Why Should I Go To A Music Festival

by Carolina Bridges

summer-festivals-2013This might seem like a simple question and the answers may seem “obvious” to those of us who have been to many of these events. But, what if you had NEVER gone to a music festival? What would it take to convince you to make it a goal to attend one?


The beauty of a well-planned festival is that it is filled not only with great music, but, just like the county fairs of old; there is yummy food, great activities for young and old, and an opportunity to buy hand-crafted goods. In truth, whether you are going to one in our 50 states or anywhere in the world, it is the BEST place to make new friends and enjoy new cultural experiences.


OK…I will admit it…I am a “foodie.” One of my most favorite things to do at a festival is explore the food vendors. 

I was at the Huck Finn Jubilee in Ontario, CA, recently and came across some new salsa, delicious varieties of candied nuts, and famous smoked tri-tip. Are you hungry yet?

The whole food area was laid out for me like a gastronomic carpet of delectable delights for my palette (oh YES, I am definitely a “foodie’). There were even gourmet cupcakes by one of the folks who won the Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Who said you couldn’t eat “high class” at a festival?

At the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS, coming up in September, they have the most FABULOUS homemade apple dumpling with cinnamon sauce. OK…I limit myself to one and it is sooooo hard not to eat more but I really enjoy every bite. And the strawberry limeade is just perfect for a those hot, humid festival days. The barbecued corn on the cob…slathered with butter and salt…ahh…I can hardly wait until I go again this year.

Remember, everyone has to eat to stay alive! So make it to a music festival this summer and smile as your nourish both your tummy and your soul!


How many of you have taken a hot air balloon ride or dashed across a lake on a zip line?

Both those activities and a fishing derby were part of the great offerings at the Huck Finn Jubilee this year. See what you missed?

Upcoming this July in Lyons, CO, is the Rockygrass Festival, which is held among red rock canyon walls and cool mountain streams. Yes, Janet Deering will be displaying our banjos there but that is just one of the many wonders to be seen. Folks take their inner tubes and floating devices to the river’s edge, right by all the vendors. Leaving socks and shoes behind they plunge into the brisk coolness of the gentle flowing water to cool off and have fun. I found it fun just to sit on a rock and wiggle my toes in the water to cool off.  There are craft projects for the kids in the family tent and of course, jam circles throughout the campground area. Yes, CAMPGROUNDS! If camping is your favorite activity, many festivals, including this one, offer wonderful camping experiences.

Live near Newport, RI, then visit the seasoned Newport Music Festival held on Fort Adams State Park. They offer a full array of musical events as well as a great crafts area, and yes, a food park. While you are there, visit Jamie Deering and David Bandrowski at the Deering Banjo booth and take a free banjo lesson with David!

Look around your local area and see what festivals you may have close by. Find out what you and your family may have been missing out on…and take a leap of faith and go this summer.


And yes, folks, some of the best musical entertainers are found on the humble stages of the music festivals around the world. Festival stages have not only famous artists but many local bands that are just getting started. I heard some great new talent at the Huck Finn Jamboree…and it’s all FREE for your ticket entry. It’s a bargain!

July’s Rockygrass will give folks the opportunity to hear the fantastic Kruger Brothers, the award-winning Del McCoury Band, the outstanding Jerry Douglas and Sam Bush…and all you have to do is get a ticket, bring a chair/blanket and stake out your piece of grass to enjoy it!

At the Newport Festival you can hear the Avett Brothers, the Lumineers, Old Crow Medicine Show…and find out who exactly are The Milk Carton Kids and The Mountain Goats. Meet some new artists and listen to some of your favorites…it’s all there for the price of one ticket!

Come September, head on to the heartland of America, Winfield, KS, and visit Barry Hunn and Carolina Bridges at the Deering booth. They are both looking forward to hearing the music of Beppe Gambetta, Byron Berline, Tom Chapin, John McCutcheon, The Grascals, and more. The Deering booth is located under the grandstand stage so we get a chance to hear snippets of all the stage performances. There is always the stomping of feet, the clapping of hands, and the joyful sound of folks delighted with the performances of artists from all over the world.


So, folks, get your walking shoes on…whether they are flip-flops, hiking boots, tennis shoes, or ballerina flats. Get out into the sunshine and stay until sundown. Bring the kids and a blanket. Enjoy the wonderful event called a “festival” this year…and for years to come. You will make new friends because seated on that grass next to you, or standing in line for some corn on the cob, is someone JUST LIKE YOU!


Kristin Scott Benson chooses the Deering Golden Series banjos
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