Friday, June 24, 2011

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals Launch Festival

It's shaping up as a torrid summer indeed for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, fresh off their third appearance at Bonnaroo, where they rocked the main stage in front of 35,000 festival attendees. Coming up for the band: a guest slot on an upcoming episode of Cee Lo's new Fuse show Talking With Strangers, airing July 13; their debut appearance at Lollapalooza Aug. 5; and the inaugural edition of their own Grand Point North Festival Aug. 13-14 (full details below). They'll culminate their nonstop summer touring with a headlining show in Central Park Sept. 24.


Additionally, Grace will make a special solo appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno July 21, where she'll perform with Rickey Minor and The Tonight Show Band and Sharon Jones, three days before joining Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monáe, Jones and others in Los Angeles for a night of Global Soul at the Hollywood Bowl – part of KCRW's World Festival. Grace, who recently appeared with country superstar Kenny Chesney on The Today Show to sing their duet "You and Tequila," will also make several solo guest appearances on Chesney's summer tour, while GPN will open for Chesney at Red Rocks July 8.  


"I never wanted to be put in a box," Grace said last week. "I didn't want to be that band from New England with a girl in it; I didn't want to be a pop diva; I wanted to be malleable and have my character be elastic enough to lend itself to lots of different genres. If someone asked me, 'What kind of music do you want to play for the rest of your life?' I don't have an answer for that, because I want to do everything. This band is growing up, and so am I. We understand what music makes us happy and what makes a crowd happy."


Make no mistake, GPN are a career band, deeply committed, extensively road-tested and evolving organically. Like their self-titled third album for Hollywood Records, released more than a year ago, they refuse to go away, becoming increasingly entrenched in the minds of all kinds of music lovers, from casual radio listeners to their most sizable and loyal fan base within the sprawling festival community—the first segment of the rock audience to wholeheartedly embrace and nurture them.


With that in mind, they hatched the idea late last year of launching their own festival, and they've been systematically laying the groundwork ever since, bringing in Alex Crothers, who organizes Wilco's Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts, to perform the same function for their brainchild. And Grand Point North, as they've dubbed it (GPN for short), will soon become a reality.


"We all grew up in the festival community," Grace points out. "It's ingrained in us and a big part of who we are. We've been scouting sites since the band first started."


It soon became apparent that the ideal site for Grand Point North was right in the band's home base of Burlington, Vermont. It will be held at Burlington Waterfront Park on the banks of Lake Champlain.

It would be hard to imagine a more picturesque setting.


The hand-picked talent lineup features Taj Mahal (the band's friend and champion since they went on the road together on GPN's first national tour in 2006), Fitz & the Tantrums, the Wood Brothers, Augustana, Hoots & Hellmouth, Jessica Lea Mayfield, fellow Vermonter Anais Mitchell and a number of local acts including the buzz bands Rubblebucket (now based in Brooklyn) and Chamberlin. The first day will be weighted toward rock, the second toward roots. GPN will give the closing performance both nights.


"We've been waiting for this moment with bated breath," says Grace. "It feels like the time is right for it, much like us as a band. There were times when people thought we weren't gonna make it, so to still be here and going stronger than ever, I think the festival is gonna be a reflection of that. We're not looking for something huge like Bonnaroo or Coachella. We want our festival to be small and delightful."


Says GPN drummer and founding member Matt Burr, "We started out as a festival band, playing blues festivals, jam festivals, indie-rock festivals—we've been to all of them, first as fans and then as performers. We took enough notes and enough exams to where we've got our festival diploma, and we felt like we were ready to step up to the big leagues and try our own thing. We also felt like we had the right family together to do this right. The pieces of the puzzle are all in place, and here we are. We couldn't be happier."   


Upcoming GPN tour dates as follows:

June 23

Buffalo, NY

Buffalo Place Thursday at the Square

w/ Fitz & the Tantrums

June 24

Rochester, NY

Water Street Music Hall


June 25

Utica, NY

Saranac Brewery


**June 26

Atlantic City, NJ

Dave Matthews Band Caravan – Bader Airfield


June 27

Danbury, CT

Ives Concert Park

co-headline w/ Michael Franti

July 1

Las Vegas, NV

The Sandbar at Red Rock Resort


**July 2

Sioux City, IA

Saturday In The Park


**July 3

Des Moines, IA

80/35 Music Festival


*July 5

Toronto, ON

The Sound Academy

w/ Ben Harper

July 7

Indianapolis, IN

Egyptian Room


*July 8

Morrison, CO

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

w/ Kenny Chesney

*July 9

Morrison, CO

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

w/ Avett Brothers

July 10

Denver, CO

Ogden Theatre


July 13

Aspen, CO

Belly Up


July 14

Steamboat Springs, CO

Howelsen Hill


**July 15

Alta, WY

Grand Targhee Festival


July 16

Salt Lake City, UT

Gallivan Center


July 23

Saratoga, CA

Mountain Winery


*July 24

Los Angeles, CA

Hollywood Bowl

(solo w/ Stevie Wonder, Sharon Jones, Janelle Monáe)

July 27

Apple Valley, MN

Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater


July 29

Cincinnati, OH

PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center


**July 30

Floyd, VA



**Aug. 5

Chicago, IL



Aug. 7

Pittsburgh, PA

Hartwood Acres Amphitheatre


Aug. 11

Newport, RI

Newport Sunset Music Series


**Aug. 12

Bangor, ME

Kahbang Festival


**Aug. 13

Burlington, VT

Grand Point North Festival


**Aug. 14

Burlington, VT

Grand Point North Festival


Aug. 20

Boston, MA

Bank of America Pavilion


Aug. 26

Charlotte, NC

The Fillmore


Aug. 27

Atlanta, GA

Chastain Park Amphitheater


**Sept. 9

Marion, OH

Marion Festival


Sept. 24

New York, NY

Central Park Summerstage


Sept. 30

Storrs, CT

Jorgensen Auditorium



All dates are headline dates unless: * = support  / ** = festival dates

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