5 Things You Learn At Your First Mountain Jam
One regret I have in life is that I never attended enough concerts or live music festivals. I remember enjoying them a little as a child when my father took the whole family to shows at the county fair and even an early 80s Beach Boys concert at The Washington Monument. But as I got older and adulting started to happen, I just didn't make the time to go. Working at WRRV is changing all of that and I'm glad I'm still young enough to appreciate concerts and the crowds that attend them.
Last week was my first Mountain Jam experience and I decided to baby step my way in by going for one day. I enjoyed Saturday and met up with a lot of WRRV listeners who have enjoyed Mountain Jam in the best and were happy to show me the ropes. Here are 5 things you learn at your first Mountain Jam.
1. You quickly learn your way around Hunter Mountain. Once you've accessed the lawn area in front of the stage you can make a few choices on where to park it. Most people who are there all weekend will have a little area set up with lawn chairs and blankets but still freely walk around. Most people are willing to share their space with you and it's nice to feel a sense of temporary community. We were all experiencing a great weekend together and all the concert goers share good vibes with kindness. Food vendors and bathrooms are decently located where you never have to travel to far to access either.
2. Mountain Jam isn't just a one stage music festival. There are in fact three stages, two smaller stages apart from the main stage. Pay close attention to the line-up and try and catch some of the smaller performances. It'll make the most out of your weekend.
3. Random things will happen all around you. I witnessed some pretty hilarious moments both on stage from the bands and off stage within the crowd. Everyone is on a giant hill so it's not a rare occurrence when someone loses their balance and falls over. No one laughs until its established that they didn't get hurt. We help them up, chuckle for a bit and move on. No big deal.
A total stranger can just hug you for no reason while you are in the crowd in front of the stage. Such was the case for me when I was surrounded by Alice Merton fans during her performance. She rocked it by the way and her fans showed their appreciation by way of sharing positive energy with everyone around them.
4. The first few rows are easily accessed if you plan ahead. Every time a band would finish there would be time between performances. It was never more than an hour but full disclosure, I wasn't checking the time since it was flying by anyway. During this transitional period the front of the stage clears out for potty breaks, snacks, drinks and the like. If there is a band you want to experience up close, this is the only time you have to commit to waiting. I got into the 2nd row for Alice Merton and her set was one of the greatest I've experienced in my life so far. It was pretty surreal for me actually, it almost felt like I was watching The Cranberries at Woodstock '94. I was too young for that back then but I'm glad I saw a rising rock star live this early in her career.
5. New bands will blow you away at Mountain Jam. Andy Frasco and the U.N. is a jam band that I've never heard of before. They have earned quite the reputation as a high energy group and when they started playing their first song around 2pm on Saturday afternoon, I made a B line for the stage. It was just a cover of Back In The New York Groove but I could feel their energy so strongly that it drew me as close to the stage as I could possibly get. The next hour was spent yelling, cheering and just being excited. It was non stop and the crowd just couldn't get enough of Andy Frasco and the U.N. If you ever have the opportunity to see these guys, jump on it. They never let their crowd down and you'll remember the first time you see them for the rest of your life.
For a one day trip and my first Mountain Jam experienced I was impressed. Now that I have my feet wet, I'm going to start planning for next year and will camp the whole weekend. It's the next logical step in my pursuit of live music, large crowds and good vibes.