Festival Review: Jacob’s Ladder Festival

One of the best things about the festival is the buzz that starts on the first evening and just builds as it progresses.

Jacob's Ladder Festival  (photo credit: Victor Muper )
Jacob's Ladder Festival
(photo credit: Victor Muper )
It was not only the Kinneret that was full this past weekend, the annual spring version of the Jacob’s Ladder Festival was positively awash with quality entertainment and the usual bonhomie vibes, wherever you looked, or listened.
One of the best things about the festival is the buzz that starts on the first evening and just builds and builds as the three-dayer progresses.
The last day – Saturday – kicked off in fine style with a great folk acoustic fusion concert by wife-and-hubby duo Carlie (Fairburn) and Yosi (Chopen) which was described as a “a musical journey looping hypnotic rhythm and groove. Two people, many instruments.”
Said sonic enhancement was provided by Chopen, who employed a loop station to great effect, particularly on a groove-suffused, magical rendition of pop hit “Fever” – best known for the 1958 Peggy Lee version – in which Fairburn produced a multi-layered a capella version.
The couple’s emotive reading of Joni Mitchell’s anthemic “Woodstock” was another standout of the Lawn Stage show.
They were followed by British-born, California-based guitarist-vocalist Jason Feddy who delivered a powerful vocal and instrumental performance of original material, with plenty of entertaining and earthy in-between number banter. “Blood Is Blood,” Feddy’s call for some calm in this part of the world, was particularly well received.
Later, over at the Hermon Hall in the Nof Ginosar Hotel, a packed audience was enthralled by Freebo’s polished delivery of bluesy and folksy numbers, including songs he performed with and arranged for iconic blues artist Bonnie Raitt.
Freebo is evidently a gifted storyteller and he told us that, after accompanying a friend on his final journey, he began musing – not in a morbid way, he noted – about his own funeral and that, more than anything, he’d like the funeral participants to give him a “standing ovation.”
That led seamlessly into a Freebo original of that name and, naturally, elicited just such a response at the end.
Meanwhile, away from the official performance areas, all the while dozens of festival faithfuls continued to ebb and flow together in impromptu jam sessions in various corners of the hotel lobby and around the camping area, strumming banjos, guitars and mandolins aplenty, blowing into flutes and keeping a steady rhythm going on bodhráns.
And the delightfully full Kinneret was never far away...