As reported on Billboard.biz last month, Dave Matthews Band will stage four regional destination festivals this summer under the Dave Matthews Band Caravan banner, the first of which is set for June 24-26 at Bader Field, former site of the Atlantic City (New Jersey) Municipal Airport, the band announced this morning.
The band is taking the year off from touring, so these will be its only performances this year. While DMB fans have known such an announcement was coming, they may be surprised at the size and scope of these events, as the the event is a full-blown festival, at least in terms of talent. In addition to DMB, the Atlantic City lineup includes David Gray, Ray LaMontagne, the Flaming Lips, O.A.R., Damian Marley, Bassnectar, Dr. Dog, Amos Lee, Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Warren Haynes Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Guster, Lotus, Rebelution, Fitz and the Tantrums, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Lisa Hannigan, Punch Brothers, From Good Homes, Delta Spirit, Big Gigantic, Alberta Cross, Mariachi El Bronx, TR3, Vusi Mahlasela, the Budos Band and Bobby Long, and special performances by DMB members Carter Beauford and Stefan Lessard, plus a Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds acoustic set. The festival weekend will also include a number of late-night shows at Atlantic City venues.
The producer is DMB manager Coran Capshaw's Star Hill Presents, which is also is involved in producing the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee (with Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment), and the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco (with Superfly and Another Planet Entertainment).
The shows are conceived as destination events and are designed to let the fans come to DMB, as opposed to DMB visiting 60-plus cities as on a traditional tour. The festival's website -- www.dmbcaravan.com -- lists other shows on July 8-10 in the Midwest, and TBAs in August and September. DMB is booked by Chip Hooper at Paradigm Talent. Industry speculation is that Phish, who are also represented by Paradigm and Capshaw's Red Light Management, will stage their own festival at Watkins Glen in upstate New York Fourth of July weekend.
DMB is the top-grossing band in the world for the period 2000-2009, according to Billboard Boxscore, and grossed more than $62 million and drew more than a million fans last year. Those fans took notice when the band announced it would not tour in 2011, but Dave Matthews vaguely alluded that DMB might jam together this year in an interview with Billboard last December. "Next year, although we're not going to hop on the same train of buses and drive around North America, I have no doubt we're going to get together, whether it's in front of people or whether it's in some room somewhere, and make music together, because this is my second family," he said. As the Caravan announcement shows, the band has opted for "in front of people."
The DMB Caravan is the latest--and, potentially, the largest--event in a trend of artists staging their own festivals. Other examples include Zac Brown's Southern Ground Music & Food Festival in Clemson, S.C. April 8-10, the Roots' Picnic in Philadelphia June 4, and the Disco Biscuits' Camp Bisco festival in Mariaville, N.Y. July 7-9. Phish was the first band to do this sort of thing on a major scale, beginning with the Clifford Ball in 1996 in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Tickets for the Atlantic City DMB Caravan show will be available as three-day passes only. An online ticket request period for the Atlantic City festival begins March 14 and concludes March 21 on the band's website. Hotel and travel packages will also be available. Citi is the official credit card of the Dave Matthews Band Caravan, and Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets beginning March 21 through Citi's Private Pass Program. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on March 25 at www.DMBCaravan.com. They will also be available by phone at 1-800-594-TIXX.