As avid festival goers here at The Way Live Should Be, we know that deciding which festival(s) to attend can be tough. What makes each festival unique? What are the factors that sway fans from one amazing choice to another? These are questions we have to answer often, as we go from one festival to the next, savoring each multi-faceted, musically fabulous experience. This festival preview is for the 3rd Annual Bella Terra Music Festival and it’s going to show what sets this festival apart and why Bella Terra should be on your “Must Go” list.
Factor One: THE LINE UP! How many of my favorite bands will be there? One must also consider the possibility of discovering a gem that you have never heard before. In our opinion, this is where Bella Terra’s well-balanced line-up really shines. With acts like Buckethead, The Mickey Hart Band, BoomBox, Rubblebucket, Zach Deputy, Wes N Worrel (A REAL treat as we see it; Worrell has played with the Talking Heads, Les Claypool, Buckethead, P-Funk, etc!) and the Donna Jean Godchaux Band, Bella Terra has a fair share of well known favorites. Left to our imagination is the possibility of spontaneous collaborations between many of these amazing artists…who knows what could happen! Something we really think is key to every good festival though; some lesser known bands ripe for discovering. Below we have summaries of a few bands that were new to us. We hope you are as excited as we are to see them in person!
Find the full Bella Terra line-up here:
PRELIMINARY DAILY SCHEDULE
Thursday, August 18, is sure to kick off the festival with a bang as Zach Deputy, Emancipator, Rubblebucket and Papadosio.
Friday, August 19 will be a night dedicated to the Grateful Dead with performances by three former members of the group. The Mickey Hart Band is headlining the night, preceded by the Donna Jean Godchaux Band and Tom Constanten.
The Saturday, August 20th headliner, Buckethead, is revered as possibly the most infamous, innovative and talented guitarist to ever pick up the instrument. He’s remained anonymous throughout his 25 year career, concealing his true identity with a mask and bucket upon his head at each appearance. Perhaps he is best known for his period as a member of Guns N’ Roses, but Buckethead has collaborated with many other musical legends such as Les Claypool (Primus, Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade) and Bernie Worrell (Talking Heads, Parliament Funkadelic).
There are many bands at Bella Terra that we have never encountered before. Following are synopses of a few of the bands attending Bella Terra; straight from the bands themselves;
Dopapod: Thumping up from basement parties in Boston, to bumping the sounds systems of major venues all across the east coast, Dopapod has been steadily growing as a musical tour-de-force for 3 years. Dopapod’s debut album, “Radar” has received critical acclaim from national publications such as Performer Magazine, calling Dopapod’s members “incredibly talented musicians”, and that the band has “set the bar respectfully high for their first full length recording”.
We interviewed Eli Winderman; keyboardist of Dopapod, see what he has to say about Bella Terra and the festival scene HERE!
Sophistafunk: Combining hip hop & spoken-word with the sounds of live funk, soul, & dance music, the trio SOPHISTAFUNK has invented its own style of cross-genre music. This band is unlike anything most people have ever heard, in a really good way. They are funky, in a subtle manner, but the band’s thesis was all about dense electro sounds perfectly blended with hip-hop. The man behind the synthesizers [ADAM GOLD] was dialing in all sorts of rich textured sounds on his analog synthesizer, while the emcee [JACK BROWN] was rapping with a deft vocabulary and the drummer [EMANUEL WASHINGTON] was holding down those sly, snare-clapping hip-hop rhythms.
Go HERE to read a brief interview with Sophistafunk regarding Bella Terra and the festival experience!
Start Making Sense: A 7 piece Talking Heads tribute happily recreating every stage of the band’s career. If David Byrne is one of the geniuses of modern times, then Start Making Sense is a tribute to genius. The musicians in this 7-piece Talking Heads cover have come from psychedelia-funk, NYC underground spoof bands, worldbeat jam, head-banging punk and from onstage with Frank Zappa’s band members to bring to stage a “once in a lifetime” experience. A rockin’, funkin’, danceable celebration of the new-wave punk we loved from the 80’s with frontman Jon Braun as a spot-on David Byrne.
We talked with Jon Braun to see what he had to say about becoming a Talking Heads cover band and about the festival phenomenon. Read the brief interview HERE!
The Problemaddicts: The Problemaddicts are a 5-man squad of emcees who approach Hip Hop with a genre-crossing blend of new school production and old school lyricism. The Problemaddicts pushed the boundaries of rap music with their 2008 release The Dark Side of Oz. The 12-track mash-up of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and The Wizard of Oz soundtrack landed in College Music Journal’s Top 10 Hip Hop charts, winning over a variety of fans in the process.
