Naukabout Music Festival Delivers Top-Notch Music Close To Home
By: Elise R. Hugus
Cape Cod music fans don’t have to head over the bridge to enjoy the best bands New England has to offer this summer.
Celebrating its 5th year this Saturday, the Naukabout Music Festival boasts an all-star roster for its all day, all ages festival at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds.
The Ryan Montbleau Band returns to headline Naukabout for the second year in a row. Mr. Montbleau has been playing the festival since its inception in 2007, and each year he’s got another notch on his belt of albums and accolades. (The Ryan Montbleau Band released its eighth full-length album, “For Higher,” on May 15.)
“We’re very lucky and excited to have Ryan joining us again. As we grow, he’s grown exponentially more,” says festival organizer Peter Murner.
Roots Rock Reggae
In a significant shake-up of the festival’s “beachgrass” vibe, the reggae-dub-funk bands John Brown’s Body and Dub Apocalypse will bring a high level of energy to the East Falmouth stage. These Boston-based bands share several members, so don’t be surprised if JBB’s horn-heavy sound morphs into a full-on Dub Apocalypse improv jam session.
Over the years, Naukabout has cultivated a roster of bands that, like Ryan Montbleau, have gone on to become rising stars in the indie pop-rock circuit. Among them are the Adam Ezra Group, another Boston band that attracted major attention with a national tour in the past year.
Last year’s festival got a little frenetic, with two stages going full time and local musicians working the entrance as buskers. This year, things will be a little more stripped-down, with Will Evans of Barefoot Truth and Boston’s Will Dailey performing solo, on the “Side Stage,” powered by the sun with a little help from the festival’s friends at Cotuit Solar.
Representing the Cape Cod music scene, the Dune Billy All-Stars features a revolving cast of some of the area’s best rock-reggae musicians, including Michael Gabriel of Shango Axe and Charles Parker Walton, who can be found behind the drum kit for more bands than one can count.
Considering their knockout performance at the InsideOUT Harbor Fest last summer, the Dune Billy All-Stars are bound to get the crowd moving as they open up for Dub and JBB.
The afternoon features Tall Heights, living up to its name with a cello in the mix. At noon, the Danielle Miraglia and the Baker Thomas Band’s eclectic jams are sure to please the younger members in the audience.
Curating the festival is a yearlong process undertaken by Centerville native Jeff Conley, who will also play the festival with his full band this year.
One With The Music
While Naukabout has generated a following over the past few years, Mr. Conley said he wants to keep the festival small and intimate.
“There’s something intimate and unique about a show that’s small. People feel like they have ownership of it,” Mr. Conley says. “We’re based on the concept of doing what you like to do after work to relax. The festival is a way for us to bring people together.”
Based on feedback from Naukabout devotees, the event has achieved its goals. Mr. Conley said one family holds its annual reunion at Naukabout each year; a couple met, got engaged, and is even thinking about getting married at the festival.
Local visual artists will also have a moment to shine in the Little Beach Art Garden, curated by Jen Villa of the Little Beach Gallery in Hyannis.
What’s A Naukabout?
Inspired by childhood memories of his dad coming home and putting on his “knockabouts” inspired Mr. Conley to launch Naukabout as an online clothing company with his brother, Brook Conley and their partner Russ Gentile.
“Whether it’s music or clothes, Naukabout is all about what you do to relax, what you put on when you come home from work,” Mr. Conley said.
While music has taken center stage, the Naukabout brand continues to evolve. This summer, Naukabout launched its own brand of microbrew pale ale, which will be on sale at the festival and at a range of local bars and liquor stores.
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