Pink Moon Festival 8
Sept 15-19, 2016, Rock Camp, WV
Review & Photos by B. A. Jones
Pink Moon Festival 8 was held in Rock Camp, WV. September 15 – 19 2016 at Flint Rock Hollow Farm. This was the 8th annual Pink Moon. Boasting 24 hour a day music for 4 days and 4 nights from over 100 acts on 4 stages, with no overlapping sets. If this seems impossible- it was. Starting sometime early Friday, they got behind schedule. So, of course once you get behind schedule, it all falls behind and effects every band behind them.
There was quite a few bands I wanted to see, like Galaxy Dynamite (they were supposed to play 2 sets) who didn’t get to play. When I asked them why they didn’t play, I got the vague answer of “same reason a lot of bands didn’t get to play.” According to the promoter, there were many factors that played into this, “including, but not limited to, a funeral on an adjacent property, some new members of our production team, and band delays/cancellations.” Evidently a stage manager was trying to repair the situation by attempting to reschedule bands at new times. Unfortunately, there was a lack of communication between the promoter, staff, and the stage manager, which caused even more conflict. Some of the bands had sets that had been rescheduled so far behind, they had to leave to go play gigs elsewhere to keep up their contracts. I certainly did notice several hours of silence during the late night and morning hours. This was frustrating for the musicians to be sure, but not as noticeable for the attendees.
All the lost sets aside, we had a fantastic time! The venue is incredibly gorgeous with rolling hills nestled in picturesque mountains. Three of the stages were situated where I could hear every stage from my campsite, so I didn’t have to walk anywhere if I didn’t feel like it. The acoustics were great, and the weather was splendid. We met so many new and terrific people, whom I hope to keep in touch with, and consider lifelong friends.
We set up camp, then walked over to the stage The Mantras would be playing on. There were two chairs and a recliner set up halfway between the stage and the sound board easy-up. I noticed a guy passed out in the recliner. Dang, I thought, it’s only Thursday night, and this guy is already passed out? So I took his picture. The Mantras started their set at 1am, and the crowd pulled in nice and tight, awaiting the magic. Thursday was Topless Thursday, and I’m sure there were titties everywhere, but I was focused on The Mantras.
The Mantras started their set off with “Dirt Nap,” an ecclesiastic newer song off their brand new album, Knot Suite. It was superb, and made me deliriously happy, it was delicious! It set the tone for their euphoric set, and had our spirits soaring high. They then played another new song I had never heard them play before (Pink Moon was only the second time I got to see The Mantras this year) “Nightlife,” which was incredible. Followed by another new to me Mantras song, “Strongbox,” with keyboard extraordinaire Julian Sizemore on vocals. I really love his vocals, they are smooth and soothing, and I loved all the new songs they played during this set. They played an old favorite “Miguel’s Travels,” into “Before My Time,” which brought joyful tears to my eyes. The Mantras music has always affected me deeply, and they speak to my very soul with every note, and magical lyric
The audience was rowdy, and we were really getting into their set. As loud as they play, and as raucous as the crowd was cheering, the guy passed out in the recliner never budged or woke up. It was almost a game to see how loud we could get, and what would wake him up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone sleep through a Mantras set in all of my 11 years of attending their shows. I made sure to have extra fun for the guy that was missing their set- right at the stage. The Mantras went into “Slow Down,” which was perfect as Keith Allen spoke quietly into the mic, “Sssssshhhh, someone’s trying to sleep here!” Then they graced us with their Topless Thursday tribute- “Titties & Beer,” by Frank Zappa! It was tremendous fun, and extra entertaining. They then went back into “Slow Down” to end their set. Their set was flawless, and my favorite set of the festival. The sleeping man never did wake up, it was crazy. I made my way back to camp to hang out with friends and eat some homemade chili, before going to sleep. Thursday night at Pink Moon had my aura glowing with delight, I fell in love with the festival, and the location.
All of the music I did get to hear was phenomenal! The sound production and lighting were good, and attendees were all in a jovial mood. I genuinely had an amazing time, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I loved that we got to park our RV centrally in a meadow. The venue is very large, so the only drawback for us was that if you went to each stage for every set, there was always an uphill hike to get there, or get back. So camping in the middle of everything was convenient, and we could chill at camp and hear every band brilliantly. Everyone had plenty of space to camp, and no one was on top of each other’s spot. Dogs were also welcome for an extra $25 fee. The dogs were all leashed, and all the owner’s were very responsible; cleaning up after their pets.
