Gathering of the Vibes 2013: 5 Best Acts This Year

Since 1996, the Gathering of the Vibes has been drawing great acts to the northeast. 2013 marks the festival’s ninth return to Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT, and this year’s got some pretty rad names in the lineup. Grace Potter and Tribal Seeds all in one day, anyone? Whether you’re a deadhead or just a good vibes enthusiast, here are the top artists to catch while you’re vibin’ out at this year's festival.

1. John Butler Trio


With all their acoustic jam band swag, these Australian roots legends are a perfect fit for Gathering of the Vibes. They’ve been around for 15 years now, and the trio’s last three studio albums — Sunrise Over Sea (2004), Grand National (2007), April Uprising (2010) — all debuted at number one and garnered platinum status in Australia. But the real question is, why haven't John’s dreads been given platinum status as well?

2. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals


It’s no surprise that Grace Potter and her Nocturnals landed in the Gathering of the Vibes lineup this year; the band toured as an indie-folk act with jam band festival circuits in their early days of 2002. Now Potter and her owls (get it?) have come a long way from their humble origins, and musically they’ve departed quite a bit from an underground folksy group — just check out the video for “The Lion The Beast The Beat” below if you don’t believe me. But arena rock or not, these Nocturnals have some doubtlessly gritty riffs and great vibes to watch for at this festival.

3. The Black Crowes


These rockers just scream dirty rock — from their name, to their plaids and long hair and aviators, to the way lead singer Chris Robinson wails. This festival marks a return after the band’s second hiatus, so the stage is sure to be lit with some reunited blues-rock energy. Be prepared for some classic vibes and good ol’ fashioned distorted guitar solos from these ol’ fashioned Crowes.

4. Tribal Seeds


Here’s something a little different! Hear that piccolo snare and wah-wah guitar? Reggae should be a wonderful break from the grittiness of the likes of the above bands, but still not too far a departure from the chill and D.G.A.F vibes of the fest. So make sure you check out Tribal Seeds while you get this chance, and dose yourself with some melodies inspired by lead singer Steve Rene Jacobo’s “herbal garden.”

5. Blues Traveler


Lend your ears to that dancing harmonica and there should be no surprise why this act has made it’s way to the Gathering of the Vibes 2013 lineup. The name “Blues Traveler” says everything you should need to know about their music: great if you’ve get the blues, and a phenomenal choice for your road-trip to Gathering of the Vibes this year.

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Jake Stein

Editor-In-Chief of The Portland Spectator at Portland State University.

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