2. Foundation Of FunkIt’s almost impossible to talk about funk music without hearing George Porter Jr.‘s name mentioned, and for good reason. He and his rhythm partner from the Original Meters, Zigaboo Modeliste are the Foundation Of Funk, and, with special guests John Medeski and Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds, the foundations showed how much the godfathers of the groove have left in them. Check out an epic “Cissy Strut” below.3. LettuceWith the past firmly covered, Lettuce came into the festival with a head of steam from a summer of wowing crowds across the nation. The band is a true symbiosis of superstar talent and a complete lack of musical ego that is both rare and amazing to see in action. Taking funk into the future, Lettuce is on the cutting edge of space age super funk, and the appreciative crowd was more than happy to follow them into the outer reaches of the jam. Blast off with the band below: After two years of silence, the mighty heart of Bear Creek beat once again, loud and proud on the Bayou in New Orleans, Louisiana. Bands like Lettuce and Dumpstaphunk that had that championed the beloved festival flocked to Crescent City to once again take the stages at the Bear Creek Bayou Festival, alongside other alumni like George Porter Jr., Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Soulive and The Heavy Pets. With an eye to the future, new acts ranging from The Floozies to The Flaming Lips made their debut, alongside the much anticipated arrival of the mothership that is George Clinton’s Parlianent-Funkadelic.With three stages situated around the waterfront landmark venue Mardi Gras World, Bear Creek picked right back up where it left off. Our own Rex Thomson was allowed to roam the festival and capture what he could photo and video wise and has returned from his funk odyssey with tales of the ten best things he experienced over the weekend. Check out the stories, photos and videos below.1. George Clinton’s Parliament FunkadelicP-Funk’s arrival in the park was long overdue, and the anticipation was well warranted, as the two hour mixture of classic tunes and more modern, hip-hop influenced songs had the crowd dazed, confused and smiling ear to ear. As always the stage was packed, with the old guard from the way back good old days supplemented by a fresh crop of eager musicians, all working to create the finest funk possible. Overseeing this effort was the man himself, George Clinton, bespoke and ready to flow to the grooves being laid down.Check out their stellar version of the classic “We Want The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)” below: 4. DumpstaphunkAs mentioned earlier, Dumpstaphunk has been a pillar of the Bear Creek spirit, and their two sets over the weekend were easily some of the funkiest sounds laid down over the weekend. Occasionally dueling on the bass with bandmate Nick Daniels, multi-instrumentalist Tony Hall put on a clinic in how to keep things funky. Covering the drummer stool once again, Nikki Glaspie of The Nth Power kept the beat alive for band leader Ivan Neville, whose organ and key board game is as strong as it ever has been. Give a listen to a get down version of the band’s tune “Water” below: 5. Flaming LipsAn old tenant of show biz is “Never follow a kids act,” since any mis-step will invite unflattering comparisons. That said, it’s been decades since the Saturday night anchors The Flaming Lips worried about anyone upstaging them. Since their founding under legendarily sketchy circumstances, Wayne Coyne and crew have pushed the boundaries of fusing art and psychedelia, creating a sonic dream-scape that can be…unsettling. But to the initiated and open minded, each show is a sacred right of love and hope.While some mistakenly focus on the theatrics and the similarity of set lists (They’ve closed with the same song, “Do You Realize,” for more than a decade), what they’re missing is the planned progression of emotional states the band is trying to lead the crowd through. Wayne Coyne is a master at guiding fans along the path of hope and harmony, using musical dissonance as a tool to unsettle and inspire at the same time.From the cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” his crossing of the crowd in a plastic bubble to the endless blasts of confetti from the canons and one-shot launchers he was well armed with, every action taken by Coyne was part of a carefully planned whole. While their music may not be for everyone, their core concept certainly is.The symbolism of his being held aloft in his bubble as he made his way, thanks to the out-stretched hands supporting him, showed what we could all do if we choose to lift instead of tearing down. Ot was a beautiful reminder that we are all in this together. We hold up others now, so that when we need to be lifted, there will be hands ready to raise us towards the stars. As messages go, there are few finer.6. Chali 2na & The House Of VibeAnother long time friend of the Bear Creek, Jurassic 5’s baritone master of flow Chali 2na was on hand with his band The House Of Vibe to kick mad flows and show how much magic could be made melding a live soul band and one of the best rappers of his generation. Using his set to showcase the young in body, not in spirit members of his band 2na showed the science and rapid fire skills that made him a legend were still strong within him. Give a listen to the wicked wordplay he laid out below:7. Zach DeputyThe one man band that is Zach Deputy broke with type and played his first set with his band The Hashtags