Exter vs. Kimock: Trevor Exter and John Kimock have a unique chemistry as musicians, providing hard-hitting yet tender music that wrings the depth of drums and cello. Sounding at once modern and tribal, they take over with a driving groove and passionate lyrics. At their shows people often say that it sounds like a full band, even though there are just two of them. They don’t use loops, but sometimes they do.
Wobblesauce: Based out of Boston, Wobblesauce brings us an eclectic mix of live electronic funk, rock, and dance music! Combining Mike McCarthy’s sick-nasty synth lines with Jake Boynton’s disco/dubbed out basslines, Cody Rountree lays down fat beats and monstrous fills on the E-drums!
Insigniya: Taking influence from a vast range of musicians, Insigniya has been breaking down barriers in creating original music that cannot be broken down as simply jazz, rock, or funk. Insigniya is centered on the concept of channeling a special energy through an audience, creating within a feeling of freedom and self-empowerment.
Frank Viele and the Manhattan Project: Frank Viele and the Manhattan Project – a 6-piece group of seasoned underground musicians from across the Metropolitan area that are set to explode right out of the NYC club scene. On stage, all six members unleash an unsurpassed energy and explode into one powerful combustion of gyrating rock and funk music that have drawn diverse comparisons from The Dave Matthews Band, Huey Lewis & The News, O.A.R. and Maroon 5 to Tower of Power and Chicago.
Doctor Doom Orchestra: A momentous musical fusion consisting of fiddle, harmonica, guitar, trumpet, saxophone, bass, drums, a multiple vocalists. Their music is fresh, ranging, and fundamentally tight enough to dominate a new playing surface for many Bostonians’. The band is the proud founder of an entirely new musical genre that most of us have been waiting for, with smooth backup vocal enforcement. Those not familiar with the band formerly known as Foggy Depot, and Doctors of Flight must imagine a sound similar to what “power soul” could sound like paired with snug rap lyrics executed over pumping percussion and elite riffs, so leave the air guitar at home.
ORIGIN AND INTENT
The third annual Bella Terra festival is gearing up to be an amazing event and experience! A wide variety of musical approaches and styles will be in attendance; leaving the festival go-er with little to be desired. Here’s a few tidbits specific to the history of Bella Terra that may help you in the decision making process! This is no pure profit driven event; there is a lot of thought, love, and progressive motivation that goes into making a festival like this! Bella Terra: Arts, Music & Culture Festival originated in 2009 as a benefit event to raise funds for Berkshire Arts Scholarships (BARTS), a scholarship program administered by the Railroad Street Youth Project, a 501c3 non-profit organization, in Great Barrington, MA. BARTS awards scholarships go to disadvantaged western Massachusetts youths who are ages 16-25, and pursuing an education or career in the arts. The goal is to raise enough funds to continue awarding potential BARTS candidates annually, and award scholarships to a greater number of youths each year. Bella Terra aims to provide a multidisciplinary atmosphere for local and national artists to showcase their work while integrating past and future BARTS recipients (and other aspiring artists) into the greater arts community.
Bella Terra is not strictly music and art, however. They also feature a wealth of ‘edu-tainment’ themed programming including workshops and speaker/discussions that focus on relevant social, political and environmental issues. Recognizing that changing one’s own life for the better goes hand in hand with improving the world around us, Bella Terra advocates that each person pursue his or her own dreams, open their minds and realize their maximum potential while living in harmony with the universe. These guys celebrate a balanced existence, progressive lifestyle, grassroots organization, open mindedness, global unification, and self expression through artistic mediums (awesome, right?!). Music and art are a great platform to promote awareness and sustainability. Bella Terra Festival uses music and art to help spread these messages!
Gardner’s is located at 15898 Route 22 in Stephentown, NY. It is situated at the intersection of routes 22 and 43, virtually on the actual MA-NY line. It’s just minutes from Route 20 in the center of New Lebanon, NY, or from Jiminy Peak Ski Resort in Hancock, MA, and about a 40 minute drive east from Albany. The site is almost 700 acres in size, composed of fields, pastures, forest, a pond, and streams! The portion utilized for Bella Terra Festival consists of several fields and pastures.
The primary day to day operations of this venue is the running of Gardner’s Ice Cream & Coffee and an adjacent driving range. Gardner’s is a full service diner (which WILL be open for business during the festival, with a special ‘Acoustic Brunch’ performance inside the diner on each morning of the festival!!). Farming practices also constitute part of the goings on at Gardner’s, with a herd of cattle grazing a field bordering a section of the property’s perimeter.
In conlusion; we think it’s pretty clear that the 3rd Annual Bella Terra festival is not an event to be missed! Music, art, activism, and progressive people abound at this very special event and we think it will be a great and comfortable time for all. We are very grateful to be working with these folks and hope to see you there!