Written by Michael Tucker
I love small festivals! I say these words every opportunity I get. I’d shout them from the rooftops if people would listen. Some of my happiest memories of connection with family and friends have taken place at small festivals, and I believe that small festivals offer a sort of nourishing tonic for the divisive, anxiety-ridden, profit over people behemoth that is the current state of our society. Although it POURED rain for just about the entirety of Valley Fusion’s last edition, it was one of my favorite small festivals I attended last year. Anyone who knows me knows that I utterly despise camping in the rain, but the good vibes and stellar art and music along with a perfect venue that allowed me to stay completely DRY while not missing a single set made the entire weekend one of my warmest and fuzziest memories of last year’s festival adventures. The good news is that Valley Fusion is happening again at the same perfect venue on September 5-8, 2019, for whatever weather Mother Nature throws our way—the cozy and beautiful Buffalo Gap Retreat in Capon Bridge, WV. The better news is that the lineup is looking just as mind-blowingly spectacular as last year’s show. Here’s the lowdown:
The Main Attraction: Music
Valley Fusion 4 presents 3 full nights of spectacular musicians on 2 stages. The top of the bill looks epic again this year with repeat performers LITZ, one of my favorite bands, guaranteed to bring the heat Friday night. Austin, Logan, Nick, and Pat will make sure all the butts are shakin’ and all the faces melting with their signature creative fusion of funk, rock and all the cool things in between. I couldn’t be more excited that the LITZ boys are back, and I’m just as excited that the Connecticut-based, indie four-piece Goose are bringing their fresh organic grooves Saturday night. I saw them for the first time at last year’s Resonance, and let’s just say I danced around my living room like a madman when they showed up on this lineup. Don’t miss out seeing these guys at a small festival! They rip.
In true Valley Fusion style, Zack Thayer has put together an eclectic array of musical brilliance chock full of surprises and with something to please even the most discriminating music fan. There are even a couple of members of big name bands showing up to play in their side projects in this intimate setting: Casey and the Comrades, featuring members of Big Something and The Mantras will delight you with their spacey, danceable jazz sounds and Schwa, featuring Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s bassist Ben Carrey, will blow your mind with their looping, livetronica. Valley Fusion is a fantastic opportunity to see (and hear) another side of top-notch, big name musicians in an intimate setting. I’m thrilled that several of the acts who made last year’s event so special are returning this year: Winchester’s own Zach and Cody of The Sweet Life (formerly known as We the People) will prove that “There ain’t no party like a Sweet Life party!” with their non-stop funky/psychedelic dance party; Deaf Scene will destroy your mind in the most beautiful way with their blistering yet dreamy rock, and you’ll thank them afterwards
Trailheads will bring the smiles with their fun, progressive, super- saxed up, danceable jams—and last, but not least, Voodoo Circuit, who played one of my favorite sets last year, will keep it weird for those of us who love that freaky layered space between rock and electronica. Awesome Sleepy Creek alumni and Baltimoreans The Dirty Grass Players will bless Valley Fusion attendees with no less than 2 sets of their good pickins: hot and heavy traditional bluegrass and cutting-edge new grass. The rest of Valley Fusion’s musical roster looks just as incredible with Higher Learning’s special late night acoustic set Thursday, Cousin Earth’s unique and magical eclectic patchwork of musical brilliance, Brooklyn- flavored funkiness from The Phryg, jazz-rock fusion from The Clock Reads and artists at large Natalie Brooke from Of Tomorrow and Evan Lintz of ELM—and, believe it or not, there are even more awesome bands on the bill.
Check out this awesome Spotifty playlist that highlights the remarkable musicians of Valley Fusion 4: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2gHDjEJ8oeavpQhYxKMH64?fbclid=IwAR1PmeFay_qiaDssHRfhc3JY3UTKU0PVT-E1z_7vcWbAmryEx9_WV50DbCU
The Perfect Venue: Rain or Shine
The exquisitely scenic Buffalo Gap Retreat offers a lake for swimming, beach volleyball, and no less than 2 fully covered stages, permitting musicians and attendees to stay dry in any kind of weather. The venue is located within a 2 hour drive from Shepherdstown, Frederick, Baltimore, and D.C. and within 3 hours from Morgantown, Harrisburg, Charlottesville, Richmond, and Pittsburgh. Buffalo Gap offers shaded camping and cabin rentals.
Follow this link for information on cabin rentals:
Even More Good Stuff
I couldn’t be more excited that Valley Fusion 4 is featuring a brand spanking new, fully upgraded lighting display by none other than Jim Dewey of The Werk Out and Mad Tea Party Jam. Valley Fusion 4 will also include 3 yoga workshops presented by Christa Mastrangelo Joyce of Jala Yoga over the course of the weekend. Also, there will be an art gallery featuring live painters, food trucks and artisan vendors. Last but definitely not least, I have to mention that I met some of the coolest, kindest humans at the prior Valley Fusion, and I look forward to strengthening old bonds and making some new ones. So, take a chance on a small festival with a gigantic heart. You’ll be happy you did!
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See ya there!