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Born to Ride Jam 2014
Although this festival was flirtin’ with disaster before it even started, you cannot take away from the fantastic performances of the bands that actually played at this festival.
Bad luck for the promoter kept snowballing out of control, but the old cliché “the show must go on” came into effect. Those of us that attended and stayed until the end were treated to some fantastic music mostly by bands that a lot of people never heard of. The story we heard was that a lot of money as a deposit was paid to a booking agent to secure Blue Oyster Cult, Billy Squire, Foghat, and Lou Gramm. The agency closed their doors and did not give the money to those artists so they all backed out. There were still several great bands in the lineup but without them it left the promoter with lots of refunds and very little money to replace the bands on short notice. Steve Augeri, former singer from Journey, Artimus Pyle, and Rick Derringer were added but it was too little too late. Ticket sales were low and refunds were high leaving the promoter short of both money and crowd. There was not enough money to pay the Artimus Pyle Band their deposit so they were scratched. Remaining headliners Molly Hatchet and Steve Augeri backed out because there wasn’t enough money to pay them.
That still left a handful of bands to fill the schedule on 1 stage, but the only bands left that everyone would recognize were Black Oak Arkansas and the Michael Allman Band.
The show opened with the Southern Point Band followed by the Sting Police. We didn’t get to shoot either band as we were busy back stage being social butterflies and greeting all our friends in other bands as they arrived. They both sounded great!
We did get to shoot the 3rd band, which was Redneck Messiah. They are an Orlando based hard rock/metal band with tremendous talent and a bunch or nice guys to boot! The 4th band was Zed Head, our pleasant surprise of the day! This band is really tight and puts on a great show. Be sure to see them if you ever get a chance. Harp player Blues Dog was all over the stage, adding his high energy persona and fantastic playing to the already excellent sound.
We didn’t get to shoot the next band, Stone Gray, but we enjoyed their music from back stage while we discussed some business with 3 band manager friends of ours.
The 6th band up was the Michael Allman Band and we did get to shoot them. We’ve seen them 3 times in the past couple of months and they just keep getting better. Michael has put together a supporting band that sounds so much like the Allman Brothers Band that if Michael’s father Gregg ever sat in he’d be right at home. We love all the guys in the band and they really put on a great show. They are another group you really need to check out.
Sometime in here it was announced that Molly Hatchet was not coming and about 2/3 of the crowd left. Those that left missed out on some great music.
Next up was our friends from North Carolina, Preacher Stone. We have been following this band ever since we saw them on a Simple Man cruise 3 years ago. They are another band that just keeps getting better. Vocalist Ronnie Riddle quickly gets control of the crowd with his rockin’ rebel personality and guitarist Marty Hill seals the deal with his hot licks. This up and coming fast band is yet another one not to miss!
The 8th band up was our friend Jim Dandy and crew of Black Oak Arkansas. Everybody remembers this band from the 70s but are still surprised at just how great they still are. We met Jim on the 2nd Rock Legends Cruise in 2013 and became instant friends. He is such a likeable guy and he and the whole band radiate “old school” rock and roll… or as they say “raunch and roll”. The remaining crowd loved these guys and they really heated up the atmosphere for the final band.
At this point another bunch or our good friends from North Carolina, Swamp da Wamp, took the stage. This band is so talented that before they finish you will be singing songs with them that you never heard before! There was a long delay because the sound company had not been paid their balance and cut the main PA system. Not to be stopped guitarists Nick Nguyen and Keith Inman, along with bassist Rich Basco and drummer David Lee started jamming for the crowd and playing only through their amps. The crowd went nuts over the guitar solos they were hearing and seeing. After a while the sound company decided to go ahead and fire the system up and the Vocalist Gig Michaels, assistant singer Adrienne Nixon, and keyboard player Mike Huffman (Scooby) came out on stage and put on one heck of a show. Gig went out into the crowd and had everybody help out with their party hit “My Drinking Song”. The grand finale was wild jam and included special guest Blues Dog on harp. What was left of the crowd was thrilled with their performance. Because of the delay there was no time left so final headliner Rick Derringer did not appear.
To sum it all up… we drove a 5 hour round trip to hear some great music and shoot some great pictures, and we did exactly that. Even with the bad luck the promoter had it was still an excellent festival. It’s a shame that so many people cancelled their tickets because I’m sure that would have left at the end of the night feeling as thoroughly rocked as we did!
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