before doing a more traditional looping set of his island flavored love music. He’s been playing the Bear Creek Festival since his beginnings and he was clearly happy to be back on familiar turf, even if the location was different. It seems a little weird to see Zach not making every little bit of the sound coming from the speakers, but it spoke volumes to his musical dexterity. Have a listen to his full band sound below:8. Karl Denson’s Tiny UniverseThe funky force of Karl Denson was in full effect at Bear Creek, with his whole band stepping up at various point. Guitarist DJ Williams was on fire, even contributing a song from his upcoming record to the show. Denson switched freely between flute, percussion and his trademark sax, all in an effort to serve the song. Fellow sax man Skerik came out to have a spirited guest stretch that morphed into a fierce back and forth between him and his host. Check out the fireworks below: 9. Nigel Hall BandSoul singer, ivory tickler and frequent Lettuce collaborator Nigel Hall provided a fun set of his own tunes and some choice covers to get the ball rolling on Saturday with a well received set. With a couple of last minute subs, guitarist Adam Smirnoff and saxophonist Khris Royal stepped up admirably and elevated the party to even higher heights. Give a listen to his set closing soul surprise:10. The PeopleWhile surely the music is the most important thing to most, attendees of a music festival Bear Creek has become a family affair over the years. After their first visit, most fans fall in love with the festival and count the days between, preparing for the next chance to gather with the families they have built by sharing their mutual loves and, of course, the dance floor. All around the grounds of Mardi Gras World there were people embracing much missed friends, sporting shirts from previous iterations of the fest and making new friends along the way to the next stage.Speaking of the next stage, a pleasant surprise before the Saturday night headliner The Flaming Lips was the staccato sound of one of New Orleans’ finest traditions, a drum line marching through the grounds. Music fans eager to enjoy the very visceral experience of seeing music made inches away were delighted to find that the source of the sweet sounds was The Roots Of Music, a band that exists as the public face for a local non-profit that uses music and musicians to help steer at risk youth away from the pitfalls of life in an admittedly tough town like New Orleans.While a portion of VIP ticket sales were allocated to this fine cause, their hat was filled by appreciative on lookers as the band showed chops far exceeding what one would expect given their ages. Check out what is surely the first steps of the next generation of funkateers below:This is just a small sampling of the highlights that popped off all over the grounds over the course of the two days of the funktackular return of the Bear Creek Music Festival on the bayous of New Orleans. The spirit of the festival was as strong and as true as ever with familiar faces greeting first timers in the crowds and on the stages with love and fellowship. Seeing the embers of the festival reignited into a raging blaze of musical fury was a truly welcome sight, and the future looks funky indeed.
Keri O’Mara | The Observer Since 2013, a committee of students, faculty and staff has been compiling data and researching the impact of the freedom of association policy in Notre Dame’s Licensing Codes of Conduct, more commonly called “the China Policy.”“This began in the late 90s when there was a lot of activity around sweatshops, and the previous president, Fr. [Edward] “Monk” Malloy instituted a campus-wide committee to look into what Notre Dame’s response would be,” University Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves said. “That committee met and wrote a report with a series of recommendations.“The major recommendation in it was Notre Dame should not allow products produced with Notre Dame’s logo on it to be manufactured in countries which didn’t have complete freedom of association.”This week, the Worker Participation Committee will put forth its findings to the Notre Dame community through a series of events focused on explaining the current policies and proposed alternatives. The following week, students and faculty will have an opportunity to respond in an open forum with committee members.“The question on the table is to engage or not to engage, and I think the question we’re going to explore [this] week is: does engagement make sense as a way to improve the experience of workers in these factories?” Christine Cervenak, associate director of Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights, said. “Or, I think it’s very possible that a lot of the conversation will be around why not to engage and to allow the existing policy to continue.”Worker participation refers to factory workers’ right to freely associate, including their ability to form unions, Cervenak said. Under current rules, apparel companies like Under Armour, which the University currently licenses to create apparel, cannot produce Notre Dame products in factories where workers cannot freely associate.“The right of association is the right that the initial policy focuses on, and this committee is really focusing on what we’re now calling workers’ participation,” she said. “If you’re unhappy with your wage or your safety or environmental issues, you should be able to complain to your employer.”According to the Worker Participation Committee’s website, the current Freedom of Association policy, enacted in 2001 after Malloy’s committee released its recommendations, stipulates, “University licensed products cannot be manufactured in countries lacking a legal right for workers to organize and form independent labor unions of their own choosing.