Today, Mountain Jam has announced a big addition to their 2019 lineup: former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. The lineup for this edition of Phil & Friends has yet to be announced, but considering the talented group of artists set to perform at the festival, he surely has plenty of great choices to pick from.Phil Lesh & Friends will join a stacked artist roster at the 2019 edition of the long-running fest including fellow headliners Willie Nelson & Family, Gov’t Mule (2 sets), and The Avett Brothers. Other artists slated to perform at Mountain Jam 2019 include The Revivalists, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (2 sets), Dispatch, Alison Krauss, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Twiddle, Toots & The Maytals, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Mandolin Orange, Karl Denson‘s Tiny Universe, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Amy Helm, The Allman Betts Band, Marco Benevento, Andy Frasco & The U.N., Dusbowl Revival, The Nude Party, Tyler Ramsey, Mo Lowda & The Humble, The National Reserve, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Consider The Source, Mikaela Davis, Hollis Brown, Wild Adriatic, Balkun Brothers, The Big Takeover, Stephen Lewis & The Big Band of Fun, Bella’s Bartok, Sweet Marie, and more. The festival is set to take place at Bethel Woods from June 13th–16th.The 2019 lineup is an exciting return to form for the festival, which began as a jam-oriented event but moved toward more mainstream rock acts in recent years. In particular, this year marks the return of Mountain Jam co-founder Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule) to the lineup for the first time since 2016. Haynes had performed at every Mountain Jam from its inception through 2016, so his return to the lineup is a welcome change for the festival’s longtime patrons.As Haynes noted in a press release, “Having been there for the foundation and development of Mountain Jam including the curation of artists and music over the first 12 years and headlining with Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes Band, The Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh & Friends and sitting in with countless others, I am pleased to be returning for the festival’s 15th anniversary. Mountain Jam is changing its home, but going back to its roots. And I am happy to say that myself and Gov’t Mule will be returning as well. See you in June.”As Mountain Jam co-founder Gary Chetkof explained to The Poughkeepsie Journal about last year’s lineup, “I thought the music was amazing …We just didn’t have the right balance. We went a little too younger and a little too hipper than we should have. We learned a lot.”While Mountain Jam will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year, 2019 will mark its first year at a new location: Bethel Woods, the home of the original Woodstock back in 1969. As Chetkof explained to The Poughkeepsie Journal, leaving the festival’s original home, Hunter Mountain, is “actually very emotional for me.” However, he resolved that Bethel Woods “is like going to the Taj Mahal of sites. It’s all about being on an amazing piece of land. What could be more amazing than Bethel Woods and the home of the Woodstock festival… It was really just a matter of going to the promised land.”Mountain Jam kicks off Thursday, June 13th with a pre-party for 4-day pass holders featuring musical performances by Twiddle, Marco Benevento and more followed by three full days of music. Tickets, camping, travel packages, and more are available now via the festival website.
The University of Florida is banning its “Gator Bait” cheer at sporting events because of “historic racist imagery associated with the phrase,” school president Kent Fuchs announced Thursday.As part of a university-wide review to help the school take steps against racism, Fuchs highlighted the cheer as an action that will be taken immediately.“While I know of no evidence of racism associated with our ‘Gator Bait’ cheer at UF sporting events, there is horrific historic racist imagery associated with the phrase,” Fuchs said. “Accordingly, University Athletics and the Gator Band will discontinue the use of the cheer.”the band plays familiar tune prompts fans to make the gator chomp motion with their arms and shout “Gator Bait!”African American babies were used as alligator bait, according to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University, citing newspaper articles and imagery from the late 1800s and early 20th century. The term “alligator bait” was also used as a racial slur against African Americans.According to ESPN: Lawrence Wright, who popularized the phrase, “If you ain’t a Gator, ya Gator bait, baby,” after saying it following a win over Florida State in 1995, told The Gainesville Sun he was upset with the decision to remove the cheer and wants to talk to Fuchs.“I’m not going for it,” the former safety told the Sun. “I created something for us. It’s a college football thing. It’s not a racist thing, It’s about us, the Gator Nation. And I’m black. What about our history as the Gator Nation? We took a program from the top five to No. 1 in the country. I think I’ve done enough, put in the sweat and tears, to get to offer my opinion about something like this.”