The Gathering of the Vibes hits my hometown of Bridgeport every summer, and I’m always excited to see what the lineup will be. Primus and Elvis Costello have been some memorable headliners in the past few years. For 2014, Widespread Panic, John Fogerty and the Disco Biscuits (joined by the Dead’s Mickey Hart and Bill Kruetzmann) will be leading the main stage. One of the things I like best about the Vibes is that although there’s no shortage of hippies skulking around, the music is pretty eclectic. Unless you only listen to black metal, it’s likely most people can pick an act or two to enjoy from the bill.
My personal picks for this year are Umphrey’s McGee, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Rusted Root, and White Denim. Since this is only the announcement of the initial lineup, I am looking forward to seeing what local bands get on the bill as well.
Another thing I love about the Vibes is that it kind of feels like a big family party. There aren’t tons of festivals where you can comfortably hang out with friends your own age, chat with an elderly old man on the beach, hula hoop with teenage girls, or get doused in glitter by a 6 year old. You can literally sit back and just watch people and be entertained. AND it’s on the beach. Some people scoff at Seaside Park/swimming in Long Island Sound, but you really can’t ask for a better location that has plenty of room and a great view of the water. Plus I’ve been swimming in that water for over 20 years and I’m still alive and well with no communicable diseases or weird growths to speak of, so it’s fine.
I’m writing about this here because there are actually some great beer sponsors. Sierra Nevada, Saranac, and Magic Hat will all be there. Although they are definitely not obscure craft beer companies in the least, it’s still good to know you can drink a decent beer at a show. Plus if you’re camping anyway, you can bring your own delicious beer selection.
If you’re a Bridgeport resident, or still haven’t gotten a new driver’s license like me, there are generally discount, non-camping tickets that you can pick up the day of the show. A weekend camping pass is $210 for Thursday through Sunday. Individual day tickets are available as well, and are usually offered as it gets closer to the festival. You can get camping passes and check on individual day tickets here.