Wanee festival pays tribute to Levon Helm
April 23rd, 2012
04:54 PM ET

Wanee festival pays tribute to Levon Helm

Over the weekend, artists paid tribute to The Band’s Levon Helm at the 8th annual Wanee Music Festival at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was 71 when he died on Thursday. Hours later, Hot Tuna – featuring fellow Rock Hall members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen – performed “I Am the Light of This World” and “99 Year Blues” in honor of Helm, kicking off a number of notable performances in his memory.

The next day, under a bright noonday sun, Bruce Hornsby sang a moving rendition of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” which was made famous by Helm and The Band in 1969. Hornsby followed this up with his original classic “The Way It Is.”

Later on Friday, The Allman Brothers Band – who host and headline Wanee – belted out a trilogy of songs by The Band, starting with “It Makes No Difference.”

Next came a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Blind Willie McTell,” which was recorded by The Band and released in 1993 for the album “Jericho.” It would become a Helm favorite to play live.

The Allman’s trilogy concluded with a powerful performance of “The Weight,” which featured a number of special guests, including 2012 Grammy winner Susan Tedeschi and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir.

Unfortunately, Saturday brought torrential downpours to the stages at Wanee, with the worst of the weather cutting off Gov’t Mule’s tribute of “The Shape I’m In.” As rain poured from the sky and thunder filled the air, Mule’s rocking rendition of the 1970 single by The Band stopped abruptly as it no longer became possible for the performers to continue.

With clearer skies, the festival ended at two in the morning Sunday when the North Mississippi Allstars began their encore with an instrumental guitar jam that seemed to include elements of Allman Brothers’ classics “Blue Sky” and “Jessica.”

Before kicking into the tune, Luther Dickinson told the crowd that it was dedicated to former Allman Brothers Band member Dickey Betts, late members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, and also for Levon Helm, making it a rather all-encompassing and fitting end to a weekend of good music and good memories.

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. aolmmnbjyvrtl

    Various times, not on how massage in beijing I do in quiet to look after on the line

    July 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Echo

    I was there it it was truly amazing. RIP Levon, I will truly miss your voice and your spirit.

    April 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sam

    Here's a solid tribute to Levon I found from down in Mississippi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ado1LTHTdko

    April 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. randy harries

    after retiring in 2011,I got a big tatoo " Life is a carnival, two bits a shot added a girl in a coctail glass with a tent and ferris wheel and plenty of color and blue sky. After being a Dylan fan,band fan also atteding The Last Waltz I don,t ever want to forget my generatoin,what a ride. Randy Harries

    April 25, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chris D.

    You can never replace a man like Levon Helm. HIs contribution to music and the number of musicians that he's influenced is immeasurable. Levon will always live on through his music.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. danielwalldammit

    Lotta southern rockers down for the count. Sad.

    April 24, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • J.Crobuzon

      Lot more coming along to replace them; every time it rains a mushroom grows.

      April 24, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sokman

    Of Men At Work?

    April 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.Crobuzon

      These are the Southern-influenced Sixties rockers burying their dead. Men At Work are from Australia.

      April 24, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sokman

    Of Men At Work

    April 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sokman

    No love for flutist... floutist... whatever?

    April 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |

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