By Pete Zamplas- The Family Stone will wind up a funky Lake Eden Arts Festival for “Everyday People” to “Dance to the Music” on Mother’s Day.
The 38th LEAF is May 8-11, at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain. Funky costumes are encouraged for patrons, to celebrate the theme of Free Your Funky Self. “The cosmic funk gods opened the doors for LEAF to have one of the best funk bands of all time join us,” LEAF founder and Executive Director Jennifer Pickering said of the Family Stone. “LEAF just star bursted to a new level of funk.”
The Family Stone, minus Sly, plays 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 11.
Four-time Grammy award winners Sly & the Family Stone are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and among Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 25 Greatest Bands of All Time. The band was a crowd favorite at Woodstock in 1969, utilizing call-and-response. Their soul, funk and psychedelic rock inspired The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Prince, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Sly & the Family Stone’s biggest hits included frenetic funky “Dance to the Music,” and sassy “Hot Fun in the Summertime.” Three songs topped both pop and R&B charts. They were “Everyday People” with the phrase “different strokes for different strokes,” “Thank You,” and urban blues “Family Affair.” Other hits are “I Wanna Take You Higher,” “Stand!,” “Everybody is a Star,” “Time for Livin,’” “If You Want Me to Stay” (with Rose Stewart on lead vocals), “Smilin’,” “Runnin’ Away,” and “Loose Booty.”
The band formed in 1966 in San Francisco around an actual family — Stewart siblings Sylvester (lead vocals and songwriter, keyboards, et al), guitarist Freddie, keyboardist Rose, “Little Sister” Vaetta, and cousin Larry Graham on bass. The band was busiest until 1975, and split by 1983. Enigmatic Sly reportedly dealt with substance abuse for years, ending up homeless and living in a camper-van by 2011. “Stone” came from the Stewart brothers’ prior bands, Sly & the Stoners and Freddie & the Stone Souls.
LEAF Performing Arts Director Ehren Cruz stated, “We are honored to have such iconic legends perform, and share their musical magic.”
Featured LEAF acts include Grammy-winning Bootsy Collins & the Funk Unity Band; reggae Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and experimental world fusion trio Beats Antique. Grammy nominees include Locos por Juana with Afro-Caribbean funk, rock-reggae Boukman Eksperyans, and harmonious roots duo Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien.
Folk-rockers Elephant Revival and soulful multi-instrumentalist Zach Deputy are among highlights. Contra dance bands are popular Wild Asparagus and Perpetual Emotion. A hypnotic techno contra dance is late Saturday night.
There is as always a variety of healing arts workshops and vendors, folk art and handcraft exhibitions, interactive demonstrations, poetry and puppetry slams, watersports, camping and seven Family Adventure Villages.
Tickets are $48 per adult per day ($58 for Saturday), $163 for the weekend or $109 for Buncombe County commuters for full three days. Tickets are available in advance only, online via theLEAF.org or by calling 686-8742 (68MUSIC).