There's something magical and intimate about small festivals. It feels like you're one of the few people invited to a really amazing party in the woods. There's a much bigger sense of community in a space so small, and the connections you develop with others can be much more significant than what is possible at larger festivals full of hustle and bustle. Groverfest fit this description to a T in its 10th year.
We arrived just before noon on Friday to find a wide open field ringed with tents and food trucks with two stages at the far end. The festival took place on the gorgeous Moon Lake Vineyards, where rows of grape vines and woodland provided a beautiful backdrop for the event. We were fortunate enough to have a vending spot this year, so we set up our little general store under a huge vendors' tent at the edge of the property.
The weekend was full of awesome music, friendly people, and a surprising number of families. One festival-goer spent the afternoons weaving fields of bubbles for kids to chase!
This was very much a family event. With the number of kids running around, there was a real village-like atmosphere rather than it just being a big party. Between floating bubbles everywhere, music at all hours of the day, and a mobile laser tag setup, the kids had plenty to keep them busy! And yes, I was jealous of the laser tag.
As far as the music is concerned, we were rocking at our booth all weekend. It was a really cool blend of reggae, psychedelic, folk, funk, hip-hop, bluegrass, and rock. Everything, really - but it worked together so well that you couldn't possibly say "I'm not into this kind of stuff." Getting into the late night it got more experimental with Yesterday's Gravy closing out Saturday night in a weirdly funky way. Below is a shot of The Goodnight Brothers chilling after their set!
As awesome as the music was, it was really a backdrop for a lot of the other beautiful things going on at the festival including amazing art in a variety of styles. Click on the photos below for a link to each artist's page.
The culinary arts were present at Groverfest too - One Love Cafe and Wake & Bacon both served up awesome dishes. The former specialized in mini donuts made on the spot, thai noodles, and fresh burgers. The latter served up amazing Philly subs, paninis, all-day breakfast, and of course, bacon. We are happy to say we got a good sampling of the menu from both and it was delicious across the board.
On top of everything else, Groverfest was well-organized. Some festivals suffer from a lack of direction in their pursuit of soul, but Groverfest had plenty of both. Musicians were able to set up on two stages, so as soon as one set ended the other set began. This setup kept the music going all weekend without a hiccup - lots of other small fests put on a DJ for the interim between bands or have a funnyman take the stage. The venue was also plenty large enough to accommodate everyone with room to romp. And to top it off, security was present without being too noticeable.
Lastly, we'd like to give a special mention to gear that kept us safe and sane. We brought along a Choetech 19W Solar Charger to keep our battery pack and devices going for the weekend, and it performed beautifully. It charged up a Jackery Giant battery pack with a day's sunlight, and the charge from that kept us going for the rest of the festival.
We also had a Eureka BackCountry 2 tent. This little 2-person backpacking tent was our backup, but it fit perfectly in the little space behind our booth. It was just big enough for a full-size air mattress and the wind flaps let in a soothing breeze. It looks like this model isn't available anymore, but the Eureka Midori 2 Tent looks similar.
We wholeheartedly recommend that you make the trip to Groverfest next year. Hopefully we'll see you there!