Bridgeport, CT- Known as the Northeast’s premier music, arts and camping festival, the 17th annual Gathering of the Vibes delivered a fantastic extended weekend. We at The Connecticut Weekender were fortunate enough to attend, with Justin getting the inside scoop on what the camping scene is really like, and Amber taking advantage of some great photo opportunities. Although the weather on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday was absolutely perfect, Friday’s weather wasn’t for the faint of heart. Wind, rain and cooler temperatures kept some of the crowd away despite the awesome lineup, and made some campers wish they had brought extra sweatshirts and tarps!
With over 40 bands performing on multiple stages located throughout the 370-acre beachfront venue at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT, the festival was a huge success and an incredible amount of fun. The lineup included Primus, Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir & Bruce Hornsby with Special Guest Branford Marsalis, Mickey Hart Band, Sound Tribe Sector 9, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, 7 Walkers, The Greyboy Allstars, and Steel Pulse, along with Vibes favorites Dark Star Orchestra, Zappa Plays Zappa and Bridgeport’s own Deep Banana Blackout.
The Avett Brothers closed out the weekend on Sunday evening with an incredible performance. There is just something about outdoor music festivals that bring a certain depth to a performance. They had the crowd entranced as they sang their sweet melodies and I still find myself humming some of my faves even a week later! Their performance was definitely my favorite and I would love to see them come to Connecticut again.
Beyond the stellar lineup, the festival itself can be described as something from an alternate reality, where strangers become friends, everyone is equal and you cannot help but feel like the world is an amazing place.
One thing I noticed throughout the weekend was the feeling of companionship and togetherness. In between sets, regular festival goers would start collecting the empty water bottles and trash scattered throughout the stage area to clean up. When Justin was in need of a tarp on Friday to keep his tent dry, his neighbors conveniently offered one of theirs up. Simple acts of kindness throughout the weekend became the norm, and if you didn’t lend a hand to the stranger juggling too many food items and a baby, you were regarded as a selfish outsider.
If you weren’t able to attend this year, definitely consider it for next year. Bring a blanket, some sunscreen, a bottle of water (which can be refilled for free at the water stations!) and an open heart because you are bound to have a weekend of escape! Some festival goers even arrived by boat. The Gathering of the Vibes is by far one of the coolest weekends Connecticut has to offer.
We at The Connecticut Weekender are officially deeming The Gathering of the Vibes Festival a tradition and I think Justin might be able to convince the entire clan to rent an RV and camp next year!
Were you at Gathering of the Vibes? What was your weekend like? Comment below!