Music Finds & Festival Gear Finds

Part of the fun of festivals is finding new favorite bands. Check out these four acts playing music bashes in the region.  

The Allman Betts Band

Fans of the Allman Brothers Band should take notice of this family offshoot carrying the legacy forward of the Southern blues explorers. As the name suggests, the Allman Betts Band features the progeny of original Allman Brothers members, including Devon Allman (son of Gregg) and Duane Betts (son of Dickey). Together the guitarists will embark on a massive tour this summer, honoring the 50th anniversary of the Allman Brothers by playing classics like “Blue Sky” and “One Way Out,” while also diving into new material from the forthcoming album of originals, Down To the River. Appearing at: Back Home Festival and Lockn’ Festival 

Della Mae

Speaking of the Allman Brothers, the Grammy-nominated bluegrass quartet Della Mae crush an acoustic version of “Whipping Post” on the new Butcher Shoppe EP. Lead singer Celia Woodsmith brings a throaty intensity to match the original’s vocals but Kimber Ludiker’s sweet fiddle lines give the staple a pastoral reimagining. Another standout, “Bourbon Hound,” is a ragtime romp with fiery solos that land between lyrics celebrating brown-water-fueled fun. Following the departure of guitarist Courtney Hartman, the group gets some help on the new effort from Molly Tuttle and Alison Brown. As this band of quick pickers finds new footing, they’re heading in a promising direction. Appearing at: Red Wing Roots Music Festival

The Yawpers 

Named after a line in a Walt Whitman poem and coming off a concept album (2017’s Boy in a Well) about a tragedy set in World War II-era France, the Yawpers are a Colorado-based garage-blues trio that combines distortion with thought-provoking depth. Using a bass-free, two-guitar-and-drums attack, the band delivers raw rockabilly grooves, primitive Delta callbacks, and full-throttle punk workouts, led by front man Nate Cook’s howling vocals and angst-releasing lyrics. Human Question, the band’s third effort for the insurgent country label Bloodshot Records, expands the band’s righteously ragged, roots-driven sound even further; from the juke-joint boogie of “Child of Mercy” to the gospel-fueled “Carry Me.” Appearing at:  FloydFest

The Soul Rebels

The Soul Rebels

If you appreciate a proper blast of New Orleans brass, this eight-piece ensemble always delivers. Well versed in traditional Crescent City sounds, the Soul Rebels also like to branch out from their roots, using powerful horn lines to play brass-band-style covers of beloved pop, rock, and hip-hop songs. At the big band’s energetic live shows, crowds can be dancing to a funky second-line groove one minute, then singing along to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” or the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” the next. The group’s ability to incorporate a wide breadth of musical styles has led to collaborations with a diverse range of artists—from Nas and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to Pretty Lights and Marilyn Manson. When home, the band plays a weekly residency at New Orleans’ Le Bon Temps Roule, but they’ve been traveling around the world to play festivals, including some notable events this summer in the South. Appearing at: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and Lockn’ Festival

Festival Gear

Sonic adventures require the right equipment. Let BRO tune you in to the best gear for multi-day festivals. 

Topo Designs River Short

Cool and comfortable shorts are key when you’re hopping from stage to stage. Topo’s River Shorts—available for men and women—are made with breathable, water-repellent nylon that offers two-way stretch to keep you mobile. Another essential feature: the zippered back pocket that keeps your keys, cash, and cards secure when you’re busting a move. $79; topodesigns.com 

California Cowboy High Water Shirt

It’s more than a well-made reboot of the classic Aloha shirt. Beyond a stylish summer print, the shirt— hand-sewn in Santa Ana— has a secure sunglasses loop and two unique pockets: one made to hold a bottle and another with lining to keep your phone dry. The best addition, though, is the built-in towel that will soak up sweat when you’re dancing under the Southern sun. $135; californiacowboy.com 

Hydro Flask 32 oz. Wide Mouth

Don’t waste your money on an overpriced plastic bottle of water at a concession stand. Most festivals these days have free water filling stations, so be ready with Hydro Flask’s Wide Mouth. The bottle’s pro-grade stainless steel is a healthier way to hydrate, and the 32-ounce size option is extremely durable, with double-wall insulation, so it will keep your liquid of choice cold for 24 hours. You also get additional insulation from the savvy lid, and a rubber handle that makes transport easy. $39.95; hydroflask.com  

Sunski Topeka

Drop your shades in a festival crowd and they’re likely gone for good. Fortunately Sunski makes relatively inexpensive performance sunglasses that feature high-quality polarized lenses that will cut the glare when you’re trying to find a sightline of the main stage. The newly released Topeka has an extremely lightweight frame and subtle rubber grips around the nose, so you can bob your head to the groove without worry. $68; sunski.com 

Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo

With drum circles and that drunk dude howling at the moon, getting a good night’s sleep in Tent City isn’t always easy. Sierra Designs comes to the rescue with the Frontcountry Bed, a zipper-free sleeping bag that provides some of the comforts of home, including an integrated comforter and foot vents when you need a little circulation. Earplugs not included. $199.95; sierradesigns.com 

UCO Gear Beta Headlamp 

No need to stumble in the darkness on the way back to your tent. The Beta is a nicely priced headlamp that features four brightness settings and an impressively long battery life—70 hours on three AAAs. Plus the trippy strap patterns will give you some festival flair. $24.99; ucogear.com 

FITS Light Hiker Mini-Crew Socks

These lightweight American-made socks—mostly merino wool with a blend of quick-drying synthetics—are all about conforming to the contours of your feet; with gradual compression that doesn’t allow blister-inducing movement. They’re also made with extra cushioning in the heel, arch, and toe, providing much-needed padding for staying nimble on trails or the festival grounds. $19.99; fitssock.com

Forsake Men’s Maddox and Women’s Maya

A mix of support and breathability—just what you want for a festival shoe. The Forsake Men’s Maddox and Women’s Maya are both made with nylon knit that’s all about airflow, while the ridged rubber soles are gritty enough for both day hikes or stomping along to your favorite bluegrass band. $114.95; forsake.com