Nacho Bites: Pasture Palooza 2016

Written by Alex “Nacho” Olmstead

Photo of Alex by Amanda Sandwicch

A person once told me about a saying he had for things that are odd, weird, strange, and we’re basically a range of mixed emotions, the word was “crunchy”. With that being said, Pasture Palooza was extremely “crunchy” not necessarily in a bad or good way, but after the event you find yourself thinking, what just happened? For me it was four days of sweaty fun. Getting there on Wednesday afternoon and setting up the art gallery with art director Leslie Caneda was a truly interesting experience. I’d never had to watch an art gallery of six being set up so I’m very impressed on how it turned out. Thankfully as it was set up we were able to go home for the night and sleep in our soft beds instead of roasting in the 80-90-degree heat.

This was my first festival without my parents so I’m very happy that I had everybody looking over me and making sure I was okay. The word family means a lot to me and I can proudly say that without my parents there with me I know my family was there. Throughout the festival grounds there was always something going on, including slip and slides, drum circles and when it got dark, late night picking by the fire. For a Thursday I was impressed by the turnout of people on the grounds already. The bands that played on Thursday were honestly in my opinion the best, there was a secret set by Peoples Blues of Richmond then I got to hear Big Something closeout the day and rock out the night. By Thursday night I was exhausted from heat so it was quite nice to fall asleep early on Thursday so I could recharge for the lack of sleep I would be experiencing the next two days. Friday morning it had occurred to me that it was hot, at least up in the mid 90’s. I had to find a way to cool-off, so with the Shenandoah a mere 5 miles away I figured I’d take advantage of that and go swimming.

The next morning was another day of sweating, meeting people, and playing with a band none other than Litz. That was probably one of my favorite sit-ins I’ve ever experienced. Those guys really know how to jam. It was 8 minutes of straight jam, it started out with a solo by me, then a trade-off session with Austin Litz and I. It was extremely nerve racking. Being surrounded by 5 amazing musicians who are looking to you to give the crowd a show. I feel like as a learning musician you always feel insecure about the music you play and you get nervous that you’re going to screw up and that’s when the sweat starts to drip down your face, then suddenly you’re on stage in front of hundreds of people who are expecting great music from you. Whether I did well that day is a mystery, it’s kind of a blur surrounded by all of the other amazing moments the rest of the weekend had in store.

Photo of Tim from PBR by Galaxy McNeill

After Litz I got to hear The Congress, a small band based out of Richmond who played with a sound that truly reminds you of the Richmond’s music scene. It was nice getting to see Future Rock play that night as well as getting to watch the fire spinning, live painting, and the people dancing to end a great day on the Pasture. With the sun down and the moon out the party was just starting. One thing I notice at nights when there’s no music is that even though there’s no music on stage there is however music everywhere else. It’s a beautiful thing to see a festival in full swing. To see the smiles on the faces of the attendees as well as the people throwing this oversized party. That’s only something you see at smaller festivals.

Saturday morning, my favorite and least favorite day. My least favorite because I have to go home in a day and my favorite because it’s the day where the big headliners play. With the music starting at 11:15 with a band called Matt Jones and the Bobs who played a very good set despite the lack of a crowd. The next band on stage was referred to as Our Family Band, it was there very first time playing live so I’m very impressed on how well they played as a band. I believe it was a 6 piece including a Guitarist, Bassist, Drummer, and three female singers. They played a set with all covers which I was still impressed by. They had played one of my all-time favorite songs by the Avett Brothers called, Murder in the city. When the song started I was actually at my camp when I heard it and I dropped everything a went for a dead sprint towards the stage. That was probably one of my favorite moments that weekend. Next up was Dale and The ZDubs, everyone was very excited for them including me. With a sound that is a jam/rock/reggae hybrid they definitely know how to bring down the house and in their case the sky, because it started raining in the middle of their set and they almost got rained out, but they got through it. The next band Reckless Island was not so lucky. The stage shut down during their set causing the music to be delayed until after the storm. Moogatu while being 15 minutes delayed played a great set and they impressed me.

As the sun went down the vibe of the music went up with The Mantras playing a cover set of Talking Heads and The Grateful Dead. That had to be my favorite set the whole weekend, they played some of the best Grateful Dead and Talking Head covers I’ve heard in a while. The next band and the last band of the weekend was John Kadlecik Band who if you don’t know who John K is, he was the lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead Tribute band, Dark Star Orchestra. As the night winded down everyone began to retreat to their camps and continue partying there. The last night just kind of faded into Sunday morning. The dreaded day at all festivals, so we did the whole routine. We packed, said our goodbyes and left. Pasture Palooza was a beautiful weekend that I believe was filled with very crunchy vibes, and I hope you make it to Pasture Palooza 8.