to include two gates, one "South Gate" located by the Distinctive Gardens shop and a second "East Gate'' located at the entrance to the Art Festival. Admission to the festival is a minimum $5 donation for adults 13 and up and $1 for children 12 and under. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. to give guests a chance to get their spot before the music starts.
Parking has expanded to include a second offsite location on the corner of Lowell Park Road and Timber Creek Road serviced by a shuttle running throughout the day.
11:00 - 12:00 Chuck Gall
12:15 - 1:15 Greg Andreas And Friends
1:30 - 2:30 Small Town Hymnal
2:45 - 3:45 Wandering Pint
4:00 - 5:00 The Climate Changers
5:15 - 6:15 The Hershey Squirts
6:30 - 7:45 Route 88
8:00 - 9:15 The Acoustic Knuckle Ride
9:30 - 11:00 Gerry Joe Weise Band featuring Juma Sultan
The lineup for Gardenstock 14 focuses on exposing the area to the rich cultural community of Sauk Valley musicians and outside the region. Opening the show Polo's 12-String Charlie Gall kicks off the party at 11:00 a.m. Next up, in the collective spirit, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Sauk Valley native, Greg Andreas and friends shine on with a wide musical repertoire. Ever community minded, Greg is involved in several bands and co-hosts a community improv-jam night at The Cooler in Rock Falls. This ongoing cultural event paves way for many local performers to get together and hammer out tunes of any genre exposing the audience to different tastes of music from the area. At 1:30, five-piece, heavenly voiced, Small Town Hymnal offers up alternative folk originals that will send chills up your sonic spine with both lyrics and arrangements. 2:45 welcomes Iowa City band Wandering Pint. 4:00 brings in the southern Illinois contingent, The Climate Changers. 5:15 surfs up with The Hershey Squirts. Self-proclaimed, "greatest surf band ever", the Squirts will have you up and dancing your fool head off. 6:30 will keep you up and rocking with the young charmers known as Route 88. Rte. 88er fans have got to be the most dedicated fans in the area. 8:00 rings in with the mesmerizing and wicked acoustic flurry of, The Acoustic Knuckle Ride. The Gardenstock ride was born last year when this set of 5 seasoned pros stepped on stage and blew our minds. Tightly knit and passionate this band has ridden into the acoustic scene carrying with them their experience in ground shaking thunder of electric rock and roll. At 9:00, closing act Gerry Joe Weise band with special guest Juma Sultan bring the magic of Gardenstock to a rip-roaring finale.
The Art Festival grows featuring 40 of the region's best artists showcasing a variety of unusual art and fine craft from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is packed with veteran Gardenstockers: Sinnissippi Center Garden Program kids selling handmade tie-dye t-shirts; jewelers, Kimberly Clark, Heather Houzenga, Becky Cortez, Sasha Tweel, Natalie Picchi, Kristin Jones, Ellen Repass; painters, Tim Drane, Erin Clark, Jessica Lopez, Maureen Gasek, Deb Cleary, Emily Garcia; sculptors, Paul Algueseva, Leland Sedig, Sloane Wolfe; photographers, Brian Lutz, Tina Rockwell, Kevin Smoot; ceramicists, Teri Wells, Carol Deibert, Bob Milano; and mixed media artists, Brittany Waterhouse, Laura Miller, Crystal Collinson, Heather Cavanaugh, Henry Matthiessen, Heather Marshall, Jane Forrest-Zia. New artists include: painter, Sydni Reubin, photographer, Holly Evanchik Donovan, jeweler, Dale Curry, and mixed media artists, Cindy Bielefeldt, Heidi Earl, Lisa Anderson, Jayne DeMarco, Amber Goldie, and Susi Alvarado Daniel.
Last year, the Tie Dye contest had exceptionally fierce competition. Groups gathered weeks before Gardenstock and threw Tie Dye making parties to prepare. Fest goers can enter by getting their picture taken between 11:00-3:00 p.m. Voting begins on Facebook between 3:00-6:00 p.m. Most 'likes' on Gardenstock's Facebook page wins.
This year's raffle has an amazing array of art from over two-dozen Gardenstock artists. A catalog of their offerings can be found at the Gardenstock page on Distinctive Gardens website as well as the Gardenstock Facebook page's 2014 Donation Album. Buy raffle and 50/50 tickets at the Info Booth starting at 11:00 or from raffle ticket sellers. Raffle drawing times: 2:30, 3:45, 5:00, 6:15 p.m. 50/50 drawing is at 7:45 p.m.
Gardenstock is ''picnic style'' meaning you can bring your own chair or blanket and cooler or beverage. From 11 – 8 p.m., food vendors offer a fine range of beverage and cuisine such as Italian by Mama Cimino's, barbeques and desserts by Baker Street Café, loaded Italian beef sandwiches by Kokomo's, creative desserts by Art Cookies, and smoothies by Air Play Sports and Espresso.
Pack your coolers, throw the kids in the car, and grab that favorite tie-dye. It's Gardenstock time! It will be the best bang for your cultural buck in town, Saturday, August 16, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. at Distinctive Gardens in Dixon, IL.
The Sinnissippi Center's Youth Garden Program provides valuable hands-on gardening experiences for at risk youth involved with Sinnissippi and is a great tool to open lines of communication. The Gardening Program serves as an add-on to regular services and utilizes both consumers and individuals from the community to raise produce from a vegetable garden that in turn is donated to the Dixon Food Pantry.
For more information on Gardenstock, please visit: Distinctive Gardens Gardenstock page or the Facebook Gardenstock page.