Grace Potter is looking forward to performing at Rachael Ray’s Feedback Chicago, taking place this Saturday (June 25) in the city’s Lincoln Park. And she’ll be taking notes for her own Grand Point North festival on Sept. 17-18 in Burlington, Vt.
“It’s a lot like what I do, which is so personalized,” Potter tells Billboard. Lee Fields & the Expressions will also be performing at the food, drink and music event. “She’s such a music fan and such a food fan. And my favorite things in the world is to smush those two things together, with really cool people. My festival is coming up; Rachael’s gonna give me a run for my money to figure out how to make it a wonderful, scrumptious weekend like hers.” Potter’s and Ray’s camps — she’s never met Ray herself — had spoken several times in the past about her playing at Ray’s annual Feedback events at South By Southwest, but the schedules never matched up. But playing music within proximity of good food is decidedly within Potter’s wheelhouse.
“Food has always been a passion for me from a very young age,” says Potter, who’s branded her own chocolate bars, maple syrup and ice cream. “I loved the experience of going to the farmers’ market, seeing where your food is grown, turning it into something delicious. We’ve done little YouTubes cooking from the road, showing little recipes and stuff. Most of the most famous YouTube stuff that comes out, like how to do the best barbecue or whatever, there’s always awesome music playing in the background. I don’t think that’s a mistake.”
The Feedback Chicago event will be part of Potter’s summer tour itinerary, continuing to support her 2015 solo album Midnight. She’s been spending time in the studio recently, however — including recording for a NASA project that will be announced soon — and Potter confirms that her next album will keep her on a solo path rather than regrouping the Nocturnals, whose Benny Yurco remains in her solo band.
“I’m definitely not done exploring that,” Potter says. “My career has definitely taken a turn in the last year and a half in a new direction. Me and the band have definitely parted ways right now; It’s been a long process of recognizing how good that’s been for everybody. It’s certainly doesn’t mean that nothing will ever happen again; I’m never gonna make an Eagles ‘when hell freezes’ over statement. But I’m really enjoying the experience and sort of taking responsibility for the role I play in being a musician in this world. It doesn’t always have to be the big, collective family affair. There’s a lot of calls coming in for cool things, cool opportunities.”
Potter is also busy working with Rock The Vote and HeadCount, taking the organizations on the road with her to help register fans to vote in this year’s elections. Hailing from Vermont, of course, Potter has been watching the presidential campaign of one of her own, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and has liked what she’s seen even though Hillary Clinton is now the party nominee. “Vermont is my home and he’s definitely expanded from Vermont,” Potter says. “He’s made a point of taking this thing onto the national level. He’s not running home to hibernate. I’m proud of him.”