Everyone knows to go apple picking as soon as there is a chill in the air. Families head to the pumpkin patch to choose the subject of their Jack O’Lanterns and take those iconic fall pumpkin patch pics. New Englanders go for drives to their favourite leaf peeping spots and hikes to see the colors of fall stippled across the landscape. Only those with the South Shore and Nantucket scoop, know that Levitate’s Flannel Jam is the perfect fall outing with friends or family. Flannel Jam is so much more fun than apple picking and with way more flannel, food and live music. It was wonderful to see many young kids enjoying the space, music and activities while parents were relaxing on blankets, picnic tables and by the stages nearby.
It isn’t a Flannel Jam without flannel and Levitate’s fall collection is both flannel-iscious and impressively well made. These flannels will keep you cozy and stylish for years to come, only getting softer and cozier year after year. At Flannel Jam, you could customize your flannels (the ones you came in wearing or purchased on site) with a fab selection of patches that were pressed onto the flannels on site. It was fun to see a sea of flannel at the jam. Everyone understood the assignment and flannels of all sizes, colors and designs filled the fairgrounds.
Music fans young and old, enjoyed the line up at Flannel Jam from various spots on the Marshfield Fairgrounds. What is nice about the layout at Levitate is that there are designated areas for blanket and low height chairs for families and friends that want to claim a spot to hang out together. Every area had space for the children to spread out and play or get up and dance. In front of the stage there is plenty of room for fans who want to be right up close to the music as well. Families and older fans found comfortable spots to place their chairs and picnic blankets to enjoy the music from a distance or gathered up front for their favourite artists.
When stomachs begin to rumble there are plenty of tasty options for something to eat on a cool fall day: pizza, pierogis, chili and as any fine fall day needs there were cider doughnuts too. A fall day pairs very well with a beer from the bar too. Levitate Flannel Jam had plenty of space to picnic. Friends gathered at one of the picnic tables by the food trucks or set up picnic blankets. After a bite to eat, you can head back to the stages to take in more music sets, take the kids to paint pumpkins or visit some of the artists painting murals or vendors selling creative and beautiful works. One of the sponsors, Nantucket Crisps, was handing out samples of their chips. Since it happened to be the weekend of my Canadian Thanksgiving, I had to try the Thanksgiving Stuffing chips (which were delicious) while others stuck with the plain salted. I have to say, I saw many young kids relishing the highly seasoned Stuffing Terrific chips while their parents stuck with the plain salted, which surprised me.
As with Levitate’s summer music festival, the line up of artists was a good mix of genres. Fans lined the front of the stage, and those who may have been new to a particular artist, quickly became fans too. The following of each band might vary in size and style, but the audience was eager to enjoy the music from whichever vantage point at Flannel Jam they find themselves. People sang, danced, dozed, and just enjoyed a gorgeous fall day together. Flannel Jam definitely skews a bit more to the folk, singer-songwriter and bluegrass genre, which is perfect for a nice fall day of jamming.
This year’s Flannel Jam Line up was: Birch Swart and Sesalia, Ali McGuirk, Heavy Heavy, Melt, Futurebirds, Jackson + Mihali, Chadwick Stokes & The Pintos, and Old Crow Medicine Show. I was familiar with a few of the bands after seeing them at Levitate over the summer and loved getting to hear the others for the first time. Here is a look at the line up.
Birch Swart and Sesalia
Birch Swart kicked off Flannel Jam this year, with his gentle voice and guitar playing. He was joined by Sesalia on the double bass for most of the set. Birch Swart is a local musician out of Scituate, MA. Follow him on Instagram to catch his next local gig or you can listen on Spotify here.
Ali McGuirk played Levitate Flannel Jam just before heading on her European Tour. She will be back in the area later this fall, playing at The Sinclair in November. McGuirk is also a local musician, whose voice and music tells stories or love, life and relationships. It is powerful and relatable, except maybe for the youngest fans. She has a clear soulful voice that sucks you into her stories.
The Heavy Heavy
The Heavy Heavy are a Brighton UK based band, led by Georgie Fuller and Will Turner. They played Levitate Music and Arts Festival over the summer and were back to jam with their fans old and new at Flannel Jam. The Heavy Heavy will be back in the US again in South Carolina in the spring.
Melt has a spunky energy that they bring to the stage along with a little brass action from a sax and trumpet in addition to the standard guitar, bass and drums. Their sound has a mix of soul with an infusion of pop and the energy on stage matches that. Melt is out of NYC and was also part of this summer’s line up at Levitate Music Festival. Melt just finished a summer of gigs by the shore in MA, RI, and CT.
Futurebirds are fun to watch, listen to and dance to. The dynamic on stage is super playful and lively. Daniel Womack has so much fun up there. Like many of the bands that play Levitate, Futurebirds don’t fit into one specific music genre. Futurebirds is a little more rock than jam and a little too folksy to be country, but a little too country to be indie. Whatever you want to call them, they know how to strum, shred, and croon out some pretty catchy danceable tunes.
Jackson + Mihali
Mihali comes to Levitate Flannel Jam from the flannel loving state of Vermont Much of Mihali’s music is infused with Reggae sound and spirit. Mihali is another artist that doesn’t feel the need to stick to a genre or style of music and songwriting. For Mihali, music is ever evolving and growing over time. Mihali had some young tween fans right up front, as well as fans of all age, some singing along every word. His warm personality draws you in. For those who ride and ski, you can catch Mihali at Killington in Vermont December 28th and 29th.
Chadwick Stokes & The Pintos
Chadwick Stokes and The Pintos go from chill vibes to rocking out in a blink of an eye. Lots of singing in unison, harmonies and fingers flying across strings get the message across with songs about everything from being custodians of the earth to matters of the heart. Chadwick Stokes and The Pintos are also Boston area locals and had many fans old and new joining them up front singing along.
Old Crow Medicine Show
The night ended with a wild and raucous twang from the music and energy of Old Crow Medicine Show. They brought an unparalleled spirit to the stage as well as all the instruments including: piano, banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, accordion, upright bass (aka double bass) and a personal favourite the harmonica. Old Crow Medicine Show is an Americana band out of Nashville, Tennessee. They were a blast to watch and listen to. Old Crow Medicine Show’s music did not stop and the energy was full force. It was a show that I would see again and again because they just remind you why you’re alive and not to take things too seriously in the best possible way through music.
Flannel Jam is a great day of music and I highly recommend it for a family outing or a fall outing with friends. The music festival is a great spot to reunite with friends or family and enjoy New England fall. Get on the list so you can save and get early bird tickets for next year. In the meantime, if you want to order some cozy flannels to get you through fall and winter, I can vouch for the quality and love Levitate’s classic looks.