By Colin Williams
Photography by Tyler Goble
As I make my way home from Yonderville my Facebook notifications sing out their own song as all the love from my new family of Yondervillians pours in. Each musical festival has its own vibe; it’s own atmosphere, and the vibes at Yonderville 2018 were full of love, grooving jams and, whomping beats. In a gorgeous arboretum with two stages, plenty of shaded camping, and beautiful weather, a group of festival goers, musicians, performers, festival workers, volunteers, artists, and vendors gathered for a magical weekend of music, art, and love.
The festival grounds had two stages; the electronic Lakeside stage presented by Depth Perception and the live Forest stage presented by The Jamwich. The Lakeside stage was home to dubstep, drum and bass, house, trance, and more. The stage was fun to look at. It had a clean, white, geometric patterned stage setting for the lighting to be projected on once the sun had gone down. The Forest stage, where live band performances were held, was a permanent structure with high, angled ceilings that clearly and crisply projected sound into the natural amphitheater area. The sound engineering and stage lighting for both stages were phenomenal.
The beauty, layout, and staff of Verdun Adventure Bound made an excellent location for Yonderville. If this festival continues to gain popularity, as I would expect, it could outgrow Verdun Adventure Bound but until then I think Yonderville will be home there. The majesty of the forest planted by Dr. David M. Snyder “Doc”, the founder of Verdun Adventure Bound, provided comfortable shade and plenty of hammock space for all Yondervillians. There was enough space to camp comfortably but still have a close sense of community. As I was setting up my camp I had the pleasure of meeting my neighbors, Elliot Ness and Hydra, who were performing on the Lakeside stage later that day. Thanks to them and all the artists who performed on Thursday, Yonderville 2018 was off to an impressive start.
In addition to the funkin jams of Elliot Ness and Hydra Thursday’s lineup kept grooving tunes going all night. From Tsavor and Maxwell Beats earlier in the evening to beats paired with sexy saxophone from McWavy later that night the Lakeside stage was a constant party. Closing out the night was the livetronic looping duo, Schwa, made up of Owen Murphy and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong bassist Ben Carrey. As the first day of music ended the sounds of festival goers becoming Yondervillians could be heard as laughter and conversation filled the woods.
As Friday began new Yondervillians were welcomed and the campground filled in. Throughout the day the weather was perfect and the lineup kept fans bouncing from stage to stage all day. The music began with Humdinga on the Lakeside stage and Surprise Attack on the Forest stage who truly proved to be surprise with their funky jams that still have an almost folky vibe. Surprise Attack is definitely an up and coming band to keep an eye on. The Jamwich Forest Stage was back to back with the extremely talented bands. Of Tomorrow had me dancing to their funk rock fusion that included some great rhythm and blues vibes. Next came the upbeat, almost jazzy, psychedelic grooves from Headless Robot that filled the forest and brought Yondervillians to the stage. Then Squaring The Circle took the stage and rocked out in their own funky style that had a flare of some old school classic rock vibes. Meanwhile the Depth Perception Lakeside stage had a busy day keeping everyone dancing with a variety of electronic music. I heard some quality dubstep from No Remorse, danceable drum and bass from M. Pyre and many artists who very creatively fuse genres like Tre Justice back to back with Ruckle and the unique, energetic sounds of DELTAnine. The electronic stage concluded the evening with the most-dancing-est beats and jams from Big Chocolate, Of The Trees, and the bass booming, space synth style of Shlump all the way from the West Coast. As the sun went down on The Forest stage things got extra funky with a very tight set from Funk You. It was obvious that Funk You made quite a few new fans that night as masses of dancing people made their way to the front of the stage. Closing their amazing set with a finely executed version of “Kung Fu Fighting” they left the audience pumped up for the first LITZ set of the weekend which did not disappoint. Shortly after LITZ took the stage the crowd started gathering and soon you could see the music take over in dancing people, bobbing heads, tapping feet, and smiling faces. It was then that I strolled over to the Lakeside stage where Shlump had just pumped up the energy and I saw much of the same.
When not in front of a stage I found myself watching Zilla Smith or Josh Zarambo work on their paintings while the vibes of the music filled the air. Having those artists there was an excellent sensory compliment to the continuous music throughout the weekend. The art gallery was filled with truly inspiring art from artists like Josh Zarambo with his unique style and light, airy colors or Jenée Harrison’s vivid colors and beautiful style that almost looks likes a combination of classic paintings and comic book pictures. In the art gallery, surrounded by the visual beauty of the paintings and the audible beauty of the music, inner beauty could be sought through yoga. Comfortably nestled in cushions, pillows, and yoga pads the art gallery doubled as a yoga center.
Saturday was welcomed by comfortable weather and grooving beats with an old school funk flare from Hubble Bash. This duo from Virginia Beach, VA showcases the chemistry between DJ Ben Egan and drummer Rhett Walton. Every act at this year’s Yonderville was truly impressive. Some of the performances that stood out from the Lakeside stage on Saturday were Kloud Kollectiv, Mystic Grizzly, Levitation Jones, The Widdler, and from the darkness of the woods, Shadow People. Over on the Forest stage we saw amazingly energetic sets from We The People, The Dirty Grass Players, Broccoli Samurai, and one of the most crowd rousing LITZ sets I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few. With an audience that just wouldn’t give up without more LITZ, they played an encore culminating their set and our weekend with a love radiating rendition of “With a Little Help From My Friends” into “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by The Beatles.
After an exciting weekend packed with bass, beats, jam, and funk I am proud to be a Yondervillian. I love my Yonderville family and, like everyone I talked to, would love to come back next year. The general sentiment seemed to be that it was a good vibes, small festival that felt like family. I met first time festival goers, seasoned professionals, musicians, artists, volunteers, and more but for those three days we were all Yondervillians.