Music lovers from all over came together at Fool’s Paradise over the April Fool’s weekend in St. Augustine, Florida, to enjoy some funky jams and unforgettable memories. St. Augustine is America’s oldest city and rumored to be the home of the famed Fountain of Youth. The vibes at Fool’s Paradise left attendees realizing how sacred the space is and there was no doubt this magical place left everyone leaving with smiles of funkin’ joy.
The gates opened up at 3:00 p.m. and the parking lot filled up with vendors of all kinds. Walking around the parking lot made me feel as if I was in the 80’s touring the Grateful Dead and living in the lot. There were tie-dyes, Grateful Dead shirts, and wonderful food vendors everywhere.
The amazing guitarist, Erik Carlson, along side drummer Rob Humphreys and organist Trevor Steer kicked off the first set of Fool’s Paradise at 3:30 p.m. The atmosphere from the families and people was amazing and attendees slowly filled the amphitheater when Adam Deitch (Lettuce & Break Science) and John McCarten (Manic Focus) took the stage. These two brought the energy and had the crowd dancing in excitement.
When evening came around everyone was ready to get down to some true funk. Lettuce was everything I could have dreamed of. I could see the crowd from below like an ocean rocking back and forth to the waves of funk. Everyone seemed blessed to be there and grateful to be listening to the amazing sounds of Lettuce funk. Part of the appreciation and love felt by fans could have been due to Oteil Burbridge stepping on stage for a massive bass solo that left me and Nick Bogannam stunned as he effortlessly spanned the full range of his bass with deadly bass bombs and out of this world playing that took the jams and flipped them on a head like a Ninja Turtle would!
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead closed this epic night out with some heady Grateful Dead covers. All the Dead Heads filled the rest of the Amphitheater to enjoy high-energy jams. They played ‘Not Fade Away’ and the whole crowd went wild. Everyone looked as if they were at peace with themselves and engulfed with bless during minute of it.
Once the music ended the attendees headed to the parking lot for some late night food and hanging out with friends. This was a great time for one another to connect and meet other like-minded individuals who share the same passion for music. I felt as if I were at a festival walking around seeing new beautiful faces.
Saturday came with beautiful sunshine and wonderful bright skies. Attendees were up early, eager to embark on their artist excursions. Lettuce blew my mind away with so much funk that playing putt-putt the next day was just what I needed to relax before another amazing set. I had the pleasure of playing with Lyle Divinsky from The Motet on the team “Funkin’ Pirates” named by CYM’s Nick Bogannam.
This was truly a memory never to forget with waterfalls and a pirate ship. After a wonderful game of putt-putt, everyone enjoyed some delicious ice cream with Jesus Coomes from Lettuce and Antwaun Stanley from Vulfpeck. Time was ticking before the amphitheater was open and people would soon pile in. The Main Squeeze brought the soulful rock n roll and I was very impressed by the band’s performance. The Motet took stage and came in strong with their one-of-a-kind, high-energy funk. Lyle Divinsky, the amazingly talented singer, stole the crowd away with his voice.
The Floozies was just what everyone needed for a change in music. These two brothers, Matt and Mark Hill, infuse a twist on the funk with their deep wubs and electronic sounds. The frequencies were a wave of beautiful energy enlightening the crowd. The Shady Horns (Eric “Benny” Bloom on the trumpet and Ryan Zoidis on the saxophone) joined in with The Floozies for a mind-altering set filled with the best of brass.
The party was not ready for what funk was about to unwind when Lettuce took the stage the second night to close out the second annual Fool’s Paradise. These were some of the funkiest times shared with the most wonderful people I have ever been a part of. Present with the headiest of Lettuce heads and only the funkiest vibes, Fool’s Paradise makes any music fan a Funk Fool.
All words and photos by Alexander Torre and Nick Bogannan