“Since then, China and 10 other countries (Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Laos, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Turkmenistan and United Arab Emirates) have been on a list of countries where licensees were prohibited from producing Notre Dame-licensed products.“Notre Dame is the only university with such a policy.”Affleck-Graves said the policy was born out of the University’s desire to lead peer institutions like Duke and Stanford in demonstrating the possibility of doing ethical business abroad in countries where working regulations and human-rights laws differ.“It’s very important that Notre Dame always does things that it feels comfortable with and that it meets the values and morals and ethical standards that we would be proud of,” he said. “And at the same time, our mission is to be a source for good in the world and to encourage and foster change for the better wherever we can.“That’s what’s driving this project. Is there a way where we can be an example to others of how to do ethical business in a country like China? It’s one thing to talk about it, but it’s another thing to actually do it and provide a proven and tested model that then other people can implement.“… If we can’t, then we won’t do it. But if we can, I think it would be an exciting opportunity for Notre Dame to take the lead in this area.”Affleck-Graves said the office of the executive vice president typically reviews each of Notre Dame’s policies about every 10 years to ensure their continued relevance. Cervenak said Affleck-Graves and Notre Dame administrators realized in their review of the licensing codes of conduct that, though well intentioned, the sanctions against China and nine other countries had not yielded a substantive positive impact.“As I understand it, there was a hope that Notre Dame would be at the forefront of getting other universities to get behind a movement that would put pressure on China to change its labor policies,” Cervenak said. “I think there was some hope, real hope, tangible hope that that would happen, and in the end, the universities that might have joined with us did not do so.”Student body president Lauren Vidal, who served on the panel with student body president emeritus Alex Coccia, said the fact that many Notre Dame students come from China and that the University itself has fostered a strong presence in China encouraged Affleck-Graves to review the licensing policy.“It’s a unique opportunity because when the committee met to discuss this initially, we realized that although we banned production in China, we’ve seen no change due to the ban,” Vidal said. “… We think that this may be a unique and very constructive way to approach improving the lives of workers in a deliberate way.”Besides compiling research, the Worker Participation Committee’s responsibilities have included considering alternatives to the China Policy. A proposed pilot program would allow “three or four” audited Chinese factories that meet certain standards of working conditions and agree to a “rigorous analysis” to begin producing Notre Dame apparel, Affleck-Graves said.“We’ve done an audit of six factories,” he said. “To get a sense of what we could do in an audit, we took a team over to China including Lauren and Alex to visit four of the factories. We were trying to verify that the company that was doing the audits for us had actually got the message on what we thought was important.”“So now the question is, would we actually be comfortable applying that program, and how would the companies operate under that system?” Affleck-Graves said.Notre Dame enlisted the help of Verité, a non-profit consulting firm, to identify and assess factories in China that might participate in such a program if the current policy were to change, Cervenak said.Last September, Vidal toured four potential factories in China with seven other individuals, including Coccia and assistant provost for internationalization Jonathan Noble, who also directs Notre Dame’s Beijing Global Gateway.“We visited four factories, two of which were pretty phenomenal in terms of worker representation,” Vidal said. “We also visited two other factories which we decided we wouldn’t be comfortable manufacturing in. I was very happy to see that the delegation all agreed on that.”Affleck-Graves said the Worker Participation Committee’s work and recommendations offer the campus community a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue about an issue that matters not just to the University’s mission and operations but also to concerns of the global economy.“China is the focus of the committee because it’s the second-largest economy in the world,” Affleck-Graves said. “Within the next few years, it will probably be the largest economy of the world.”“China is a very, very important country and so the ability to go into a country like that and influence behavior is something I personally think Notre Dame should be trying to do,” he said. “This can become a model not just for China. … By tackling one of the biggest countries, I think you have the biggest opportunity to create a role model for others.”Tags: China, China policy, Christine Cervenak, John Affleck-Graves, labor, Lauren Vidal, Notre Dame, Worker Participation