The Dave Matthews Band hasn't even officially announced a Labor Day Weekend residency at the Gorge this year, but the independently owned Wildhorse Campground nearby is already booked. Owner Scott Teuber says he usually doesn't take reservations before shows have been announced. But with Internet speculation rampant--and word of a DMB-backed multiday festival coming this September--he made the decision to take reservations early.
"So many of our loyal regular customers--some of them have been coming for 10 years in a row for this weekend [didn't get spots], and golly, we're just getting inundated," Teuber says. "[They're saying] 'We've watched your kids grow up, we know every one of your dog's names, you've gotta let us in!'"
Last week the band announced that they would be hosting four festival-style weekends called the "Dave Matthews Band Caravan." The first stop is scheduled for June 24-26 in Atlantic City, and will feature the Flaming Lips, Dr. Dog, David Gray, OAR, acoustic sets from members of the DMB, and a headlining set from the band at night. According to the band's Web site, the Caravan will also stop somewhere in July (8-10), August, and September. More specific dates, bands, and venues have yet to be announced, yet as one of the band's favorite venues, the Gorge is considered a shoo-in.The annual Gorge pilgrimage for DMB fans was supposed to be interrupted after the band said they would take the summer off from touring. But Matthews told Reverb that his band was considering playing several shows over the summer, and was particularly keen on the Gorge. He even said he'd consider playing Bumbershoot.
DMB has competed with Seattle's Labor Day Weekend festival for the last five years, a period that has hit Bumbershoot with declining numbers and front-office layoffs. A DMB-free weekend--or a Matthews set at Bumbershoot--would help kick a few extra bodies back to the ailing festival.
Though Bumbershoot's lineup has yet to be announced, all signs indicate that the festival will once again compete with Wallingford's most famous resident for fans this year.