Dance the night away with a killer lineup at Big Mean BBQ

The third annual Big Mean BBQ brings one of the best lineups of the summer Ithaca music season together for a day and a night of festivities this weekend in Trumansburg. Gates open at noon Saturday and the music begins at 2pm with live bands and DJs set to play through the afternoon and evening and long into the night.

Driftwood at GrassRoots. 14850 file photo.

Set at the Agard Road site used by the GrassRoots Festival for off-site camping and parking, Big Mean BBQ III is moving from its past home at the CRAQ Barn, and will feature great BBQ and food trucks, beer and wine vendors, and of course hour after hour of music.

One of the headliners for the show is Driftwood, the only band to have won the GrassRoots Band Contest twice and who have worked hard and toured hard to build on that success, appearing regularly at GrassRoots over the last few years. They’ve also been regular performers on the bill of GrassRoots-sponsored Big Splash environmental awareness events throughout the region. They’ve always been an acoustic band with a rock and roll heart, and it continues to shine through.

The Blind Spots performing at GrassRoots. 14850 file photo.

The Blind Spots are a musical force, and they’re also playing this weekend. They draw musical inspiration from the harder edge of classic rock and add social commentary to the mix, and singer Maddy Walsh has an expressive voice that sends everything she sings into the stratosphere. She’s a truly great front person.

Rochester’s Thunder Body joined the lineup at GrassRoots back in 2015 and played this spring in WVBR’s Electric Avenue Music Festival to benefit Loaves & Fishes. Mosaic Foundation has been around the local scene for many, many years now, and are some real reggae session players. Also on the mainstage lineup are the Ithaca Bottom Boys and the Analogue Sons.

Big Mean Sound Machine generally has at least a dozen musicians on stage. 14850 file photo.

And of course Big Mean Sound Machine is both the biggest band in the lineup and the biggest name on the bill. With up to sixteen members depending on who’s able to make the trip for any given show, Big Mean has been wrapping their large cast of characters around instrumental afrobeat music to considerable acclaim for years.  They’re playing from 11pm-12:30am on Saturday night.

DJ Ha-MEEN, DJ Gourd, Peace & Rhythm, Kang Party, and more will be on the Winky Stage, offering a different vibe as well as filling in some gaps as bands change on the main stage.

Beverages will be available from Ithaca Beer Company and Wagner Vineyards, with food offered by Silo Food Truck, Franco’s Pizzeria, OmNomNomelettes, Shuggie’s Coffee, Inside Scoop Ice Cream, and Monks on the Commons.

General admission tickets are $25 in advance, and car camping and RV camping tickets cost $20 and 30, respectively, plus online purchasing fees, at TicketFly. Fee-free tickets are available at Ithaca Guitar Works and the State Theatre, and ticket prices are higher at the gate. No glass containers, no weapons, and no pets. More info is available at

Alan Rose and Chris Wilson contributed.

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