Nelsonville Music Festival, May 18-20, 2012, Nelsonville, Ohio
With the music festival season just under way, here’s one that has been a little too long under the Americana and roots radar, The Nelsonville Music Festival.
Set in the beautiful rolling hills of Southeastern Ohio, and just a few miles up the road from Ohio University in Athens, the Nelsonville Music Festival holds its 8th anniversary May 18-20, 2012 celebrating music and local artistry of the region.
In 2005, the festival began and took place in the downtown Nelsonville Historic Arts District. The festival served to bring the community together to celebrate the revitalization of the Arts District with music and artisans. Year two and three were held in the field behind a local shoe outlet, Rocky Boots. The one day event evolved to encompass three days at a new location, the Historic Village of Robbins Crossing at Hocking College.
The Festival has showcased eclectic, better known national performers, e.g., Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, The Flaming Lips, Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, The Avett Brothers, Bettye LaVette and The Swell Season, with rising regional talent deserving a wider audience, such as Over The Rhine, Jess Kauffman, Lydia Loveless and Duke Junior & the Smokey Boots. (The Flaming Lips, 2011)
This year is no exception: Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, M.Ward, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Roky Erickson, Guided By Voices, Todd Snider, Dawes, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires and Hayes Carl. Along with Jorma Kaukonen (long an area resident), Jessica Lea Mayfield, Those Darlins, and Dark, Dark, Dark. (Here’s a link to the full line-up).
The festival is produced by Stuart’s Opera House which is the cornerstone of the historic Public Square in Nelsonville. Despite being so close to a hip college town, Stuart’s Opera House is the regional leader in the arts community and a center for public expression. When Stuart’s Tim Peacock and Brian Koscho say that the Nelsonville Music Festival is an extension of their strong belief that by celebrating music and art, they celebrate life it is not a come on or hyperbole. And it is well supported by the local, rural community as well as local businesses. As many readers to No Depression may note, I am well acquainted with the Opera House, the Festival and the region.
The 2012 Nelsonville Music Festival continues to be the most unique festival in the region, offering attendees a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy great live music and much more. In addition to a main stage the Festival has a Porch Stage off the back of one of the historic cabins and a special “No-Fi Cabin” where acoustic/non-electricity performances happen all weekend long in a small, historic, schoolhouse cabin. The No-Fi Cabin is a perfect example of what makes this festival special, even at a festival with almost
(Neko Case, 2011)
6,000 people you can still see an intimate performance with 25 other people in a cabin, no electricity, just natural light and natural sound.
The Nelsonville Music Festival also has way more going on than the invigorating music. Local art vendors and artisans are featured, local organic food eateries featuring locally grown food and a local organic dairy.
And the festival is kid friendly. Besides offering free passes to everyone 12 and under, we have an area for children to listen to and create their own music and art.
(Yo La Tengo, 2011)
The kids stage features performances and workshops all three days, a community mural project (that becomes the backdrop to the back porch stage next year) invites kids of all ages to paint a spot and leave their mark, there’s instrument making workshops and much more.
Like most other music fests, the Nelsonville Music Festival is working hard to be green and lower its waste and carbon footprint. Extensive recycling system, re-usable cups, free water, just bring a water bottle.
For more pictures from previous Nelsonville fests: http://nelsonvillefest.org/photos.html
(Justin Townes Earle, 2011)
More information, including location, where to stay and directions: http://www.nelsonvillefest.org/
(Above photos by Amos Perrine)
(The No-Fi Cabin)