I’m finally pulling out of my post-Festy fog, just days removed from the biggest weekend of the Stringduster year. It was everything we hoped it would be and more, thanks to the hard work of many wonderful people, and the participation of our amazing family of fans who travel from far and wide to be a part of this event. It’s true that a big part of the Festy Experience is the awe-inspiring setting, but it’s the people who make it what it has become. It’s the vibe, the feeling you get when you stroll the grounds, the community experience that involves both new and familiar faces, young and old, from all over the country. People are happy to be there–it’s a microcosm of coexistence that’s inspiring and beautiful to be a part of. It’s what the Stringdusters are all about, but it doesn’t happen without a lot of participation. So thank you for coming out to help us make this happen. Thank you all so much. We have some of the greatest fans in the world.
In addition to this great community of fans, the Stringdusters are also lucky to be part of an amazing community of musicians. The Festy is our chance to bring all these musical worlds together and put it on display for all to see, right here in our backyard. It’s about crafting our own utopian event, taking the best of everything we see on the festival circuit and throwing a party to celebrate music and life. There’s no real aesthetic criteria for the lineup, it’s just our friends and allies, the people who’s music inspires us and who we are lucky to cross paths with all year long on the festival/touring circuit. Rubblebucket, Trampled, Lake St Dive, Nicki Bluhm, Jesse Harper, Della Mae, Carl Anderson, Nathan Moore, Margaret Glaspy, Tony Trischka, the Keels, Whitehorse, Leftover Salmon, Jon Stickley, Elephant Revival, etc–all such incredible musicians and bands! But most importantly they are all great people. The community behind the stage is not unlike the community out in front of the stage. And this is what it’s all about. The energy is contagious, uplifting, and the Festy is our chance to share it with the world. For us, this is what being in a band is all about. Thank you to each and every artist who made the trip. Music is the heart and soul of the Festy and we’re lucky to know the best.
Behind the scenes there are a few really important people who make the event happen. Justin Billcheck is a genius and a dear friend, not to mention the hardest worker you will ever meet. He is the man on the ground who makes it all fit together, the brain of the event. Christine and Caroline work with Justin to make sure the look and feel is right and always do an incredible job. Michael Allenby and Katrina Hennigar are invloved in most everything Stringduster, and that includes the Festy. They give insane amounts of time and energy to make sure this event is what it is and we love them for it. John Spagnolo is also a key player behind the scenes, working with Justin, hammering out details with utmost efficiency and care. Melissa Ketola is our staffing expert, another major contributor to the inner workings of the event who is there long after the party ends. Ben Thompson is our food czar–he’s helped craft the vision of this event and the execution of all things culinary, another invaluable asset. Thanks also to Steve Crandall, owner of the Devils Backbone Brewery, our host, ally and supporter at the Festy. I want to say a huge thank you from the Dusters to all of these amazing people. In fact there are way too many to mention, but these are some of the most important players at this event, and they don’t get enough recognition. Thank you all. Your work more than paid off.
At some point during the weekend, someone asked me how it felt to be ‘living the dream.’ I thought about it. Something about this event brings us closer to the people, which is why we love it so much. We’re so so lucky to be living the dream, but we’re also just living, like everyone else. These communal experiences are profoundly rewarding, and they don’t happen without you. Hopefully, the Festy brings us all closer to share in the joyous side of life. You can never have too much.
Here’s a cool look at the weekend, courtesy of our new friend Nathan Moore. He wrote, recorded and made a video for this song at the Festy. That’s inspiration!