The 16th Annual Gathering of the Vibes Festival hit Bridgeport’s Seaside Park for the sixth year and rolled on for four days and despite record heat, drawing in over 20,000 people from as far as Canada.
Headlining this years' four-day event included music legends Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead as Furthur, playing Friday night to a steady stream of thousands equipped with glowsticks and their bare dancing feet.
Opening with "Minglewood Blues" and playing favorites like "Friend of the Devil" and "Sugaree", the packed crowd was eager to make it back to the second set for "St. Stephen" and "Sugar Magnolia" and hours more of feel-good tunes.
Frank Beres, Fairfield resident and 10-year "Vibe Tribe" veteran, spent all four days taking in the collection of celebrated musicians. From “moe.” to the Ryan Montebleau Band, Beres had to see them all, but it was the Grateful Dead experience which sold his spot again this year.
"My favorite set was Furthur because they always put on a good show," Beres said, "I danced a lot."
"The best part about Vibes is that I can forget about everything else for a weekend and do what I like; it can wait until I'm old and I can live while I'm young."
Saturday seemed to bring an even bigger crowd despite temperatures passing 100 degrees.
Although attractions like Ferris wheel rides, arts and craft vendors, fire breathers, cold beer and lemonade were big hits for Vibes attendees, it was surely the music that drew in the masses.
Kicking off the day on the Main Stage were the McLovins but it was the 9 p.m. showcase by Elvis Costello and the Imposters that really got the night started.
Opening with "Wavy Gravy" and playing tunes like "This Wheel's On Fire" and "A Slow Drag With Josephine", Costello took a hold of the young concert goers and undoubtedly turned them into fans with his upbeat tempos and finger snapping melodies that soared through the hot Seaside air.
Finally the dual headliner for Saturday night took the stage and rocked Bridgeport.
Jane's Addiction, known for their eccentric and ground-shaking performances did just that.
Dave Navarro put on a wild show on his guitar accompanying the unique vocals of Perry Farrell, always enthusiastic, to their hit "Been Caught Stealing," which got the crowd into a different party groove as they ended the night with "Jane Says."
Sherine Cirillo of Bridgeport made 2011 her fourth Vibes experience.
After recollecting her weekend, she ultimately favored Sunday's main showcase, The John Butler Trio.
"They were new to me and very entertaining. The show was energetic and I don't think the audience expected to have so much fun," she said.
Gathering of the Vibes has signed on for another soul groovin' long weekend at Seaside in 2012 due to the impressive turnout and seemingly unanimous appreciation of the scenic Long Island Sound.
If you didn't manage to make it this past weekend, you have all year to think about the next.
"Seaside is a great place for GOTV foremost because of the amazing view, having that experience on the waterfront is beautiful. As a festival-goer, I do have to say that it helps being in a local city for the convenience stores, motels and help for those coming from out of town," Cirillo says.
If weary about whether or not Vibes is right for you, consider Frank Beres.
"Everyone is really nice and easy going. It's great to meet people from different states and make new friends. We're all in this together!" he said.
For more information on the origins of The Gathering of The Vibes festival, photos and videos of musical acts and friendly faces, visit their official website or Facebook page.