Mint Green Music Festival Fresh Till the End
After helping to put some finishing touches on Sensible Reason’s GROW: Psychedelic Garden, I finally went to sleep around 7am on Friday morning. Four hours later I awoke with the sun and the sounds of happy festy goers trying to figure out the dynamics of their tent. Stumbling over to the Sensible Reason Pavilion, I was in a sort of excited exhaustion, only to be shocked awake at the sight of a psychedelic garden- complete with a hookah lounge, a DJ booth, and bubbles! Trees made from chicken wire and fabric sprouted up from the concrete, while vines of flowers and ribbon snaked their way between them. Flowers made from cans, bottles, and various recycled items decorated their trunks, while pipe cleaner flower buds adorned the spray-painted screen walls. Plants donated by the Mantua Home Depot decorated the DJ booth and the entrance to the dance area. Overnight the Sensible Reason crew managed to transform a concrete pavilion into a psychedelic garden that not only aroused the senses, but sought to house a community whose intentions lean towards a more sustainable future. The garden was not the only sight to see in that pavilion- we were lucky enough to share the space with Oxfam, who sponsored the garden with their GROW campaign, Officially OutRageous Productions, and Headcount, who was there to register new voters.
Yet, as two o’clock rolled around the cars in the field were scarce, and the festival looked as though it might belong to a select group of maybe 100 for the weekend. At around 2:30 the first performance of the Psy-Ballet went off without a hitch, a sort of dress rehearsal for the public. Afterwards, a nap was definitely in order, yet a trip to Wal-mart for some rain boots and ice seemed to take precedent, and so when I arrived back at the Salem County Fairgrounds (to a much more crowded fairgrounds) it was time for some Jeff Bujak on the Main Stage. As usual, his glitchy melodies served to be the perfect first dose of music. While dancing around, I noticed to the right of the stage a tractor idling with long silk cloths dangling down to the ground. No sooner had I questioned their presence did the chick who had just been tearing it up on the hoola hoop right next to me wrap herself in up the silks and ascend them using the slinky rhythms of her body. “Damn,” I thought to myself, “I definitely wanna try that.” As if the silken gods above had heard my calls, announced at the end of Bujak’s set was a workshop with none other than the femme fatales of the acrobatic silks the next morning at 10am (SCORE!).
Riding on that high we wandered over to the Beats Barn to check out the Cosmic Dust Bunnies, whose name alone was enough to warrant immediate intrigue. Sure enough they exceeded expectations. Besides the fact that bassist Matt Beckett was making dubstup with his bass, foot, and pedal, the Cosmic Dust Bunnies ended their set with everybody’s favorite mid 80’s song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by the band Dead or Alive. Then Indobox followed, serving up some funky, upbeat electronic jam. However, at about 8:30pm that night Horizon Wireless landed, and my Indobox experience was cut short as I headed back to the Beats Barn, towards the tantalizing trance beats luring me like sirens.
Time seemed to pass by as if in limbo, and before I knew it Horizon Wireless let loose his last drop of the night. After regathering my sanity it was back over to see BoomBox, who tickled the audience with some funky jamtronic tunes, donning the usual furry hats and sequined attire. After BoomBox, it was time to hang out in the Pavillion. I took root under a tree made of recycled material and trippy fabric, with tissue paper butterflies in flight over my head. The perfect size for multiple crews, the hookah lounge/ chill den became a meeting spot for friends new and old throughout the weekend, a comfortable place to sit, chat, and connect while still grooving to some sweet beats by either ConArtist or Ink Line, the resident Pavilion DJs.
Closing out my Friday night was Normal Instruments, who proved to be just as amazing as expected. It was my first time seeing this super group, and they seriously impressed with their blend of what I have dubbed glitch-funk jamtronica.
Saturday began with a workshop in acrobatic silks. I have to give MANY kudos to the fine ladies who climb silks for a living- what a workout! For two hours we were taught how to hold the silks, to undulate the body, and to wrap ourselves and flip up in the air. It was an unforgettable learning experience, drenched in feminine graces. Unfortunately, that serenity was short lived: on the way back to our tent an announcement came over the speakers of the fairgrounds announcing that festy goers were allowed to leave the fairgrounds to go get food, and to be back by 4pm. Apparently, in the hustle and bustle of putting together a music festival, someone forgot to hire food vendors- almost comparable to forgetting a main stage, no? Yet, even poor planning couldn’t put a damper on the stacked day of music ahead of us.
Later that day, at about 4:20 pm, our final performance of the Psy-Ballet, an interactive and psychedelic dance put on by members of ZEN~*~KITTY Creations. Envisioned with intentions of formless form, this free-flowing psy-extravaganza sought to encapsulate the audience in a protective egg of cohesive humanness, while simultaneously cracking open that protective barrier and enticing the yolk of the soul out into a space of pure creation. After the tingling in my chakras subsided (running around in front of a crowd to music tuned at 432hz for a half hour will do that to you) we headed over to Wobblesauce, who proceeded to give us an acoustic rubdown with funky jams, and even graced us with a new song.
Fikus threw down next, and after them came the Malah. I have never seen the Malah, but after listening to their recordings I can only say to you readers GO SEE THEM… NOW! Their recordings don’t do enough justice to the intricacies weaved into their live sets. After that explosive performance was Jimkata. Again I was blown away by a band I had never seen live- Jimkata managed to range from electronic to jam to funk to punk to metal to rock and back to electronic, and all within one song. I hadn’t heard of them previously, but you’d better believe they were immediately added to my ITunes on Sunday afternoon. After Jimkata an executive decision was made– it’s time to sit in the teepee. So, off to the giant teepee we went for the beginning of Two Fresh. After some meditation, Reiki, and bonding it was time to join the crowd, and for the first time all weekend the majority of the Mint Green attendees were raging the same show. A surge of familial familiarity came about, the kind that surfaces at these gatherings. It’s the same thing that makes you think you recognize strangers at a festival- their energy is familiar.
With my root chakra on high activation I sauntered over with the crowd to Zoogma (whatever the f*ck that is). As always, Zoogma melted my face clean off- really though, there was a puddle on the floor afterwards. The intensity of their music never allows the “rock” to be overshadowed by electronics, and their multi-layered sound borders on jam-metal, with electronic samples poking through at the perfect moments. Some downtime was had after, and then Break Science stepped up to the plate, effectively stimulating those late-night lurkers still on the hunt for some tasty beats. As the jammy sound of Break Science segwayed into the full out electronic dubstep tracks of Archnemesis I finally gave in to the aches in my feet and the heaviness of my lids. On the way back to our tent we happened upon the other pavilions we had overlooked the whole weekend. Inside were hanging jellyfish chandeliers, sustainably built sculptures & art pieces, and instruments made from reused and recycled materials, as well as a sandbox- for your tactile pleasure. After a sweet jam session with metal pans and wooden spoons to end the fest, we headed back to camp. And, as I was slowly drifting in and out of slumber all I could think of was how surprisingly healing of a weekend it really was.