Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024: REVIEW - Festy GoNuts!
Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Tara Gracer

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024: REVIEW

by Jun 1, 2024Featured, Reviews

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024: REVIEW

Images from Cloud 9 Adventures.  Header Image by Tara Gracer.  Other images from Tara Gracer, Keith Zacharski, and Josh Timmermans.

by Chris Powers

Chris Powers is an Americana singer-songwriter based out of eastern Pennsylvania, United States. He attended Avett Brothers at the Beach with his wife, Kelly, and graciously submitted this account for Festy GoNuts.

My wife, Kelly, and I recently had the pleasure of escaping the brisk early spring weather of Pennsylvania for a 4-day, well-needed vacation at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Riviera Maya Mexico. We joined the Avett Brothers and eight other bands for their 5th annual Avetts at the Beach festival.

I’ll start by saying that writing about the festival was a bit of an afterthought. Had we known we’d be writing this we may have stayed a bit more sober, paid closer attention and maybe even taken some notes along the way. (Well, I don’t know about the sober part, but we probably would have paid a little more attention and maybe taken some notes.)

This was our first beach festival experience and we are absolutely hooked! Beautiful weather, an all-inclusive resort and tons of our favorite bands playing right outside of our hotel room – what’s not to love?!? Although I don’t have a lot to compare it to, I thought that the event organizer, Cloud9 Adventures, and the Hard Rock Hotel did an amazing job with the whole event. Everything ran seamlessly and they handled unavoidable issues like champs.

The Avetts put together a great, fairly diverse lineup to join them for the 4-day festival which included Deer Tick, Heartless Bastards, Gregory Alan Isakov, Langhorne Slim, Jim Avett, Lord Huron, Charlie Crockett and Sierra Ferrell. In addition to stellar shows throughout the day and night, they had some other unique events like a Q&A session with Langhorne Slim, a silent disco, music bingo hosted by Deer Tick, an open jam session for guests, off-site charity events, a fund-raising auction, daily support groups and a cornhole tournament.

Deer Tick had the honor and difficult job of getting the travel-weary crowd going as they kicked off the festival with a rocking one-hour set.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve caught Deer Tick live. They were super tight as usual. They started their set with the distortion heavy “If I Try to Leave” from their latest album, Emotional Contracts. Some other highlights included their cover of the 1950’s Jimmy LIoyd song “I Got a Rocket in My Pocket,” O’Neil’s “Hope is Big” and McCauley’s “Ashamed.” I hate to be “that guy,” but I do wish they added a couple more older tunes into the mix. That being said, I plan to catch them again in Philly this summer and look forward to getting a full dose of the band.

Deer Tick | Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Tara Gracer

Deer Tick – Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Cloud 9 Adventures | Tara Gracer

Langhorne Slim (Sean Scolnick) has been one of my favorites for the last 15 years, so I was really excited to sit in on his Q&A session and take in his late afternoon set. Unfortunately, the weather delayed his set a bit and then cut it short when a storm re-emerged half-way through. It was a shame because he had the crowd going with his raucous “The Way We Move” and tearjerker about his late grandfathers, “Song for Sid.”

Sean is one of the most engaging performers I’ve seen live. He has a natural ability to make you feel like you’ve known him forever. Slim finished his set inside with an acoustic guitar and a bandmate on the accordion. I was really hoping to hear my favorite song of his, “Past Lives” which he typically includes in all of his shows, but I think the weather put a damper on that.

Langhorne Slim | Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Keith Zacharski

Langhorne Slim – Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Cloud 9 Adventures | Keith Zacharski

To say Sierra Ferrell has blown up over the last year would be a huge understatement. She seems to be everywhere and playing with everyone from Billy Strings and Zach Bryan to John C. Reilly.

At just over 5 feet tall, Sierra is larger than life with her elaborate outfits, well crafted songs and timeless voice. Some highlights from her show included the whimsical and poignant “American Dreaming” and boot-stomping “Fox Hunt.” She also included a tasteful cover of Janis Joplin’s cover of “Bobby McGee.” As an added bonus, we saw her do a photo shoot on the beach while the Avetts closed out the festival.

Sierra Ferrell - Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Keith Zacharski

Sierra Ferrell – Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Cloud 9 Adventures | Keith Zacharski

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Josh Timmermans

Sierra Ferrell – Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Cloud 9 Adventures | Josh Timmermans

We’ve seen the Avett Brothers quite a few times over the last 15 years and they never disappoint. After playing together for over 20 years, they’ve accumulated quite a catalog to pull from. In fact, I think they only repeated three songs of the 75+ tunes they ran through in three shows. Two of those songs were live debuts of “Country Kid” and “Love of a Girl” and the other was one of my favorite waltzes, “Head Full of Doubt.” It was my first time hearing “Country Kid” and I instantly liked this catchy tune that brought me back to my childhood in the 80s and 90s.

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Tara Gracer

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Cloud 9 Adventures | Tara Gracer

By the final night we were fried so we took in the last Avett Brothers show from a couple of lounge chairs on the beach, about 30 yards from the stage. Although we couldn’t see the show from our comfortable seats, we enjoyed it just the same. One of the highlights for me was when they brought their dad, Jim Avett, on stage to cover the traditional song, “Angel Band.” I’ve always loved this song, but hearing it from Jim’s beautifully weathered 77 year-old voice really brought a vulnerable perspective to it.

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Keith Zacharski

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Cloud 9 Adventures |Keith Zacharski

For music lovers who have been raising three kids in the suburbs for the last 20 years, this was a vacation of a lifetime! If we could swing it, we’d do a festival like this once a year (or maybe more). We only had two regrets – one that we missed the Lord Huron show on the 3rd night as our dinner went a little long and second that we didn’t book an extra night at the tail-end of the trip. We weren’t ready to get back to reality after only four days!

~Chris Powers

 

Chris and Kelly Powers are music enthusiasts from eastern Pennsylvania. When they’re not taking in shows or playing their own music, they’re busy raising three great kids and working their day jobs as a teacher (Kelly) and head of learning and development for a finance company

Chris Powers - Avetts at the Beach Festival Review

Chris and Kelly Powers – Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Tara Gracer

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Cloud 9 Adventures |Tara Gracer

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Keith Zacharski

Avett Brothers at the Beach 2024 | Cloud 9 Adventures |Keith Zacharski

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