ROTH talk.

… clouds have created a canopy over the festival grounds, but sun is on the move. High of 78? Can’t wait!

The vending here is incredible! Last night I jumped on the opportunity to experience the ‘chicken burrito.’ Roughly the size of my face, this deliciousness took my night to cloud eleven–and that’s just the beginning! I’ve spotted sweet potato fries, gigantic bags of kettle corn, and cajun cookin’ that will make your tongue tingle once, then twice.

Girl Talk had to be one of my favorite ‘get up and dance’ shows thus far. I had the rocker fist, the glow ring, and the moves that led me into the wee hours of the morning. It was quite the experience to be surrounded by so many engaged, adoring fans. Music brings such an unfathomable connection into the lives of people young and old. Beautiful.

As far as today goes, I’m eager to catch Son Volt, John Butler, Umphrey’s, Pretty Lights, and the Dead–maybe you’ve heard of them? And maybe I will get another burrito for lunch. mmm.

hippie love,



After several unsuccessful attempts to achieve wifi connectivity yesterday, Team Porterhouse gave up on blog posts (the photo recap being our sole triumph) and focused instead on content-gathering for the day. Friday had back-to-back musical goodness that saw team members running from venue to venue, snapping photos and taking in acts like Martin Sexton, Brett Dennen, G. Love, Damian Marley & NAS, Broken Social Scene, STS9, The String Cheese Incident and Girl Talk (arguably one of the best dance parties you’ll ever witness). A photo recap of Day 2 will be up shortly.

Brett Dennen sat down with us yesterday evening for a chat about festivals and touring, sustainability and green initiatives, and his upcoming album. Soft-spoken, amiable, with a distinctive shock of red hair, Brett’s hard to miss in a crowd. He’s even more of a stand-out on stage. In spite of a sweet reclusiveness in person, Brett is all swagger in front of a crowd. He had everyone on their feet and dancing as he blasted through his set, including a blistering take on “Billie Jean.” (The MJ covers are inescapable here this year). Here is Brett performing on the Ranch stage:

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Speaking to the idea of “festivals with a purpose” and events that have think tank/leadership discussions, Brett had this to say: “Every artist who stands for something or speaks about something wants to do more for it. It’s good to have a network of people who can keep you accountable for the promises you make. It’s also good to be around other musicians and artists who are like-minded to inspire.”

As far as artists who inspire Brett, Saul Williams and Michael Frante were top of the list – they “have been able to maintain living out the message.” He continued: “I live in a world where I step off stage, step back on stage, and play to audiences. But it’s easy to get out of touch. So it’s good for an artist to live beyond or outside of the song and music. It inspires you.”

Brett has a new album coming out next summer – he said he didn’t want to give too much away, but hinted that it has influences of ’70s samba. He’ll be touring to promote the new album and hopes to come back to Traverse City for a show. (“I loved playing the City Opera House,” he said. “It was one of the highlights of the tour. But I want to come back in the summer instead of winter.”) Brett was also behind the idea of a Northern Michigan event post-Rothbury focused on building and expanding the good work of the festival.

“Festivals like Rothbury are beautiful,” he said. “It’s a gathering of good people with good intentions. But everyone has to leave. You go back to work, read the paper, watch TV…and you lose the inspiration. But if a concert could make use of the here and now, that would be more effective. If there could be a festival in the actual place you want to see the work done, that would be powerful.”

One-man jam band Keller Williams says he’s also excited to come to Traverse City. “I love playing in markets like that,” he said. “People come out of the woodwork. It’s a real event. The crowd has a very appreciative vibe that you don’t see in major markets or big cities.”

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Keller Williams

Keller is finishing up a kids album he says will come with a warning label – “May Not be Suitable for Uptight Parents.” He has a passion for youth and will be playing a special early show just for TC students when he performs at the City Opera House in October. “I hope to pass on my love of music to those guys. Maybe some of them will go on to be amazing players and not charge me a lot to play with them,” he laughs.

