This past weekend, The Mitch and I trekked down to Waitsfield, Vermont in the Mad River Valley where our destination was the Bundy Center for the Arts for the First Annual Liberate Music and Arts Festival. There's something really cool about going to the first annual anything - especially if it really continues and you go to every one. I sure wish I had gone to the first several moe.downs instead of jumping on the band wagon like a n00b after Phish was done. (All I can think about is moe.down because I leave tomorrow and it's the best weekend of the year for me!)
Liberate was a relaxing pre-game to the craziest festival of the year. It was very, very green, family friendly, and not at all typical of a music festival scene - definitely a zero sketch factor. On the other hand, it wasn't uberliciously annoying Vermont either. This is probably due to the healthy mix of vending artists, holistic activities, and live music. While on the one hand this was pleasant because you weren't over inundated with too much of one thing, the concept of trying to be everything to everyone can also cost you participants. While this certainly doesn't affect the crowd experience, it does affect the financial situation and my guess is it will play a factor in the second annual.
My favorite part of the festival was watching the Dead Sessions. I love seeing this fantastic collaborative project of Vermont musicians. The core members are Ben Yurco and Adam King of Turkey Bouillon Mafia with a rotating cast of players, with this performance including Dave Hyman of Blues for Breakfast, guitar prodigy Seth Yacavone, and Trevor Ainworth of Liquid Dead - to name a few.
I also enjoyed catching up with Vermont friends in the Magic Hat beer tent. I have to admit while Magic Hat is not my favorite tasting beer, I give it up to them for their overgenerous support of Vermont events, musicians, artists, etc. Way to go Magic Hat! I certainly pay to drink it when it's the sponsor.
And kudos to Liberate founders and organizers, Jane Jarecki and Ben Lanza of Eclectic Music Productions. This was a very well run event and I think the Vermont music scene can look forward to many more great musical outcroppings from this partnership.
My good friend Taraleigh of the Healthy Hippie Magazine was not only a vendor and magazine distributor, but also made the festival T-shirts (as seen on Jane and Ben) into tank dresses (as seen on Taraleigh with me).
I look forward to returning next year and for now - time to get .down!!!