I just want to sing the praises of the Nelsonville Music Festival for a minute, because not only did they provide me with a pretty killer weekend, I think they deserve some props for putting together one of those things that makes you feel psyched to be in Ohio, and that you’re kinda glad not everyone knows how good we’ve got it. I’ll preface this with a story that describes the tone of this festival and the people who are involved: I called down to Stuart’s Opera House to ask if I could add a camping spot to my ticket purchase (“sure no problem man..oh yeah, Ben, gotcha right here”) and midway through taking my credit card number, the dude on the phone was like ‘hold up a minute, someone just brought a puppy in here to work and all hell is breaking loose.’ So we took a little break from the transaction until the giggling died off. I mean, are these people- these volunteers- who care more about puppies than takin’ your money, the kind of folks that you want to spend a weekend listening to bands with? Yes.
This is the festival’s sixth year, but is arguably the second year after a major growth spurt brought about by the addition of some major national acts. The transition from local town street fair to booking legends like Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn has certainly increased attendance, but has not managed to warp the event into something that feels corporate or contrived. Not once did I see some cargo pants wearin’, flashlight totin’ security guy with “STAFF” on his back shakin’ somebody down; not once did a lycra-clad promotions girl try to give me packets of gum or sign me up for a credit card. What I did see was a really nice mix of familiar local bands and big time performers in a pretty sweet setting. Check out some more chat and photos below.