Still Grateful Fest 4

Still Grateful Fest 4

Mountain Sky, Scott Township, PA

September 9 – 11, 2016

by Ryan O’Malley

 

 

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We grabbed this video off of youtube, Mike Lehman uploaded it there.

About five years ago, a group of friends took over a 117 acre plot of land just north of Scranton, Pa that was, quite literally, a mountain. There were rolling hills, a basketball court, a few buildings, and a main homestead that showed a ton of possibilities,

Through the help of friends and volunteers, a massive cleanup project took place and eventually the land was opened as Mountain Sky, an outdoor music venue that features multiple stages and overnight camping for every event. Since its inception, Mountain Sky has played host to numerous showcases of local talent for Northeast Pa, and even dipped into the national scene with a performance from Dickey Betts two years ago.

Along the way, the venue’s flagship event, Still Grateful Fest, became a popular attraction for jamband fans in the surrounding communities. While the first few years featured only local bands performing music in the style of the Grateful Dead, this years installment – the fourth of which just took place over the weekend – featured three nights of St. Louis based Dead tribute act The Schwag, who provided three sets of some o the best Grateful Dead music the area has seen.

It’s not just the national acts that make Mountain Sky an enjoyable experience. Local musicians, like Diane Brigido, have been staples at the venue. While being involved in mostly every event Mountain Sky hosts, Brigido has always performed at Still Grateful Fest, putting in multiple performaces this year.

Check out the huge gallery of photos by Ryan O’Malley here.

“This year was great,” she said. “I played Saturday morning at 11:30 on the camp stage and people came out in the grass and relaxed and listened and kept that positive vibe between the stage and the audience that is always here at Mountain Sky. It was a great crowd in numbers too, considering the early start.”

As is common with most every festival, musicians and fans mingle together and many new friendships and collaborations are born. It’s something Chris “Kamala” Towns finds to be one of the more appealling aspects of the events. Towns became involved with the venue since the beginning, and has become one of the “faces” of the venue, doing everything from creating the posters and artwork for the events, to handling emcee duties and making sure everyone has a safe but fun time.

“It’s hard to pick one favorite thing about the fest,” he said. “I love it all; the anticipation, the friendly greetings, the afternoons watching the kids have fun, the party after hours, the disconnection from everyday life, but if I had to narrow it down I’d have to say it’s hearing how much other people are enjoying themselves. The “stopping strangers just to shake their hand” part of it. I really enjoy introducing myself to people and ask them if they’re having a good time. Everyone that I’ve talked to loves the place and they’re grateful to tell you about it and say thanks.”

This years Still Grateful Fest housed nearly one thousand fans, many of whom are returning veterans of the mountain. Many of the attendees are Mountain Sky veterans because of the relaxed vibe of watching bands like Turbine, Appalaichain Gypsy Tribe, and the Penque-Diomede Band deliver some high energy performances unlike any other. Brandin Gockley, a veteran of Still Grateful Fest, made the transition from attendee to volunteer this year after falling in love with the venue on his first visit. Sure, being a volunteer gets him into the festival, but for Gockley, it’s more about having a passion for the venue and wanting to do whatever he can to help it succeed.

“This was my second Still Grateful Fest,” he said. “I won tickets to last year’s festival and have been coming back ever since for just about every event. From the moment I first drove up the road to the open fields, I fell in love, met strangers that I now consider family and made it my home away from home. How can you go wrong with a place like Mountain Sky? It’s so close to Scranton and the surrounding cities/towns; I love how close it is. Yes, I did make the switch this year from fan to volunteer because being the person I am, I felt I needed to get involved. I’m trying to help out more and more because we alI know it takes a lot of people to run events like this and if we all pitch in and lend a hand we can all benefit from it and hopefully make everything run smoothly as possible. I loved it! I’m actually going to be more involved as we go on.”

It’s the dedication of people like Gockley – who discover Mountain Sky thanks to Still Grateful Fest – that have helped the festival become something everyone looks forward to every year.

“I think what has always brought me back each year to perform is the encouragement you feel from the people who attend,” Brigido said. “Whether it is on the main stage or the side stage, the vibe from the audience is always nothing short of uplifting.”

Between the music, the vendors, the crowd, the children, and just the overall vibe, Still Grateful Fest has become one of the best “smaller” festivals to happen in the Scranton region. After years of dedication and hardwork, the crew and volunteers of Mountain Sky are enjoying all the smiling faces that have become more like family than just fans.

We grabbed this video off of youtube, Mike Lehman uploaded it there.

 

” The people,” Towns said when asked what brings him back every year. “So many friends old and new, of all ages and from all walks of life. When we gather for a festival at Mountain Sky it becomes such a great environment that you don’t want to miss out on. And at the core are a solid group of Mountain Sky Family which is ever growing. It’s a great thing to be a part of.”

The next and final event of the year at Mountain Sky will be their annual Halloween Bash, which will take place on October 15.

For more information on Still Grateful Fest and everything else happening at Mountain Sky, visit www.mountainsky.net

 

To Submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.