Gathering of the Vibes has announced that the festival will be taking a hiatus in 2016 after 20 consecutive years of bringing tens of thousands of Deadheads and jam band fans together for several days of music, arts and camping.
Over the years every major jam act, including members of the Grateful Dead among countless others has played the annual event. Founding organizer Ken Hays posted a letter on the festival's Facebook page detailing the decision to cancel the event this coming year, reassuring the VibeTribe that the break is merely a pause, noting that the festival organizers "need a time out" after two decades of working as independent promoters and have decided to take this time "to reflect on the memories, explore new and exciting festival initiative while planning [their] triumphant return in 2017."
As JamBands.com points out, the statement also pays homage to the spirit of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead as the inspiration for the Gathering and concludes with the words, "Take good care of each other, be kind & know that our love will not fade away!" See the full statement below.
The VibeTribe organizers held the festival's first inception, called Deadhead Heaven—A Gathering of the Tribe, in 1996 on the SUNY Purchase College campus in Westchester, New York less than a year after the death of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia. As JamBase reports, the name was officially changed to Gathering of the Vibes the following year. In the two decades that follow, what had started out as a memorial party for Garcia turned into an annual four-day festival that has featured the Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule, Jimmy Cliff, Damian Marley, Elvis Costello, John Fogerty, James Brown, The Black Crowes, Jane's Addiction, John Butler Trio, Primus, George Clinton and P-Funk, moe., Bruce Hornsby, Nas and countless others. This past year's Gathering lineup also included New Riders of the Purple Sage, Twiddle, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Luttuce, Weezer, Wilco and The String Cheese Incident, just to name a few.
Over the years, the festival worked to reduce its environmental footprint and donated tons of foods to local food banks.
While waiting for the festival's return in 2017, at least there's YouTube! Watch this epic performance by STS9 at 2012's festival below.