Written by Amanda Marcazo
Every June, the Disc Jam team heads to Gardner’s Farm in lovely Stephentown, NY and puts together a solid weekend of incredible music, amazing artwork, fantastic displays of hoops, fire, and body movement talent, and of course – disc golf. I have never experienced a more wonderful festival and I can’t begin to explain how excited I am to do it all again this year. 2018 marks the festival’s 8th year and while I admittedly didn’t find my way there until last year, I was quickly converted to a member of the Disc Jam Fam. If you have yet to attend this amazing gathering and you can get yourself there June 7th to the 10th, I can’t recommend strongly enough that you do. It changed my perception of how amazing a festival could be.
There is golf for beginner to expert happening all weekend. Even if you never witnessed a single game, I encourage you to give it a go. Before you know it, you will be hooked. The course encourages both the avid and first timer players to try their hand, all at no additional cost to play (outside of tournaments), with discs provided free of charge for those interested in playing. The disc golf tournaments are set to go down on Saturday and Sunday with winners looking at some cash and prizes. You can purchase tickets in advance or at the box office. Don’t worry though if disc golf is not quite your thing -the tournaments and play are both together and separate from the music and art festivities, and nothing is required but a positive attitude and a love of the festival vibe!
The musical lineup this year is nothing short of stellar with the likes of Kung Fu, Galactic, The Motet, Lotus, Beats Antique, Moon Hooch, Aqueous, Ghost Light, The Nth Power, Consider the Source, Escaper, Mushroom Cloud, West End Blend, Space Bacon, and my golly goodness, I can go on all day because there are over 100 musical acts this year! Take a peep at the schedule and you will find four days of solid, back to back music that doesn’t stop until it’s time to go home. You heard me right – the music doesn’t ever stop.
These folks do it right. There are three sets of stages at the festival with a little something for everyone. There is always something happening a short walk away from wherever you are, and usually a friendly face to walk with you. The main stage is actually two side-by-side stages which switch back and forth seamlessly so the groove and dancing keeps going. It was something I found so incredibly impressive when I attended last year that I am really excited to see how they are going to top themselves this year. It’s not only one of the most well planned shows I ever attended; it is also one of the most well-executed. This year’s Artists At Large include Eli Winderman and Rob Compa (Dopapod), Michelangelo Carruba, Shira Elias, Craig Brodhead, Chris Brouwers, Greg Sanderson, Josh Schwartz (Turkuaz), DJ Logic, and Honeycomb.
Let’s talk about the Tent Stage where there is set to be some insane acoustic jams happening. Thursday night, check out all four members of Twiddle doing independent and jointed projects. Brook Jordan and Ryan Dempsey will be doing rare solo sets, and Gubbulidis with Mihali and Gubb will be doing their take on those tunes we know. But this is all four members of Twiddle. We know what happens! Then, stick around for some amazing sounds from Dopapod’s Rob Compa and Aqueous’s Mike Gantzer doing their acoustic grooves. Two of the scene’s most noted guitarists, coming together to do what they do? Sign me up. Friday night at the Tent Stage is set to be just as crazy when DJ Logic and Friends – those friends including two members of Dopapod, five members of Turkuaz, and two members of The Disco Biscuits – take over with some equally crazy jams and a much talked about rare acoustic Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig performance. This is just madness. I can’t even decide what I am looking forward to the most.
Hike on over to the Woods Stage and get ready to dance yourself into a frenzy with four late night takeovers by some of the East Coast’s hottest promoters doing some crazy themed electronic dance sets, keeping your blood flowing and your body moving until the sun comes up. Rezinate, NV Concepts, and Sermon will be on hand to shake you from the inside out. If that is not enough to get your booty into the woods, there is a nightly Silent Disco hosted by The Wook of Wallstreet to bring you right into the daylight. Strap on those headsets and shake that groove thing!
When the sun does come up, the incredible Bearly Dead will be there to welcome you back to life with their morning jolt and the wonderful songs of the Grateful Dead. Dance into your morning, or just sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy that vibe as it drifts across the farm.
VENDING AND ART:
It’s not just music and disc golf though – There is a wonderful array of things to be seen, worn, and eaten at the Vendor Marketplace this year. Quality handmade items, art, instruments, food, and beverages will be available for your purchase throughout the weekend in close proximity to the main stage. On your walk there and back, enjoy the art scattered throughout the festival, care of the Disc Jam Artist Collective who will be creating massive murals and art installations throughout the site all weekend long. They really do an incredible job bringing beauty to an already beautiful place.
The Disc Jam Flow Tribe will be on hand as always to bring you the best in hoopers, freestyle dancers, fire artists, acro yogis, and more! In addition to their enhancement of all the musical stylings with their dance and movements, they will be hosting workshops and being all around awesome all weekend. If you feel like a stretching those dance-tired muscles and feeling the good vibe, there are fantastic yoga classes including traditional, Vinyasa, and partner Acro on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Bring your mat or enjoy that kitten soft grass. (no, really…the grass there is absolutely shoe-optional!) In addition, check out workshops on Wellness, Flow Arts, Painting, Disc Golf, and Permaculture classes made available daily. I am looking forward to letting them teach me a thing or two.
STRANGERS HELPING STRANGERS:
Most importantly, while you are there to get your groove on, how about bringing a few things to make a world of difference in someone’s lives? This year brings back the positive spreading love of the incredible folks at Stranger Helping Strangers. This group has made it a mission since 1997 to bring necessities and food to the areas that concerts and festivals come to set up. The will be on hand at Disc Jam collecting on behalf of the Stephentown Emergency Food Pantry. They are collecting non-perishable food and toiletry items. When you are packing up your camping gear and coolers this year, please think about grabbing a few extra items at the store for these incredible folks to bring to those in need in the Stephentown community. Small acts of kindness make a huge difference.
That is why we all get together at festivals, isn’t it? We want to come together in friendship and a love of music and beauty to remember what this life is all about – Being kind to one another, giving back to our environment, and dancing until we can’t dance anymore! I hope to see you at Disc Jam!
Get your tickets and check out the daily schedule at http://www.discjammusicfestival.com/