Langerado festival brings eclectic artists and camping together

Tonight, just yards from the Everglades, the concert festival season will officially begin as Langerado kicks off at the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation. Headlined by the Beastie Boys, R.E.M. and Grateful Dead founder Phil Lesh, this year’s festival will differ from previous jam band oriented offerings. Whereas formerly the event has focused on acts like Widespread Panic and moe., this weekend will feature a more diverse cast of performers.

Langerado 2008 also expands on past productions as organizers have added a fourth day of music and more than doubled last year’s number of performances. This comes at a time when live shows continue to thrive amidst plummeting CD sales.

The festival has been around since 2003 – nearly a dinosaur in the burgeoning festival market. In addition to mainstays like Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza, more than 15 multi-day festivals are planned for this summer.

But Langerado offers something different for experienced festival-goers: Those in possession of a four-day pass are welcome to camp on the grounds of the reservation from Thursday through Sunday.

Langerado veteran and chair of Patio Jams Parker Smith said the move to the Everglades should benefit campers.

“From a camping perspective, it’s going to be much better since it’s a national park. Markham Park was dust-filled and dirty and there were a lot of fences everywhere. It felt like we were locked in a cage,” Smith, a senior, said. “What’s good about this year is their headliners at Langerado are different than the headliners at other festivals – like the Beastie Boys and R.E.M. aren’t playing other festivals.”

Frost School of Music-born rockers Awesome New Republic will play Langerado tonight from 10 to 10:45 p.m. as part of a continuing effort to showcase local talent at the event. The festival also hosts a bevy of other bands who have recently graced the University of Miami campus. Friday performers The Roots and The Spam Allstars were 2005’s Homecoming entertainment, while Ozomatli played the UC Patio in spring of 2006. Saturday will see a set from The Benevento Russo Duo, who were part of last year’s Go Green Festival on the Patio and also performed at the Rathskeller.

Visit for more information, including ticket prices, lists of allowed and prohibited items and a full schedule.

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