Meadville Tribune

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April 19, 2013

Riverside Music Festival starts tonight

CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — Hypnotic Clambake has served up its unique musical smorgasbord all over the country (and even further out) over the years, sharing famous stages — really big and really small — with jam legends and master musicians of many an ilk.

And bandleader Maury Rosenberg said all it took to know he wanted to bring some Clambake to the Riverside Music Festival this weekend was catching his first vibe last year at the Riverside Inn.

“As soon as I walked in” to the sounds of open-air live sessions mingling with the tangibly other-place-in-time feel throughout that historic locale, “I fell in love with the place ... (and) this festival,” Rosenberg said. “There’s really nothing quite like it that I’ve seen anywhere else.”

Rosenberg said when he met Justin Moyar (chief organizer of the three-day, three-stage, all-free festival in Cambridge Springs) he told him just that — and added that Clambake would be happy to come out to play there next year.

That’s now. And Hypnotic Clambake are set to take the stage as the Saturday night headliners at the festival, now in its third year and also featuring the Bernie Worrell Orchestra — showcasing the intergalactic soundscapes of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted synth-funk master Worrell along with his seven-piece ensemble — on the main stage tonight.

Worrell — best known by many for his groundbreaking, funky instrumental work in the original Parliament-Funkadelic as well as with Talking Heads — “always pulls something out that’s new,” BWO bandleader and drummer Evan Taylor said during an on-the-road interview this week.

“He really does push it all the time,” and, through that sonic expression, “he really knows how to impact people,” Taylor said. That’s “Bernie at his best, doing what he does.”

Worrell said what he’s always doing, along with the musicians he works with, is “creating a vehicle” — a vehicle put into motion “so people can let loose, and dance and have fun. I don’t stick to one thing — I mix music. ... (And) we just take people on a journey.”

“Sometimes I wish I was in the audience,” Taylor said with a laugh.

Fortunately, according to Moyar and others, the Riverside Music Festival has a way (or, lots of ways) of connecting artists with audiences and vice versa, offering up — again, free of charge — an expanded, jam-packed schedule today through Sunday that features more than 40 top national, regional and local acts; an always-open invitation to open jams and mix-it-all-together pickin’ parties; and an even-larger array of music- and arts-driven workshops and demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Last year, a total of about 6,000 people attended the two-stage festival over the course of its second-year weekend, according to Moyar. This year, he expects around 8,000 or so who may attend and to take some — or all — of it in.

“It’s gotten to the point where it’s about as big as it’s ever going to get,” Moyar said. With the continued interest and support for the artists and arts being presented, “we can just continue making it more interesting.”

Along with getting into everything to do, everyone interested in what’s happening can help support the Riverside Music Festival in a variety of ways throughout the weekend — there will be commemorative buttons available by donation, prize drawings and auctions featuring goods from local businesses and lots more, Moyar said.

And throughout it all, there will be music galore.

“I’m not joshing you when I say it’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time,” Rosenberg said. “We’re getting up there early, man, ’cause we’re psyched.”

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