“It’s the perfect size festival. Any bigger and you’d lose something.”
Andrew Bird’s quote perfectly encapsulates the whole vibe of Nelsonville Music Festival. The four day event which took place in the heart of southeastern Ohio, in the city of Nelsonville, from May 28-31 drew a crowd of about 6,000 who came to experience a festival unlike any other. With versatile musical acts such as Elephant Revival, St. Vincent and Mavis Staples, NMF brought together music fans of all genres for the 2015 lineup.
On Friday afternoon, could listen to folk inspired cellist, Ben Sollee, and experience an incredible, alternative set by St. Vincent on Saturday night.
One of the things that makes the music scene at Nelsonville so articulate is the experience of the No-Fi Cabin. Set about a five minute walk from the main stage into a line of cabins among a series of trees decorated with twinkling lights, this cabin allowed fans to watch performers with only their instruments and voices, creating a unique atmosphere for anyone in attendance.
Another amazing musical aspect of NMF was the picturesque Porch Stage where some of the rawest talent was displayed. From the all girl rock band, Good English, to guitarist Ryley Walker, the Porch Stage offered fans the same experience of a live performance but not as intimate as the No-Fi Cabin or mainstream as the Main Stage. It was the perfect in between.
The Flaming Lips wowed the Main Stage audience Friday night with a luminous light show, while a 28 foot robot made of balloons surged from the back of the audience and attacked front man, Wayne Coyne. Performing some of their hits such as “She Don’t Use Jelly” and “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” attendees swayed along and sang in perfect harmony.
The overall influence the music has on a festival is excruciatingly important for the people coming. There has to be enough to accommodate everyone’s different tastes and NMF did a sharp job at getting all the angles of the different genres simultaneously together. If festival goers weren’t there for the music, they were most likely grabbing a beer from the Jackie O’s vendor (with valid ID of course) or a hot dog from O’Betty’s, both located in nearby Athens. The importance of supporting local businesses is an ideal commonly shared among the Nelsonville crowd.
Seeing the love and support of local businesses makes the uniqueness of Nelsonville Music Festival all the more special. While support for local businesses is persistent at NMF, the festival also wanted to tackle a problem that is affecting everyone globally. In a sponsorship with Rural Action, the Zero Waste program is on a mission to disperse materials both recyclable and compostable and ways to reduce and reuse natural resources throughout Appalachian Ohio. Zero Waste made this happen by setting up recycle stations and cute “Eco Facts” signs all over the festival on how recycling is better to do than throwing materials away in the trash.
This year, with 6,000 festival goers in attendance, Zero Waste was able to collect 96% of recyclable materials which will not be going to landfills. With the implementation of the Zero Waste program, the goal is for people who attend Nelsonville Musical Festival to embrace the beauty of the Earth, starting with the lush forests of southeastern Ohio.
The festival is a celebration of music, friends, beer, but most importantly good times. Until next summer, Nelsonville!