Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Great North Music and Arts Festival - A True Festy Kid Experience

A few weeks back mark my personal return to the great north east, Maine. It's been many years since my parents were taking me and my siblings to go into nature a little more, and experience the small towns and different eats. There was a great calling this time, one that blended music, art, and activism almost flawlessly.


The Great North Music and Arts Festival had it's first birthday September 27-29, and popped Maine's cherry for lack of larger festivals. The lineup was ridiculously talented, with both well known and not-so-well-known performers. Thanks to the names and the grinding promotion done, people were coming out from over the surrounding states, many traveling over 6 hours by car, including John and I. The drive from NYC was gorgeous, especially for the time of year. Trees up north are just beginning to turn, and it almost felt like we were cheating the system going to a camping music festival after the main 'season' had already ended. That weather stayed all weekend long with highs nearing 80, no clouds in sight, and chilly but clear nights. It really felt as if Summer was lingering there for us.





As we got to the camp grounds, there were signs everywhere telling us that this was going to be an awesome time. People were smiling left and right, dancing around campsites, groups meditating, the smells of food being cooked, and plenty of color throughout the grounds. It felt like there were people everywhere, camps were popping up in the woods, golf carts with staff were driving around making sure people were having a good time, people walking around with their friends and some working dogs were around as well... it felt like a small village.





After taking a quick walk around, I realized that the ground were not enormous, but felt that way because of all the things to look at and take it. There was an artists' tent by the main stage, but there was art everywhere. It literally felt like this was a home for people that not only love music, but also care about expression and communication. This is so important these days were there are people who don't know how to talk to one another. Even when the music started up, a rapper was on stage freestyling a message to all the festival goers about keeping clean and being safe... it was the first time in about 12 festivals I ever heard anyone give a positive message like that, and it made the days that I longed for something like "PLUR" make sense.

Alex and Allyson Grey
Beats Antique
RJD2

Originally, the lineup had me really excited. From the legendary artists Alex and Alysson Grey to the worldly folk sounds of Beats Antique, there was a pre-existing expectation of talent being brought to the table. In my reality, the names did not blow me away, but the unexpected sets that were the most epic. When Beats Antique took the stage, they started preforming all my favorite tracks, but to me it felt like I was listening to my Pandora channel. Granted their belly dancing member Zoe was not present, there was still a lacking feeling in energy and musical inclination. So I decided to begin walking over to the second stage area where ill.Gates was performing. There were maybe 45 people tops watching and grooving with him, and although I only caught the last 20 minutes of the set, it blew me away. I also need to mention RJD2. His set was also pretty freaking groovy. There was one point where the music cut out, and when he got on the mic, he joked about being a vinyl DJ and how sometimes the records crack, then back to the beats. He was really a stand up performer.

ill.Gates


The point is simple. Any form of art, from dancing to painting to making music, does not need the media hype behind it to be mind blowing. Pretty much every person I met that weekend had talent in some area, for some it wasn't even art but growing produce, or the some of the most top quality buds I've personally seen (it is legal to grow in Maine with a license). All this passion and skill at the festy did wonders for it. It proved, once again, that the EDM community is way more than what the main stream media is making it out to be. There were no major incidents, and everyone had a blast.

I cannot wait until next year.

PHOTOS:

Electric Ghost Punk: Day 1 // Day 2 // Day 3
Nick Soley: Album

VIDEOS:

Electric Ghost Punk: Day 1 // Day 2 // Day 3