“There is no I in Frends”: A Preview of The 2013 Frendly Gathering
30 May 2013

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Imagine yourself atop a snow covered peak, looking out into the Green or White Mountains; or as us nor’ eastern folk call her, “Gods Country”. The sun is setting and you and your buds are strapping into your skis and snowboards. As you make your way down the mountain though, the ambiance changes. Like breaking through some kind of membrane, the air is suddenly saturated with nostalgic scents and ceremonious sounds. There’s more to the atmosphere than the scraping swish of edges on ice, or the smell of funky freeze-dried fast food from the nearest lodge. There’s a different kind of funk in the air, and unless your ears mistake you, the unorthodox sound resonating its way up the ski trails is the sound of Brownie dropping bombs. As the base of the mountain comes into view, your suspicion is confirmed.

For ambitious festivalgoer’s in mountainous regions, the combination of live music and ski resorts has been of recent emergence. Many Northeastern Berries were blessed with names like Ghostland Observatory and Conspirator at last years 2012 LiftFest right here in the Granite State. Then, Snowball Music Festival in Winter Park, CO boasted headliners like STS9 and Pretty Lights in only their 3rd year in existence.

frendly2Whether due to a genetic predisposition or astral irony, it is no surprise that skiing/snowboarding and live music go hand in hand. As the spring months approached and I solemnly stuck my snowboard under my bed, I figured the last of the festivals combining snowboarding and live music had entered hibernation until next snowfall. This was until I was recently reminded about The Frendly Gathering Festival on Magic Mountain in Windham, Vermont, June 28- 29th.

While this year only marks the third year for the festival, people have high hopes for the future.  This faith is largely rooted in the fiscal security behind The Frendly Gathering, deriving from none other than Burton Snowboards. But hold on- I know what you might be thinking, and I too am almost always against corporate funding behind small town music festivals.  While many potential attendees may share the same initial reaction, we must not always oppose this type of monetary delineation. More often than not we see vulnerable, small town music festivals succumb to corporations because their owners may have their priorities in the wrong places ($$$). And although this was initially a big turn-off for me, the most productive option is to keep an open mind.  There is no need for me to boycott a festival, and potential great time, due to an inability to swallow my pride and give money to a big business. That’s just a souped up sense-of-self Buck-o, and live music leaves little time for narcissism and even less room for egomaniacs. Time to nut up or shut up because this years Frendly Gathering Music Festival is panning out to be one of the best small town festivals this summer.frendly5

The Frendly Gathering Music Festival was started by a group of professional snowboarders, The Frends Crew, who live by the motto, “there is no I in Frends”.  While the crew has brought in big name sponsors, their underlying goal is “to keep the world informed that life is better with your friends.” The more I discovered about The Frends Crew the stronger my faith became behind the ownership of this festival. These guys have an earnest desire to design a micro-environment created to inspire and enlighten, and most importantly, bring people together under the common theme of friendship.   What once started as an end of the ski-season party, has thus transformed into a three-day grassroots, grass fed music festival throwing out some big names for their third year.

Previous Gathering

Previous Gathering

In authentic Vermont fashion, The Frends Crew is bringing a mixture of folk and bluegrass with some guaranteed drawn-out jams in between. Something that sets The Frendly Gathering apart from other festivals is the fact that there are only 20 or so acts on the lineup this summer. While some festivals live by the motto “bigger is better,” The Frendly Gathering has once again exemplified monetary responsibility in their efforts to build a substantial lineup.

For the large majority of bluegrass-loving festivalgoer’s, the lineup includes some down-home names like Assembly of Dust, TallGrass GetDown and two sets of Twiddle.  Also a Sparkleberry favorite, Keller Williams, is sure to lay down some killer cover tunes and do so in a funky yet harmonious loop-pedal fashion.  To the attendees that get their kicks from the more Folk Fusion side of the scale, there are a number of up-and-comers that should not be overlooked. Newfound band, Jack & The Bear, seems to be gaining popularity in the pop-folk side of things.

The Frendly festival folks who are looking for some unadulterated jam band rock will be happy to see names like Tea Leaf Green, Aqueous, and two sets of the very unique Toubab Krewe on the lineup this year. Just outside the rock spectrum lays the always-fun Indie-rock band Rubblebucket. This band provides their audience with energy-enhanced music, a great live show, and a chance to bust-a-move. Definitely throw these guys on the Do-Not-Miss List for the weekend. For anybody interested in learning more about Rubblebucket and what they have to offer, make sure to check out Jess Dugan’s awesome article on SBL. Some of the bigger names on this years Frendly Gathering lineup include acts like Beats Antique and Conspirator.

543380_357689764298188_1760031963_nFor those of you who may not find KJ Sawka or Chris Michetti bone-rattling enough, acts like Paper Diamond (of Pretty Lights Music), Pierce Fulton, and DJ Equal should provide the electronic-junkies with their late night daily dose. Also, on the electronic side of things, musical acts from Lynx and Lucid really enhance the “sleeper” aspect of the festival. In other words, keep an eye out for these bands increasing appearances on future lineups.

One of the perks about hosting a festival on a ski resort in the summer is the ability to turn dormant ski trails into nicely maintained walking trails for festival goers. In addition to countless sets of live music, The Frendly Gathering offers a number of outdoor endeavors exploring the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont.  What better way to stretch out some stiff dancing legs than a morning yoga session? Every morning at 9:30 a.m. there will be a free yoga session on the main stage.  Also, many of the surrounding walking trails lead to several naturally stream-fed swimming holes to help cool down in the late June heat.   If you find the need to let out the primal and inherent beat residing in all of us, be sure to visit Junktown; a collective, miniature universe of “junk” altered in such a way to create percussion-like instruments.

Skate Ramp at the Fest!

Skate Ramp at the Fest!

While Timber Ridge Vermont may sound like another country to some, The Frends Crew is offering weekend music and camping passes for only $75.00; hopefully leaving a little room in your budget for travel expenses.  If camping in a tent may be out of your comfort zone, RV and car passes are only $150; also, The Frendly Gathering Website offers a link for nearby hotels. For all the moms and dads out there who still know how get down, kids under 12 are granted free admission at The Frendly Gathering as long as they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

To any Sparkleberries in the Northeast, be grateful that you live in New England where everybody lives close together. The low price ticket, stellar lineup, and scenic travel route make this a very worthwhile festival for the early summer. Keep an eye out for your fellow Sparkleberries holding it down at The Frendly Gathering this summer; we’re beyond excited to keep spreading the sparkle alongside you!


This article was produced by Britton Beal! Please contact us at Sparkleberrylane@gmail.com if you’d like to contribute to Sparkleberry Lane!

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