LOCKN — Thank you, for a real good time!

Less than 48 hours since the music stopped playing, and people are still glowing. Whether you went the distance or stayed at home, traveling for old favorites or to see new artists, it’s safe to say that the 4th installment of the LOCKN festival in Arrington, VA, proved to be a sweltering, musically blistering event!

Masterminded by industry powerhouse Peter Shapiro and team, the festival doubled as the coming out party for Sharpio’s new social media app/website, FANS. The new offering promises fans a place to congregate about OUR favorite American pass-time — live music. Unlike most exclusive launch parties, the invite to this gala event was access to an internet connection. FANS presented us with an opportunity to see some of the best in the business tear it up on-stage — Phish, Ween, My Morning Jacket, Phil and Friends, JRAD, Umphrey’s McGee, Tedeschi Trucks, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Twiddle, Hard Working Americans, and many more…for FREE. What. A. Treat!

If life were easy (and not so fast), I would have happily braved the 100-degree temps in Virginia this weekend, soaking up the good (((vibes))) and killer tunes. This was THE festival to hit in my opinion, and despite a good friend offering me a ticket, a ticket will not help watch the kids or pay the bills. Fans are forced to make countless, critical decisions throughout the year — which “run” and/or “festy” do we hit; camping or AirBnB; veggie burritos or french bread pizza? These are never easy decisions to make and LOCKN simply got away from me. But when the gift of a free festival stream was offered, flush with technology that delivered virtually without issue, my frown was turned upside down. Yay for technology!!! [My tech summary for the weekend: Qello app, streamed to Chromecast, on a Samsung TV; LivePhish for Phish sets via an HMDI connection from PC to TV]

LOCKN, a festival with tons of Phish and Grateful Dead influences, boasted a lineup seemingly unmatched in recent festival history. A year removed from Dead50, Shapiro revved the dream-weaving engine once again, sans man-made rainbow. A fan, like the rest of us, he is quoted about how a 1991 Grateful Dead show changed his life, inspired him to go on tour with the Dead to make a documentary film and how that/future experiences have continued to shape the environment of “it” to happen. In a very similar story, likely replicated 100,000 times over, the Dead were my indoctrination into the live music world. At the age of 19, on my birthday and in the old Spectrum of Philadelphia, I saw the Grateful Dead. This was my FIRST concert, and I was hooked before I even walked through the turnstile. Shakedown and “lot” was like another world to me. It was a community where everyone seemed welcome. Add in some face-melting, bliss-inducing jams with that community and we begin to build a foundation of “it”.

“It”, for me, doesn’t stop there. You gotta coooooordinate! The non-stop planning leading up to a show. The gathering of friends, old and new. The stories, laughs and geekery. The drive, flight and/or (thanks to technology) technical set-up for #couchtour. The anticipation of what our favorite bands might play. What the night may hold in terms of musical experimentation. The rock and the jams baby! “It” is the opportunity for US, band and audience, to reach a state of complete synchronicity — heads bobbing, bodies flowing and fists pumping. “It” makes it all worth it. Get it?

With the exception of what I may catch on JamOn or hanging with friends, I prefer to hear what a band has to offer LIVE for the first time. I want to create and feel my own “it”, rather than rely on someone else’s opinion. For those who could not make it, the free webcast has crossed thousands of bands off of the collective “catch them next year” lists we all carry around, myself included. Seeing is believing, and you could feel the energy through the TV…aided by my being into “it”. I never expected to watch as much as I did, but after throwing my back out Saturday morning I dug in for the long haul. I watched all of Thursday, Ween/Phish Friday, every note on Saturday and every note Sunday. I got my money’s worth of free, live music.

The bar was seemingly raised to Olympic medal levels, and in the best way possible. The flow of the bands was fantastic, there was an uplifting theme in many of the songs and every band came to play! I hate to single any one artist or performance out after the good times provided by everyone, but My Morning Jacket was the most eye-opening performance for me, and many others based on my Twitter feed. Tedeschi Trucks, Twiddle, Hard Working Americans, Gary Clark Jr. and Chris Robinson Brotherhood, were all fantastic first experiences for me, while Moon Taxi, Dharma Initiative and DJ Williams Projekt, were unexpected treats. Also, Neal Casal for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

This post was simply my way of saying thank you to everyone who made this event possible for those of us who simply could not make it. Great job this weekend, and good luck on the launch of FANS! To Peter Shapiro, David Frey, FANS.com, Qello.com, LivePhish.com, nugs.tv, Sirius JamON and every artist shredding on-stage, and THANK YOU! LOCKN 16' is an event I will likely never forget, and I never left my house to experience “it”. Big congrats to Alexandra and Ryan on their LOCKN engagement!

Live music heals and brings us together, and it will always be a central bond among us. Keep your eyes open for LOCKN acts visiting a venue near you and go see live music, often. Safe travels to everyone headed to Dick’s this weekend, take care of each other and I’ll see you on Twitter for the next installation of ‘Phish on Couchtour’. We all, love, DICKS!!! Be kind.

PS. FANS should think about adding in “Viewed on Webcast”, cause I’m all about the stats, man.

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