Students plan their festival season

Jon Zinter

Festival season is almost here and it’s time to start thinking about where you and your friends will go for a three-day binge of music, arts and community.

The lineups are rolling out. Festivals offer people an affordable way to take a break from their normal lives, let loose and make new friends.

There are also so many of them now that just about anyone can find the right lineup or community to suit their taste.

“I’m pretty reluctant to go to larger festivals,” junior Mike Beith said.

Smaller festivals may not be known for their big-name lineups, but they tend to offer a greater sense of community.

“It becomes a family by the end of the weekend,” said Beith. His favorite festival is Catskill Chill in Hancock, New York.

This year it is happening from Sept. 18 – 20. Last year their lineup included bands like Yonder Mountain String Band and Papadosio.

Sophomore Jenny Lowell also said she preferred smaller festivals. She said she had a great time at The Friendly Gathering in Windham, Vermont last summer.

“It was really chill. There was a pond and we went swimming,” Lowell said. “Twiddle played six sets.”

This year, however, Lowell is planning to attend the larger Peach Festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It is Aug. 13 – 16 and features headliners Santana, Gregg Allman and Billy and the Kids.

Billy and the Kids is a band that includes Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann.

Burlington-area Phish fans also have a summer destination: Magnaball, the 10th Phish Festival of the band’s career will be taking place in Watkins Glen, New York, from Aug. 21 – 23.

Since the band has no northeastern tour dates this summer, Magnaball is a great option for Vermont Phish fans, who have had one local Vermont show in the last decade.

It will take place at the end of their summer tour, so the band will be warmed up and playing tightly.

When asked where he wanted to go most, sophomore Sam Gaillard said, “obviously the Grateful Dead shows, but that’s if I could get there.”

Part of the difficulty of choosing a festival includes hearing about great shows that are too hard to find tickets for or that are just too far away.

Gaillard is from Georgia, and plans on attending Counterpoint Festival in Atlanta. Their headliners includeWidespread Panic, The Roots and Umphrey’s McGee.

“I’m most excited to see Umphrey’s,” Gaillard said.

For the price of one ticket and some camping supplies people can see several of their favorite musicians.

Festivals offer, over the course of a few days, a fun and  laid-back environment that is gauranteed to put the “break” in “summer break.”

Be sure to lock down your festival choices, weigh the pros and cons of each and make sure you see the artists you want to see.

Once you’re there, however, don’t be afraid to neglect your schedule or see an artist you’ve never heard of. A big part of the fun is just going with the flow.