The inaugural Trondossa Music & Arts Festival at North Charleston’s Riverfront Park co-organized by the headliner Widespread Panic and Live Nation, delivered an eclectic mix of jam, country, and good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. The spring weather couldn’t have been better for the rain or shine event. Big Something opened up Saturday, priming the audience for the energy to follow. The sultry country songstress Margo Price was up next. The mix of country and country western relaxed the afternoon crowd and allowed time to grease the proverbial dancing wheels with $8 PBRs and $10 craft brews … I guess the organizers knew that this crowd was majority middle-aged adults that could fit the bill for food and drink, even after the $105 dollar day ticket (service charge included).

Sturgill Simpson approached the set with raw, down and dirty, outlaw country. I guess you could call it country. I call it fucking rock ‘n’ roll. Simpson controlled the four piece band with his raucous Telecaster. Playing hits from all three of his albums, Sturgill meant business, and the crowd was ready to get down to brass tacks. The audience filled in the large outdoor space during Simpson’s set, and by the time he concluded, the masses were working their way up to a frenzy, wanting more music, more booze, and more dancing. 

The festival headliner Widespread Panic took the stage around 8 p.m. The Athens jam band bridged the gap of country, jam, and rock and roll with an sexy slide guitar opener of “Ribs and Whiskey.” The band’s two sets had some grit, sunshine, and cool covers, as the boys worked through the Guess Who’s “New Mother Nature,” Tom Petty’s “Honey Bee,” and Panic classics like “Jack,” “Bust it Big,” and a sweet “Surprise Valley” sandwich with “Red Hot Mama” being the meat. The light show that coincided with the music lived up to the latest motto from Widespread, “Space is the Place,” as even a sober mind would be lead down a psychedelic journey. The set concluded with a ten minute firework display that was a exhilarating climax to a day long grind that was perfectly timed to leave festival goers satisfied.

I was not able to make it out to day two of Trondossa, but after he first day, I can bet that the crowd was greeted with an equally powerful punch aimed to knockout the closing night. My hope is that with the success from year one, a second go around will be in order.


Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.