Things I Learned at Wanee

By Lacey Smith

1. Food and Beer Tickets

I’ve never been to a festival where the food and drink situation hails back to grade school sock hops.

2. The Scenery

The woods are only as big, or as small, as you think they are. The first two hours left my toes covered in blisters, but by the afternoon, things were looking up. The winding dirt roads began to make a little sense. It may sound like some hippie shit, but if you’re going to get lost at any festival, pick this one. It’s effing gorgeous.

On getting lost: for the first time in my life, I had the horrifying, movie-esque realization that I had been walking in circles. With dirt paths opening and closing, and gates disappearing and reappearing. It felt like The Labyrinth, with David Bowie possibly waiting at the end (too soon?).

3. Food Options

The vendors definitely know their audience! From the delicious breakfast and options like Gouda Bros, to the vegan-friendly Solar Cafe, you’ll definitely score big in the food dept.

4. The Stars

I didn’t grow up under the city lights. Often I yearn for a big, au naturel beautiful night sky, and Wanee delivers. The stars burn bright under the cloak of darkness the woods provides.

5. All Ages Indeed

When you think of summer music fests, you probably think of tanned 20-something girls, adorned with crowns of daisies, or shirtless, sweaty young men with neon green sunglasses. Not Wanee. It was borderline shocking to see someone under the age of 30. I now have a clear picture of what me and my friends will look like at the 20th anniversary of Mad Decent’s Block Party: mad 40-something, mad reminiscent of our youth, despite the changing times. Do you, Olds; do you.

6. Bugs

Just because there aren’t mosquitoes in your neck of the woods this early in the year, doesn’t mean they aren’t here. They are.

Favorite quotes from Wanee:

At the food truck: “You guys take tickets, right?” “Yup, unless you got any drugs you don’t want.”

“We knew there was a problem, so we had to call his mom, like, ‘Hey, Brian’s mom? Yeah, your son thinks he’s a lamp...and he’s in love with an actual lamp…”

Top Five Reasons to Attend Wanee Music Fest in 2016.


By Lacey Smith

Photo Credit: Jason Koerner

March 22, 2016

One of my bucket list dreams is to attend the massive hippie fest that is Wanee, founded by the legendary Allman Brothers. Here are five things this first-timer is most excited to see at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park:

#1: LATE-NIGHT SETS Who doesn’t love a good jam sesh? If Wanee is known for anything, it’s the jam sessions, right? This year, the performance will be led by the Umphrey’s McGee. Umphrey’s is expected to bring their legendary mashups to the fest. Not sure what all the fuss is about? Take it from me, it’s worth a quick Google search and the ticket price. Here’s to hoping Bruce Hornsby & the Range stop by to lend their talents to the jamming.

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#2: WIDESPREAD PANIC Not to sound basic as fuck, but as an Atlantan who’s done the New Year's Eve show more than once, I’m thrilled to see a fresh Panic set in the woods of Live Oak, Florida.

#3: FESTIVAL FAMILY These are my confessions: I’m addicted to festival folk! I’ve heard the tales of these Jameson-drinking men with tramp stamps, and I’m ready to add them to my Festival Friends Rolodex.

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#4: BECAUSE FLORIDA I don’t know about you, but I’m done and over my winter shell that is outerwear. I can’t pretend that the 80° weather didn’t completely seal the deal for Wanee.

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#5: INSPIRATION Is it possible to go to a festival full of musicians that have stood the test of time and not be inspired? I hope not. If so, fingers crossed for some baller art.

wanee festival 1

Purchase tickets HERE.

More information HERE.


[Interview] Vinnie Amico Dishes his Love for The Tabernacle


By Liz Turcotte

Vinnie Amico, the drummer of moe., chatted with us recently about his daughters, Jerry Garcia and how much he loves The Tabernacle. moe. begins their three-night run in Atlanta on Thursday at Terminal West, followed by two nights at the Tabernacle with opening sets from Earphunk and Dumpstaphunk.


What type of music did your parents listen to growing up?

My father, Sal Amico, was a Jazz musician who played the trumpet and well-known in the Syracuse area so when I was real small there was a lot of Jazz around. My parents divorced and my mom remarried and she used to listen to the worst music. Gordon Lightfoot isn’t that bad now that I look back at it, but Neil diamond, Roger Whittaker, ABBA. It’s all stuff that is stuck in my brain because now when an ABBA tune comes on the radio I can sing every single word.

You have two daughters, are they both pretty big into music as well?

My oldest daughter goes to Drew University. She doesn’t study music but takes vocal classes and is in the choral union. She plays saxophone, she’s actually played with moe. a couple of times. Both of our kids are in musical theater. My youngest daughter is very musical, although she quit playing violin a couple of years ago. She sings all of the time and just loves music.

Is it true you have never taken drum lessons?

That is correct. When I was really young, when I was first introduced to instruments in school, I played drums but it didn’t last very long. I wasn’t in the school band or anything.

How did you learn to play without YouTube?

