SolarFest is a non-profit organization whose mission is to deliver fantastic music and educational workshops at an accessible price. While comparable weekend music festivals charge prices ranging from $125 to $250 and more per ticket, SolarFest's $75 weekend pass with camping provides great value for entertainment, and adds onto that a full weekend of workshops on relevant and cutting edge technologies, the SolarFest Mini Maker Faire, children's activities and more. As always, children 14 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.
For twenty years SolarFest has hosted huge talent on its solar-powered stages, continually seeking out unique, exciting and unusual acts for its audiences. Vying for first to sign up for a return engagement at the 20th anniversary festival was the funky and exciting Break of Reality: a heavy-metal cello band that rocks the dancers and will close Saturday night's concerts.
Artists who appear at SolarFest for the first time include Lukas Nelson, who fulfills a promise to his father that he play guitar. He has been touring nonstop for three years with his band Promise of the Real, delivering high energy performances and tightly written songs.
Ramping up the energy of Saturday night's schedule, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band describes itself as a "world famous music machine, whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-octane performances. They have revitalized the brass band in New Orleans and around the world", and are featured guests on albums by artists including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews Band and the Black Crowes.
Also appearing on the Main Stage are Burlington favorites Waylon Speed and the West African-influenced polyrhythmic grooves of Barika; Bow Thayer; energetic stars of the Albany NY area Eastbound Jesus; reggae groove artist Sleepy Wonder and Geometric Echoes, featuring members of Thievery Corp; and crowd favorites SolarFest House Band and Soule Monde.
The opening Friday act of the festival is Keeghan Nolan, a northern Vermonter who has been snapped up by Nashville: she is young, penning new country songs, and is riding a tide of acclaim based on her songwriting acumen and her heartfelt delivery.
In addition to the acts featured above, the SolarFest Singer/ Songwriter Showcase gives ten rising artists an enthusiastic audience for their craft, and always offers rare gems: Ray LaMontagne and Gregory Douglass were early participants.
SolarFest's Family Stage hosts the wonderfully seamless storytelling duo Jennings and Ponder, SolarFest favorites who hold the distinction of appearing the most often at the festival since 1996; Derek Berkins, winner of 2012's Songwriter Showcase and an energetic and warm performer of music for younger people; and world champion juggler Tony Duncan.
Off stage and in-between, attendees can take in larger-than-life Puppet Pageantry, the antics and tricks of clown Rick Davis, join in the old time music making of the Bogstompers, or make their own at the Hands On Music area. Saturday night sees a return of the much-beloved Contra Dance, with expert musicians and callers shepherding enthusiasts.
Audiences annually flock to SolarFest's own Theater-In-The-Woods, featuring original plays by children's book author Frank Asch presented by a talented troupe of actors. SolarFest host, actor and Security Chief Marshall Squier says there are typically "upwards of four hundred people cramming in those woods" at each of the weekend's three shows.
Capping Saturday night is the Art Bonfire, a twenty-year-old tradition. The annual bonfire invites spectators to witness and celebrate the conflagration of a wood sculpture into flames.
With energizing musical and other acts from a variety of backgrounds, SolarFest promises to do what it has always done: inspire attendees to dance, sing along, or simply sit back and enjoy excellent music and entertainment in a spectacular setting.
About SolarFest: Celebrating its 20th year, SolarFest is the Northeast's longest running solar powered music festival and sustainability conference.
Twenty years ago, the idea was simply to demonstrate the power of the sun by harnessing its energy to deliver a first class music festival. Over time we have grown our educational offerings, while remaining true to our roots. We now offer programming for all ages, including more than 80 hands-on and in-depth educational opportunities, music, theater, art: an experience that empowers and inspires people to make positive change in their own lives and in their communities. SolarFest's mission is to connect people, the arts, ideas and technology, fostering partnerships for a vibrant present and a sustainable future. Join us for a day or the entire weekend, July 18-20, 2014 at Forget-Me-Not Farm in Tinmouth, Vermont.
Visit www.solarfest.org for tickets and more information on this year's impressive array of educational offerings, the second annual SolarFest Mini Maker Faire and much more.