When you first arrive at Hunter Mountain, the view automatically grabs you. During the winter it is home to snowboarders and skiers but during the summer it hosts one of the most exciting outdoor festivals in America: The Mountain Jam Festival. If you haven’t heard of it, well….then you literally must live under a rock! Most people think that Mountain Jam is all about hippies and jam bands but that is a general misconception. With headlining acts such as Ben Folds Five and The Roots, the jam proves to be a well-diversified musical gathering.
We arrived at Hunter Mountain on Thursday morning with high spirits. There was some confusion as to where we were to get our vendor passes but after a short while we had that sorted out and loaded in. Luckily for us, we had a short walk to our booth. After we got everything set up we decided it was time to go pitch our tent. Again, we lucked out and got to pitch our tent in a nice location. There were a handful of tents set up at that time. A few hours later, full blown tent cities had sprouted. Walking around these tent cities, you get to see how dedicated Mountain Jammers are to their tent domiciles. Patio areas emerge; the smell of grilling lingers in, drum circles form and friendships are made. We found it humorous that our tent dwarfed in comparison to some of these tents I can only describe as “mansions”.
Thursday was a relaxing day. We took the time to explore the festival area and talk to our Awareness Village neighbors. The festival staff were racing around, making last minute preparations and transporting people with golf carts.
There was a high energy in the air and everyone was feeling it. We had managed to learn the lay of the land and decided it was time to take in some music. The one act we got to see inside the Healey Brothers Hall was called Turkuaz. Let me tell you, these guys were fantastic! If you like bands like George Clinton and the Parliament Funk, you will dig these guys. I thought it was an amazing way to kick things off.
Friday was our first day of “work”. When you’re at Mountain Jam, work doesn’t really feel like work. Adam did a lot of readings and many people walked away very impressed by his accuracy. Heather did Faerie tarot readings and I, of course, was technical support. For me, in most cases, technical support equals technical difficulty.
I had to get our internet set up and that turned into a minor debacle. After about an hour of stressing, I finally got our broadband USB device to work. When our work day was done, we made sure to go see The Roots perform on the East stage. They totally blew me away! They had a tuba player that accompanied a lot of the bass lines and that was a site to see for sure. They broke down into a good amount of jams including a cover of the Guns n’ Roses song “Sweet Child of Mine”. During Government Mule’s set we walked up the hill further and watched the fire dancers which was a real treat!
As night time closed in, so did the rain. If you’re going to go to any festival, you have to come prepared and boy was I happy we packed our ponchos! The rain began to come down mercilessly. Because we’re on the mountain, tiny rivers began to form and flowed through the tent cities. Despite the downpour, people stayed positive and kept the vibes going. On Saturday morning I took a walk around and saw a couple tents that washed away at the bottom of one hill, but otherwise people didn’t seem to be phased.
Now it is Saturday afternoon and so far it has remained relatively dry. A lot of new Mountain Jammers showed up today and rumor has it that Saturday night is when the real party happens! Personally, I’m excited to see Ben Folds Five later. I’m excited to see as much music as I can, to be honest. There’s too many spectacular acts to list right now but I’ll try to cover as many as I can in my next blog post! Stay tuned folks!