Talking Music and Yoga with Turkuaz and The Primate Fiasco Ahead of NY’s MAYfest (5/27- 5/29)


Music Art Yoga Festival (MAYfest) is a unique festival happening for only the second time from May 27th to 29th at Surprise Lake Camp, Cold Spring, NY. This festival has a prominent focus on yoga and spirituality as well as over 40 classes ranging from paddle boarding to sound meditation.  MAYfest will have two musical stages featuring funk, jazz, jam bands, reggae, and bluegrass; headlining musical acts feature the likes of Turkuaz, Pink Talking Fish, The Primate Fiasco, Elise Testone, and Trevor Hall, among several other incredible musicians.  Attendees may choose to practice yoga and attend unique classes while they basque in the music of the many talented artists.


MAYfest offers a wide variety of yoga sessions of different difficulties led by instructors the likes of Elena Brower, Sadie Nardini, Raghunath, and Justin Wolfer, just to name a few. Garrison Art Center is sponsoring various art classes such as printmaking, drawing, and painting. Food vendors at MAYfest offer meal options for anyone’s diet including vegetarian, vegan, and meat options. The fest’s sponsors also include Sky Baby Yoga and Pilates Studio and Catskill Chill Music Festival.

I spoke with Dave Brandwein from Turkuaz on his opinions towards the upcoming MAYfest.

Filip: What do you think makes MAYfest special and unique?

We’ve never been there before, but we know the people who put it on are awesome and we look forward to finding out more about it this year.

Filip: How long has Turkuaz been a band?

Its been a few years of real touring now.  But we were always a band.  We just didn’t know it until we met each other.

Filip: In your opinion how does a focus on yoga effect a music festival?

It means there are a lot more good looking people walking around ;-).

Filip: What other musical acts are you excited to see at MAYfest?

We’re not gonna lie, we’re pretty excited to see Dr. Michael Schwepe.

Filip: I got to interview Dave at Catskill Chill 2015 for Teddy TV, a video series I produce with Wiley Griffin.  How has Turkuaz progressed as a band since Catskill Chill?

The release of our Album ‘Digitonium’ in October has made a great impact, and has changed our live show in some fun ways.  We’ve toured the country a whole bunch more and we’re ready for festival season again!

Filip: How would you describe your music in 3 words?


Filip: What was the inspiration behind Digitonium?

DB: Mostly King Arthur.

Filip: Can you tell me about what it was like practicing for the Dopakuaz plays Studio 54 at Catskill Chill?

No, we can’t.  Just kidding! It was a blast.  We Banged it all out in 2 days an most importantly just had fun with it.  We’ve all been friends for a long time so that was easy to do.

Filip: Do any members of Turkuaz practice yoga?

Nope. But maybe that will change at MAYfest?  Probably not.  We’ll probably just drink lots of beer.

Filip: What’s next for Turkuaz? Any new albums in the making? Are you on tour?

We’re always on tour! We are just wrapping up a 7 week national tour and now we launch right into festival season.

Dave Russo from The Primate Fiasco sat down with us to answer a few questions as well.

Filip: What are some shared musical influences of the group?

Cake, Chopin, Beatles, Dylan, Phish, Mingus.

Filip: What is the band’s favorite venue to perform in?

We prefer small to mid size festivals. At large festivals, we enjoy playing in the campground on foot and unplugged. 

Filip: In your opinion how does a focus on yoga effect a music festival?

In changes the flow of the day. They’re early risers and so they’re earlier to bed. They’re also generally healthier people so the partying doesn’t get too out of control. It’s easier to socialize at a yoga festival because people are a lot more present.

Filip: Do you think there is a prominent spiritual aspect to music festival culture?

Absolutely. Although I don’t know if most people would consider it spiritual. For thousands of years, people have found community and celebration in religion and cults. These days, people are learning to find it in music festivals. Different genres of fests, such as EDM vs Jam vs Bluegrass are sort of like different denominations of churches. Both function similarly. They gather, sing and dance, take communion, and recruit their friends. Having grown up with the old way, I like the new way better.

Filip: What do you think makes MAYfest special and unique?

I could write a book about this. In the interest of keeping this answer short, I’ll just say that Primate Fiasco makes a formal request to our agent to leave the weekend free so that we can stay at Mayfest as long as possible.

Filip: What other musical acts are you excited to see at MAYfest?

Ryan Montbleau and Turkuaz, having worked with them a bunch. There’s no one there that we aren’t excited to see.

Filip: What’s next for Primate Fiasco? Any new albums in the making?  Is Primate Fiasco on tour?

We are recording every show we play in hopes of releasing some live recordings. There’s a lot of new material but touring is keeping us too busy to go into the studio. Although, our music is so improvisational and so collaborative with the fans, it’s probably better to release live versions anyway. Unless we find a way to bring an audience into the studio.

Filip: I saw Primate Fiasco two years ago at a music festival in New Jersey and again last year at Catskill Chill.  Can you tell me a bit about the progression as a band in the past two years?

In the past two years, this band has changed everything but it’s name. We exchanged two saxophones for an accordion, new sousaphone player, and new drummer. Banjo remains in place. We engineered all of our own stage gear in order to be functional with these instruments which predate electricity. And everything from song arrangements to tour managing are done with a more collaborative effort than ever before. The one thing that stays sacred is our ability to play unplugged and mobile. Our favorite stage is the one that wasn’t intended to be a stage.

MAYfest will be an unforgettable event filled with incredibly talented music, artists, yoga, and activities to suit anyone’s fancy; we cannot wait to stretch our bodies and broaden our mind’s horizon! Be sure to grab your tickets here.