Annual festival rocks waterfront

Clouds of smoke floated over the crowd at Waterfront Park Sept. 12 as people danced in the mud and huddled cheerfully under umbrellas.

The festival grounds functioned as a microcosm of all things Vermont, judging by the stands offering samples of kombucha, free scoops of Ben & Jerry’s and even yak burgers.

Headliner Grace Potter described the festival as a chance to sing with “all her friends,” and the excited atmosphere reflected that.

Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers got the crowd moving with a bluesy, bluegrass sound before Mike Gordon, known for his work with the Vermont band Phish took the stage. Gordon’s set was guitar riff-heavy with funky drum beats.

After Gordon, Shakey Graves went on stage, who was one of the most anticipated performers of the night. The crowds pressed closer to the stage to listen to the Austin-based musician croon his trademark ballads.

A versatile guitarist and vocalist who transitioned easily between heart-pumping jams and slow love songs, Shakey Graves was one of the highlights of a long day of incredible music.

The anticipation for Potter was apparent later in the evening.

After a decade with The Nocturnals, her solo album, “Midnight,” was released in August. Potter opened with a fan favorite, “Medicine,” and joked with the crowd about the gloomy weather.

Potter sang several songs off her new album, including the wistful “Empty Heart” and the psychedelic, catchy headbanger “Delirious.” “Midnight” is quintessentially Potter, but it’s definitely a new spin on her classic sound.

Potter has transcended expectations with her daring new work and another successful Grand Point North festival in Burlington.