To Do List: 2012 EquiFunk Festival, August 17-19

What if you could go back to summer camp? You know, hang out by the pool with your buddies, play for some of the day but relax for most of it, and have all your meals prepared for you? What if you could do it now, as an adult? Wait, don’t answer yet, there’s more. What if there was unlimited beer AND astoundingly good music? You’re nodding now, aren’t you? And maybe drooling?

This weekend, for the fifth straight year, Equifunk will set up shop in the northeast Pennsylvania Poconos. Besides the fantastic location (smack in the middle of a working overnight camp) Equifunk has a why-didn’t-they-think-of-that-before hook unlike any other music festival – it’s all-inclusive. One price gets you in the door, your food, your beverages, and your music. You’re not waiting in line 20 minutes for the privilege of paying $11 for a beer. You’re not spending $6 on a hot dog that’s been sitting in a pot of boiling water since January.

The math is astounding, when you think about it. A ticket to this year’s Lollapalooza was $230. That just got you in the door; you haven’t eaten yet, and you don’t have a place to stay. By the time it was over, your 3-day concert experience ran you about $1,000, and you were lucky to get within a football field of the stages. Equifunk, on the other hand, is $325. That’s your food, drink, parking, and a cabin to stay in. Not to mention the music.

And they don’t skimp on the music. Any three bands in the Equifunk lineup make the festival worth seeing; the fact that there are more than 15 on the bill, at a summer camp, for an audience that’s held to just 1,000 people, is nothing short of astounding.  Headliners Galactic have been working their jazz/funk/hip-hop hybrid for nearly 20 years, and at this show will be joined by Living Color vocalist Corey Glover. Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, once a side-project of Neville’s, has morphed into one of New Orleans’ most beloved funk groups. And Sucker Punch, a supergroup of sorts consisting of members of The Disco Biscuits, The New Deal, STS9, and Lotus, will be playing their first show together in nearly 10 years.


Brooklyn's Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds

But there’s more – Orgone, RAC, the Pimps of Joytime, Bustle in Your Hedgerow, the Main Squeeze, and others are on the bill. But perhaps the unsung heroes of the lineup are Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, a fantastic 9-piece band out of Brooklyn. Singer Arleigh Kincheloe’s massive voice calls to mind Susan Tedeschi, Bonnie Raitt, and even Janis Joplin. They’ll be playing at high noon on the “pool stage,” which is, obviously, right next to the camp’s large swimming pool. I won’t ask if you can think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon because, simply put, you can’t. Put some gas in the tank, take the beautiful 5-hour drive from DC to the Poconos this weekend, and put some funk in your trunk.