The visual artists there were excellent, and I got to see lots of new artists. From live painting, to their mini galleries, all of their work was stunning, and awe inspiring. I ended up taking home four prints by two exceptional artists. There were also fire dancers each night, to entertain the masses. They were all gifted at their craft, and who doesn’t enjoy a visual show to outstanding music? So many proficient souls came together to entertain us, I appreciated each and every one of them. They all accentuated our Pink Moon experience greatly.
Saturday morning of Pink Moon, I got to finally take my neck brace off- after 6 weeks – & a double discectomy! I was ecstatic, but I also knew I had to take it easy. I got turned on to so many bands I had never heard, that were simply astounding. I really enjoy hearing new to me music, it is one thing about music festivals that I love. We ended up camping next to two people I had met before, and I figured out I knew them from a local music venue in VA. where we live. We had a good time all weekend with Chris and Stacey, and they’re friends with Threesound, a local band in our area. We went from thinking we wouldn’t know anyone there, to reveling with at least 6 friends all weekend.
Glostik Willy, a “Hippy Metal” band from Muncie, Indiana was one of those “new to me” bands that blew my socks off! To describe them as a three piece powerhouse is understating their talent. Their drummer Ralph is impeccable, and was lightening fast, and proficient. Jameson Bradford on guitar was superb and infallible, a true heavy metal guitarist. Their bass player Zach “Buddha” Aguilar was my favorite. He plays an LED light up bass, and is astounding! I couldn’t head bang, but it was so hard not to! I thought they must be from WV since they had such a large following, but found out later, no, they’re from Indiana. My friend Kyle arrived, and we enjoyed their set together. I was right up front, and was just astonished by their expertise. My friend Kyle grabbed me by the back of my arms, and gently led me backwards. Just then, a 250 lb. woman went zipping by in front of me – full force. He saved my neck! I kid you not, a mosh pit formed, it was awesome. We got out of the way and left them to it. Glostik Willy crushed their set!
The Southern Belles, Threesound, and Glostik Willy all had musical guest Mike Candela join them on guitar. He embellished each band like golden jewelry adorning a King. Accomplished and fastidious, he is a remarkable guitarist and profound man. Each time he plays is a celebration of music, and an invocative journey into improvisational jamming. Besides his on stage musical banter, he is fun off stage, and is all smiles. Passionate and genuine, he is an extraordinary human being. I’m so glad we got to hang out with Mike all weekend, and hear him play.
McLovins and Deaf Scene were both “eargasmic,” and made an indelible impression on me. The Brokedown Hustlers did a legendary set, as usual! I awoke to hearing them play “Wake Up & Rage,” so I did! I got up smiling, grabbed a jar, and made my way to the stage they were playing on. They started my day off great, and I adore their original rap – grass sound. Pink Moon satisfied my love of greatly differing genres, and satiated my soul.
Urban Soil from Raleigh, NC was another band that amazed everybody. Not too many folks there had ever heard them, and they seemed to gain many more adoring fans. Sarah Reinke’s voice drew them in, and impassioned the mood. Greg Meckley on violin and percussions was fiercely spectacular, and made a profound effect on us all. Eric Chesson on guitar is sensational, and all his band – mates seem to be equally talented studio level musicians. Their folk/ soul/ rock sound is legendary.
The Kind were funky and outrageously appealing. The Manor And Friends were delightful and fun, and did a tremendously beloved set. Dale & The Z Dubs also threw down hard and harmonious. Their great beats made you move your feet! The Fat Catz were supremely “earganic,” and I loved their sunrise set Sunday morning. I loved almost every band I heard, and it was even enjoyable to go outside of my comfort zone.
Everything I’ve ever heard about Pink Moon was true. Even with the missing bands, we had a miraculous time, and adored the music. The musicians, artists, and festival goers were all friendly, kind, marvelous people. The setting was magnificent, and I even got to see a glorious sunrise Sunday morning. We truly had a remarkable time, and will happily go back again. It was beyond fun. I am thankful for everyone who worked so hard to make this event happen, Pink Moon 8 was earnestly enjoyable. Rabbit’s Choice *** 3 stars.