Porterhouse has worked with both Brett and Keller in the past, and both are talented, passionate musicians with a dedication to giving back through their music. We look forward to bringing them to TC for more shows, be it when they’re on tour or for a special after-Rothbury event in the future. Meanwhile, there are still two full more days of Rothbury magic taking place, so stayed for more interviews and photos coming soon!

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Team Porterhouse

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Base Camp

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Vendor Row  
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Busker & Fans
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Entrance to Sherwood Forest

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Sherwood Forest Art Display

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Entrance to the Ranch

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Keller Williams

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Hidden Display in Sherwood Forest

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Crowds Outside Ranch

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Quannum All Stars

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After a minor mishap involving gazpacho and the VW carpet, Team Porterhouse was off bright and early this morning from TC for Rothbury. The trip was uneventful – most of us slept after a late night last night – and we found ourselves in the middle of camp traffic by 8:30 a.m. Even before you hit the obvious traffic telltale, “Welcome Rothbury Festians!” signs and gate crashers begging for tickets as you approach the festival quickly signal you’re not in Kansas anymore. 

Several scouting trips around the grounds and a couple Frappuchinos later, we had picked out our home for the weekend. Setting up base camp was something of a trip. There are several seasoned campers, backpackers, outdoor folks, etc on Team Porterhouse…and then there is one (read: me) who is not. Needless to say, pitching a tent for the first time was an interesting experience. (Mike Moran: “And so, to challenge the human species, God made tents. Tents with lots and lots of poles.”) But in the end, we got a rocking Northwestern Michigan base camp going.

The main festival gates don’t open until 6 tonight, so for now, Team Porterhouse is catching up on some sleep and getting ready to rock the stages this evening. There are some great opening shows on the docket, including Cold War Kids, The Disco Biscuits, Kid Cudi and Keller Williams (who we’re bringing to TC October 15 – more details soon!) Stay tuned for more Rothbury action and concert photos coming up later tonight.

Porterhouse Productions is traveling to the Rothbury Music Festival July 2-5 with 9 team members with all-access, VIP media passes. With support from Rothbury and Madison House, Porterhouse staff will survey Rothbury team, environmental leaders, volunteers, attendees and artists to gather input and feedback for the purpose of creating an annual Rothbury-afterglow event in Northern Michigan beginning in 2010. This afterglow event could feature intimate concerts with Rothbury artists from previous years highlighting youth involvement, Rothbury Think Tank discussions and furthering the ideas/connections into action, leadership retreats in intensive trainings, festival debriefings/soapboxing and sustainable initiatives that extend and build on the Rothbury event as well as collaborate with community in the NW Michigan region and leaders from around the world.

Because of our unique festival access this year, we will be bringing those of you at home – or those who want to follow along at Rothbury – blogs, photos and videos of all the behind-the-scenes going-ons at the festival. Also partnering in our efforts are our friends at Absolute Michigan, who are hosting their own great blog focused on the Rothbury think tank discussions and who will be hunkering down at our base camp with us.

The Porterhouse Productions Rothbury Team is as follows:

Sam Porter – Owner, Porterhouse Productions
Charlie Peterson – Production Manager, Porterhouse Productions
Beth Milligan – Community Outreach/PR Manager, Porterhouse Productions
Tarah Cole – Intern Extraordinaire, Porterhouse Productions
Adam Waugh – Team Support, Porterhouse Productions
April Herteg – Team Support, Porterhouse Productions
Mike Moran – Singer-Songwriter, Mike Moran Music
Guests: Seth Bernard and May Erlewine – Singer-Songwriters, Earthwork Music

The Absolute Michigan Rothbury Team is as follows:

Andy McFarlane – Publisher, Absolute Michigan
Laura Herd – Promotions Director, Absolute Michigan
Richard Taber – Photographer, Absolute Michigan
Ryan Thompson – Founder, Greener Milwaukee and Blogger, Absolute Michigan

The artist lineup this year is terrific, and there are some great leadership and think tank discussions taking place. Be sure to check back daily for the latest news, updates and interviews from the festival. You can also view and share photos at our Rothbury Flickr page.