Written by: Kathy Moore
I love small festivals! Don’t you? The familiarity of a small venue, the family you see, the friends you make, the sense of community, and the feeling of belonging or being home are what make me love festivals like Sleepy Creek’s SpringDig and Harfest, the Appalachian Mountain FlameOff, and Sunshine Daydream (Trip’s Farm). I have always heard great things about Pasture Palooza and have been wanting to go for the past few years. I especially knew I wanted to write this preview and get the word out when I saw the lineup and realized that the fall weather would make for a beautiful time.
Located in Berryville, Virginia, just outside of Winchester, Pasture Palooza 10 will take place on September 13-15. I love the eclectic blend of music-there is not too much of one genre, and a lot of local Virginia bands are being supported. This will be the 10th Pasture Palooza which is no small feat considering how difficult it is to run a popular festival year after year. What started as a party has grown into a successful grassroots festival thanks to the dedicated fans- and that’s what small festivals are all about- “By the People, For the People.” There will be two days of music with no overlapping sets, a variety of food vendors including vegetarian and vegan options, multiple craft vendors, and an art gallery, led by the awesome Ashton Hill, which includes live and collaborative painting.
This year’s lineup is a blend of soul, funk, psychedelic rock, jam, reggae, and African music. Headlining this year is BIG Something, the six-piece powerhouse out of North Carolina. Their blend of rock, funk, and improv jams never fails to get the crowd moving, in fact, it’s hard not to smile and laugh as you dance to these guys. Another band that lays down the groove is The Nth Power featuring Jennifer Hartswick. With influences such as George Duke, Bootsy Collins, Curtis Mayfield, and Jaco Pastorius, you know this band is going to be soulful and funky. I’m most excited to see Nikki Glaspie on drums and Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band) on trumpet bringing the much-needed female representation to our music scene. Continuing with the funk, soul and danceable grooves is Asheville’s The Fritz. Every set I’ve seen these cats play is funky, soulful, entertaining (have you seen Jamar dance?) and high energy. Whether it be a midday set or a late-night set, they bring the energy to get everyone dancing and smiling.
The two bands that I am most intrigued by and stoked to see are Toubab Krewe and Jouwala Collective. I have always been a fan of international music, especially Afro-Cuban music because of the blend of drums, percussion, and horns. Toubab Krewe have extensively studied in Mali, a west African country, and they incorporate many traditional stringed and percussion instruments into their jams, lending them an international folk, almost progressive sound. Jouwala Collective is led by Ismail Bouzidoune, a Moroccan Gnawa singer. This traditional spiritual music from Northern Africa is a blend of chants and singing that the band mixes with other traditional African music, funk, and jazz.
People’s Blues of Richmond (PBR) is a power trio that brings a loud, heavy, psychedelic blend of music that is unforgettable. Their love of what they do is infectious as can be seen by their fan base. It’s never a boring time when PBR is in the house. Keeping the beats flowing with their original sound are Pasture Palooza favorites Reckless Island. Their pop/surf/reggae style is perfect outdoor music and will make you feel like you are in the sand and sun. Contributing to this island vibe are Native Sons, a reggae band from Berryville. Sono Lumini, another Virginia band, bring the jam, jazz, and funk vibe while the Sid Kingsley Duo switches it up with thundering, bluesy vocals accompanied by piano and drums. Greg Martin and Scantily Clad, an alternative blues and folk-rock band, blend soulful music and beautiful harmonies to bring a pleasurable experience to the crowd.
The wonderfully eclectic lineup of crowd favorites, the small festival vibe, and the beautiful Virginia fall weather are sure to make for an incredible experience. Mark your calendars for September 13-15 and get your tickets now! Tickets are available online and include general admission, camping, and parking. See you in front of the stage!