Country, alt-rock, old-school hip-hop, jam bands and other styles collide at this year’s Big E Festival, which takes place from Sept. 14 to 30 in West Springfield, Mass.
Main stage performers the Marshall Tucker Band (Sept. 14) and Old Dominion (Sept. 15) perform at the Xfinity Arena, while Blessid Union of Souls (Sept. 14-16), Morris Day & the Time (Sept. 16), Max Creek (Sept. 21), Grandmaster Flash (Sept. 22), NRBQ (Sept. 23) and Jefferson Starship (Sept. 28-30) all grace the Court of Honor Stage.
Court of Honor Stage shows are free with gate admission. Tickets to the Big E are on sale now at thebige.com.
Here are a few tracks by Court of Honor performers to hear before you go.
Blessid Union of Souls, “Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me)” (Sept. 14-16, 3 p.m.)
Admittedly, the Cincinnati, Ohio rock band’s latest single, “I Still Cry at Movies,” is too weepy to endure. But mega-hits like “I Believe” and this one, which boasts one of the more memorable choruses in recent decades, are catchy enough to pull you through.
Morris Day & The Time, “Jungle Love” (Sept. 16, 8 p.m.)
Morris Day was the villain in the “Purple Rain” movie, but he was still pretty adorable. “Jungle Love,” like the video below, is absolutely iconic.
Max Creek, “Playing in the Band” (Grateful Dead cover) (Sept. 21, 8 p.m.)
Connecticut’s favorite jam-band proudly waves the freak flag, as shown on this 18-minute cover of a Grateful Dead classic, recorded for Telefunken Elektroakustik in South Windsor. Other artists have bigger hits, but few bands put on a better live show. (And Scott Murawski is a legit guitar god.)
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, “The Message” (Sept. 22, 8 p.m.)
If you’re of a certain age (like me), you know every nuance, inflection and sound effect in “The Message,” which somehow still manages to sound both relevant and futuristic.
NRBQ, “I Got A Rocket In My Pocket” (Sept. 23, 8 p.m.)
Sadly, the classic ‘Q lineup — pianist Terry Adams, bassist Joey Spampinato, guitarist Al Anderson and drummer Tom Ardolino (RIP) — is a thing of the past. But Adams and new members Casey McDonough (bass), Scott Ligon (guitar) and John Perrin (drums) manage to carry forward the songs and the spirit. Adams’ barrelhouse piano solo in this 1988 clip is a thing of beauty.