A Wonderful Alternative to the Disappointment of Cancelled Music Festivals. Go, LockN!

Lovers of music festivals from Manchester, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo to Tel Aviv’s Expo are understandably disappointed.   The Times of Israel reported on a 5,000-person demonstration on Monday at the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament).   The large group, called “The Soul of War” was made up of people who work in every facet of the production industry and was organized to protest the government’s lack of attention to their industry.

Summer is music festival season.  It provides fun for thousands, and it is huge for the local economies.  Bonnaroo generally attracts 80,000 each year.  The Coachella Festival, which takes place in Indio, California over two weekends each April reportedly attracts 99,000 people per day and generates $704 in overall economic activity.  LockN in Arrington, VA has been attracting approximately 30,000 fan each summer since its first year in 2013.

Music festivals are great fun, but they pose all kinds of logistical challenges—accommodations, food, showers and more.  Last year, I had the privilege of attending LockN and camping with the fine folks of Jam Shalom and writing about it  in “Jam Band Judaism” for the Jerusalem Post.  This group is Sabbath observant and manages to follow Sabbath laws (eruv, Shabbat meals and prayers, no electricity)—while enjoying three days of amazing music.  The group warmly invites people in to their “Shabbos Tent.”  LockN founder organizer, Peter Shapiro, has been a great friend of this group. 

I am sure Peter and his team are going through tough times.  LockN 2020 was scheduled for this weekend and was to celebrate Phil Lesh’s 80th birthday, and feature such stars as David Crosby, Joe Russo's Almost Dead, and John Mayer.  They updated fans on the LockN site that the show will tentatively be rescheduled for Oct 2-4th.  They wrote, “We hope you are staying safe and healthy, and continuing to look out for one another. The last few weeks have been heartbreaking, and we’d like first to take a moment to thank all of the healthcare and other essential workers in our communities who are helping others to make it through these challenging times — thank you.  We know the world has changed, but one thing has been made clear — even though this pandemic has separated us physically, we are all in this together. Reflecting on how we miss being with our friends, sharing music, dancing, hugging, in celebration, helps us feel that spark of joy even while we are waiting for the world to start up again.”

If the festival does not take place, there will be lots of disappointed fans and a lot of money lost.  Yet, Shapiro, and the team at LockN and Relix Magazine are still delivering for their loyal fans.  There are still a few more hours to enjoy “Light From LOCKN,” A Livestream Weekend Celebration.   It has been taking place nearly nonstop since 10 am Friday and will continue until the final set starts tonight at 11 pm with the Trey Anastasio Band featuring Derek Trucks.   Fans have enjoyed Phil Lesh and Friends, Keller Williams, Margo Price, Steel Pulse with special guests Marcus King and Bob Weir, and so many others—and the live footage was taken from each of the years of LockN.   Fans shared favorite moments, there was great, playful footage of concert logistics and set up, and there were many public service announcements by FANS and HeadCount on such things as  the importance of getting out to vote.


Check out the show still in progress: 

I hope and pray LockN goes on as (re) scheduled October 1-4.  It could be the first time LockN and Arrington, Virginia have ever seen a sukkah!  Sleeping in a sukkah is not so different than camping out in tents with 30,000 of your closest friends!

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