STOCKBRIDGE-Fans say the epitome of grass roots music in Vermont
can be found at Tweed River August 3-5. It's hard to disagree.
Hosted by Vermont's own Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck, the
festival takes pride in presenting "original music, good vibes, and
one heck of a party!"
This year marks the fourth annual Tweed River Music Festival at
the junction of routes 100 and 107 in Stockbridge, Vt. What started
out as a gathering of friends to celebrate the Fourth of July, has
turned into a pilgrimage for grass roots music. About 1,500 people
descended on the field last year, which is about the festival's
Rob McFadden, one of the founders, expects to sell out again
this year. "Pre-sales of tickets has been very good," he says,
adding "but it's as much for the musicians as it is anyone else. It
always has been that way... This is truly a homegrown festival;
it's like a vacation for them."
The best festivals are the ones that are not over-hyped or
overcrowded, the organizers feel, which is another reason they cap
the ticket sales. "The biggest, most popular festivals were at
their best in infancy," the founders continue. "This is exactly
where we are at with the Tweed: how many places can you show up,
pick a camp spot, bring you own cooler, listen to great music, and
have access to one of the sweetest swimming holes in the area?"
Swimming holes are fun for all ages, and all ages will be
represented at Tweed. "This is a family thing," says McFadden. "You
never have to worry about your kids here. We're a bunch of aging
hipsters and most of us are parents now, which means we're also
Greg LaBella, has taken charge of the kids activities at Tweed
in recent years. A physical education teacher at Killington
Elementary School during the school year, LaBella thrives in this
role. There are hula-hoop and parachutes, dancing and stories and
lots of creative activities to join all day.
With all the excitement about the festivities, it may be easy for
attendees not to realize the extent of the damages caused by
Tropical Storm Irene last August.
They were crippling.
The Tweed Bus became stuck in the mud and was rendered
stationary, but that was only the beginning. The work to restore
the grounds took months, and got started well before the ground
thawed this spring.
One of the most successful fundraising events was the Winter
Tweed Festival at Pico, says Rob McFadden. The silent auction and
raffle tickets, brought in "a couple thousand dollars despite the
fact Pico had closed just before the event," he said, remembering
how supportive and generous people had been with their
contributions. "We were overwhelmed by an outpouring of support,"
When times got especially tough, it was "Bow Thayer that kept us
going," said McFadden. Adding that they could not have done it
without Gordon Merrill from Complete Forest Management &
Excavating in Rochester. "When I thought there was no way we could
get this done, I'd call Gordon and he'd say 'it's gonna happen.'"
Merrill donated his time and never gave up on the plan to rebuild
A Tweed River Music Festival documentary was shot last year and
will be screening, for the very first time, at this year's Tweed.
Produced by Grey Sky Films, it is said to be a "snapshot of the
greatest weekend you will ever have."
Performers from previous Tweeds include: Tim Gearan, Mellow Bravo,
Waylon Speed and Andrea Gillis, joined by Garvy J, Boris McCutcheon
and The Salt Licks, Twinemen, a reunion of the legendary 7 League
Boots and special guests Caravan Of Thieves along with many others.
The festival is proud to welcome all performers new and old. The
full lineup follows:
Friday, August 3-Tim Gearan, Andrea Gillis, Mellow Bravo, Waylon
Speed, Sticky, No Small Children, Pariah Beat.
Saturday, August 4-Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck, Garvy J,
Roadsaw, 7 League Boots, Jabe Beyer, Boris and The Salt Licks, Jeh
Kulu (In front of stage),
Township, Jenny Dee and The Delinquents,
Myra Flynn, Big Eyed Rabbit, Suitcase Junket, The PuppeTree
Sunday, August 5-Caravan Of Thieves, Twinemen, Joe Fletcher and The
Wrong Reasons, Ghosts Of Jupiter, Holy Plow, Rusty Belle, Crunchy
Western Boys, Jeremy Lyons.
Tweed tickets are on sale for $100 but will go to gate price of
$120 starting August 1. Weekend passes include camping. Single day
admission tickets are also available. Kids age six and under are