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Just Asking
by Dana Duffield
Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY
Jul 16th, 1998

Welcome to the festival explosion.

Lilith. The Warped Tour. Smokin' Grooves. The Furthur Fest. Since last year's death of the mother of all festivals, Lollapalooza, the babypaloozas have multiplied and taken over the concert-going market.

One of them, though, has been around since the good old days - 1992 to be exact. The HORDE Tour was formed by the band Blues Traveler to showcase live music. Past year's headliners include Dave Matthews Band and Neil Young. This year's line up, coming to Darien Lake on Aug. 7, stars the likes of Barenaked Ladies, Ben Harper and Alana Davis, along with the guys who started it all.

We spoke by phone recently to Blues Traveler guitarist Chan Kinchla about one of the band's recent gigs and the festival phenomenon.

Did you enjoy playing at the Tibetan Freedom Concert?
Chan: We were on the second day, and the first day, about half the show got rained out. All the bands got shoved in and put on that Saturday, so we got the whole weekend shoved into one day, which was awesome - it was an absolute full-on affair.

Sean Lennon snapped at a reporter who asked if the crowd was there for the cause or the music. What do you think?
Chan: I think they're there for the music, but I think that positive aspect of what music can do is, it brings people in and raises awareness. Throughout it all, there's tons of literature, people keep talking about it, they have speakers on between bands... It raises enough awareness so that people don't take our policy for China without paying attention to it - they might look twice at it - which in turn embarrasses and puts more pressure on our government to be a little more responsible in dealing with it.

How do you feel about all of the different music festivals that have popped up in the past few years?
Chan: I think it kind of exploded and oversaturated last year. Lollapalooza finally closed down... I think it just got to the point where concerts have gotten so expensive to go to that people only have enough money to go to a few every year. Tours that have survived have their niche that they've kind of stumbled into it. People just want to see something that's their cup of tea.

What niche do you think HORDE fills?
Chan: Ideally, real live music fans that are there to really concentrate on live music performances as opposed to bands that may have radio status or a type of image or attitude they're portraying - bands that have a very strong musical approach.