Annual festival rocks waterfront

Grand Point North Festival, a heady lineup performing in Burlington’s beautiful Waterfront Park, was a night of festivities, flashing  instruments and special guests.

Grace Potter, the curator and headliner of the two-day festival, brought down the house.

Not only did she do this with her third encore of the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House,” but also with her stacked setlists, psychedelic kimonos and impressive vocal capabilities.

Hit songs, “Paris (oh la la),” “The Lion The Beast The Beat” “Apologies,” ”Ah Mary” and “Nothing But The Water” all made it onto the rocker’s first performance of the weekend.

During Potter’s first set, special guest Mike Gordon of Phish was brought onstage to cover Harry Nilsson’s bass-heavy “Jump into the Fire.”

Gordon performed with his band earlier in the night, fully equipped with bubbly bass lines, goofy lyrics and instruments rigged with LEDs and visual effects.

Guest appearances continued as country music icon, Kenny Chesney, performed the Potter/Chesney collaboration “Wild Child.” 

The crowd went absolutely berserk, whistling and cheering as the two friends hugged. Many were in yelping bewilderment.

Some even questioned his presence on stage as a group turned to one another and exclaimed, “Why is he here!” as if Chesney himself should be tending to more important obligations, such as playing in a field of grain for a group of angels up in heaven. 

Other notable acts included Levon Helm’s daughter Amy Helm, Shakey Graves, Madaila and Mal Maiz.

Madaila, a Burlington based group, hit the crowd with a heavy dose of “neon pop.”

Their most recognized songs, “I Know” and “Give Me All Your Love” made it hard not to move one’s hips as the band also danced in their retro, crotch-hugging tights.

“Our outfits are a visual representation of Mark Daley’s [lead vocalist and guitarist] personality,” band member Willoughby Morse said. “Basically all of our inner craziness is now on the outside.”

The first night ended with an extended cover of the Talking Head’s “Burning Down The House,” in which all the bands joined Potter on stage.

Auricularly filled with an eight hour day of music, the crowd poured into the Burlington streets making their way home to rest their ears and do it all over again tomorrow.