Every music festival has an identity of its own. Names like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot, and Coachella may have been head scratchers at first, but now they’re branded destination festivals where dozens of acts spread out across multiple stages and throngs flock to make the scene and play their part against a backdrop of music, celebrity heavyweights, light shows, public art, carnival rides, holograms, overindulgence, and ’round-the-clock parties.
The Festy Experience in Nelson County has built its brand with a different approach. Home grown as an intimate artist-curated gathering, the Festy taps into a broader community of music, food, earth-conscious and wellness-minded pursuits. The festival—as its name suggests—plays it straight and simple, offering an accessible, “everyone friendly” event where families are accommodated, outdoor enthusiasts get their thrill, and people of all makes and models can cut loose.
The food options are locally sourced—curated by The Rock Barn’s chef (and French Laundry alum) Benjamin Thompson, and the beer is almost as revered as the live music. There are wellness offerings too, like morning yoga and late night campsite jams with occasional sit-ins from performing artists. The range of accommodations include reserved car camping, family camping, and quiet camping as well as the high-end Show Sherpa camping package option that includes a cell phone charging station and French press coffee makers. Local artisans bring their wares and the pastoral landscape sets the tone for a high quality good time.
“The best thing about this year’s Festy is that we finally know exactly what it is that we are doing,” said co-founder Michael Allenby. “From the conception of the idea three years ago, we have been sculpting the vision from each of the partners’ inspirations. It’s great to have the three-headed-focus of amazing music, local sustenance, and an authentic outdoor experience. Can’t wait for the fans to arrive that weekend and let the participation begin.”
Festival hosts The Infamous Stringdusters depart from conventional booking techniques to invite friends, influences, and colleagues to fill the bill on three stages. This year will see more than 25 musical acts take the stage, from industry vets like Leftover Salmon to mainstays Trampled by Turtles, Keller Williams and the locally based Sons of Bill and Carl Anderson. The Festy website, in its folksy way, notes the addition of Margaret Glaspy: “We heard Margaret at a party after a gig in Boston. She was playing solo, just her with a guitar. Everyone was mesmerized. “ Without the usual barriers between audience, promoter, and performer, the playing field gets leveled, and The Festy Experience literally becomes about playing in the field.
Check out the full music lineup here.
The Festy Experience
Friday, October 5 to Sunday, October 7
Devils Backbone Brewery (200 Mosby’s Run, Roseland)