Rock, Ribs, & Ridges Festival – Hidden Valley Ski Lodge (Vernon, NJ)

filewebJust a 90-minute drive from New York City, Hidden Valley Ski Lodge in Vernon, New Jersey was set ablaze, bringing the greatest weekend of BBQ and southern music to the tri-state area. Celebrating its fourth year, Rock, Ribs and Ridges maintained southern tradition by combining the likes of Commander Cody, Preacher Stone, Charlie Daniels Band, Outlaws, the Marshall Tucker Band and four of the best BBQ masters in the country.

On the first day, Preacher Stone stopped festival-goers dead in their tracks with an energetic southern-style jam. As the day slowly came to a close, the masses lined up to see the Charlie Daniels Band set the mountain on fire. The all-female Canadian band Lipstick Rodeo made their American debut, and this festival greeted them with open arms.

But it was evident as the afternoon rolled on that most of the crowd was there for one reason: the Outlaws. The hot afternoon sun was no match for the heat given off by the band. As they ripped into “Green Grass and High Tides,” and “Hurry Sundown,” everyone got footloose, transforming the mountainside into a sea of waving hands. In between playing the fan favorites, the Outlaws treated us to “It’s About Pride,” a new release that tells a story about the South and the bands frontman Henry Paul toured with in the band‘s formative years. One thing was perfectly clear as the band said their goodbyes—they still know how to rock.

Driving down the mountain, in the shuttles that too us back to our parked cars, it was clear that this festival is run like a well-oiled machine. Rock, Ribs and Ridges: certainly a must for any true fan of Southern rock and BBQ.

– Gary Medica

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