Langerado is the Super Bowl for hemp & fungi enthusiasts across the country. If tie dye is your favorite color, or if you always carry a hacky sack in your pocket, then this is the music festival for you. This year the event ran for four days, and for the first time it was being held at the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in the Florida Everglades. What happens in the middle of nowhere, stays in the middle of nowhere.
Work prevented me from attending the first day, but the second day was clearly the day to show up with the Beastie Boys & 311 headlining (no offense to Les Claypool & Busdriver, who were also amongst the first day players). A chain link fence led you into the fair grounds, and along the way you’re greeted by both a pirate & Rastafarian flag waving majestically in the breeze. These were sure signs of things to come.
The first band to catch my attention were The Walkmen, but only because I faintly remember having one of their songs in my Itunes line up long ago. The Brooklyn outfit was tight on stage, and they were good for a couple of bounces, but otherwise they faded into the background, as did that song I can hardly remember (editor’s note: Youtube has confirmed that it was called “The Rat”). Next on the schedule were The Wailers, who basically performed a greatest hits concert. You’ve heard ’em & smoked to them before, but luckily a change of pace was provided by Matisyahu, who spit some licks on a rendition of “No Woman No Cry.” Not by accident, this was also when I had my clearest Amsterdam moment. I looked around in the middle of the set to see every form of smoking apparatus known to man. Bongs, joints, blunts, spliffs, apples, bubblers, one-hitters, corn cob pipes and glass pieces blazed in every shape and color. Bob Marley would have been proud.
I was lured across the field by the African reggae of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, who The Walkmen openly endorsed during their set. They shared a dressing room with the All Stars and said, “Those guys sure know how to party.” The group continued the fiesta during their performance, coming out dressed in similar black and red garb, except for the lead singer, who proudly showed off his flair in an all pink jump suit. The band played with pure joy, and in between songs kept on expressing their love of sharing African reggae. For me, this was music in its purest form.