My parents bought me a drum set my first six months of classes at school. I went home from school every day and put on whatever music I was listening to and memorized all of the songs. I played drums all day every day for about five or six years before I started hanging out with my friends who were playing instruments, and we all started putting music together.

Would you be able to teach someone how to play the drums?

Oh yeah, I had two lessons today actually. I have a guy that I teach FaceTime lessons to down in Florida and I had a guy show up at the house today who I gave a lesson to. I’m trying to do a couple of clinics because I have a whole thing that I teach, it’s very simple but I think it’s very helpful for any drummer. I figured I had to teach myself so I should be able to teach others, right?

You perform in a variety of one off Grateful Dead sets, what makes those performances so special?

The music itself because I used to be a big Dead fan and the songs are just great songs. I played in that kind of style of band in college so I got really good at playing that particular style of music. You could say I studied that style. Also, there’s a couple of really good players. Jerry Garcia was such a great guitar player and there’s some guys who emulate him very well. When I get to play with them it’s like I’m playing with Jerry. Those kind of things really make it fun. When you get close to what the Dead was playing when you’re doing it, it’s just awesome.

What guitar player do you feel like emulates Jerry the most?

There’s a friend of mine who used to play in a band around Albany called Slipknot, and then he was in Buffalo and played in a band with me his name is Adam Czolowski. He’s just about as close to Jerry as I’ve ever heard anybody play. His sound isn’t 100% but its pretty close. It’s his playing, he’s just such a great guitar player. I play with another guy named Zach Nugent who is also really good, a real good Jerry guy. The ones that really studied the music and know the songs the way the way the Dead played them, the different styles and stuff it’s just a blast. If you’re all in tune with the style, the year or whatever kind of jam you’re doing it can be a lot of fun. And the songs, it’s all about the songs.

Do you have a favorite venue or city that you like to play in?

Actually the Tabernacle is definitely one of my favorites. It’s just an amazing, amazing venue. I mean we’ve played all over. We’ve played Red Rocks, Radio City., too many to say but I definitely love the Tab. As far as the energy goes for our performances, it’s one of the best venues we play.

The band is playing a three-night run in Atlanta but with one night at Terminal West and two nights at the Tabernacle, how did that happen?

We’ve been touring in that model for the last year where we’ll play one smaller venue to give people a more intimate setting and then we’ll play two nights at the bigger place in town. It’s kind of cool because it gives the fans a destination to go to where they’re not traveling all over the place. They can just travel to one place, get hotels, roll up and party to have a great time and don’t have to do a whole lot of moving around and what not. It definitely seems to work. I think the fans like it, we definitely like it a lot. I think we’re going to continue doing it for a while into this year. We’ve never played Terminal West so we’re looking forward to that.

When you’re playing and make a mistake how do you handle it?

It happens all of the time. Sometimes I make a face, sometimes I yell. Pretty much when I screw up the whole bands turns around, because it’s very apparent when it happens and I don’t do it that often. So when it happens it’s a big freaking to-do and everyone looks at me. I’m thinking guys, you could cover it up by not turning around and making me look like an idiot, but it’s not the way we roll. We did at one point have a jar and anytime anybody made mistakes they had to pay-in. Whoever made the least would win the jar but it got to be pretty expensive. Some people made lots of mistakes so they were always having to put money in the jar.

Last year was the 25th anniversary for the band, what were some highlights from the year?

Summer Camp was a highlight, I mean it always is it’s such a great festival. We got to do a set with Bruce Hornsby which was a lot of fun. Playing in Chicago when the Dead was there was a lot of fun. They played and then we did some after-show sets there. That was great because we got to see the Fare Thee Well shows and then perform afterwards. At a show like that the energy level is pretty high so you go into it really ready to rock.

Our first Jamaica trip was last winter and have since been back, we just got back a couple of days ago. Hopefully we started a yearly excursion. It’s like we were vacationing with our fans because for the most part people who come to those things are our friends. We have a community of people who are on vacation together and all a bunch of like-minded people. It’s a cool place to be on a beach hanging out with good entertainment.

We did a lot of cool stuff last year and the fact that we were able to celebrate 25 years being a band, most people don’t get to do that. So the fact that we’ve been able to make a career of playing music is awesome.

Random question, what do you think about when you’re alone in the car?

Getting to the next place, listening to Howard Stern on the radio and usually I’m late. Picking up my daughter at school and thinking, “Crap, get out of my way.” It’s not very deep at all.

How long have you been listening to Howard Stern?

I started listening to him in ’92 so I’ve been listening to him a long time. I lived in DC, I guess about 23 years now. Long-time listener.

You’ve probably done a million interviews and have been asked a million questions. What’s something you always hope someone will ask you?

That’s a great question, too bad I can’t remember. I think that might be the question. You know what I don’t have an answer, what a great question that I can’t answer. Maybe if you come backstage at the show next week I’ll have one for you.

Upcoming projects? Plans for 2016?

We’re doing the west coast tour that was just announced. Doing a bunch of shows out west where we haven’t been in a while which will be awesome. My side band Floodwood is doing a bunch of shows coming up in February.


Grab your tickets for the upcoming shows in Atlanta here