Since returning from F.A.R.M. Fest in Vernon NJ this past weekend, I’ve needed a few days to re-adjust to the banality of regular life after taking part in such an incredible atmosphere for three full days. Everything about this festival, from the artists, the staff, and especially the attendees, were like-minded with giving their all to make this weekend one of the most overall satisfying festival experiences I’ve witnessed in a long time, especially for one taking place on the east coast. Though the festival wasn’t without its hiccups, there were so many amazing reasons why F.A.R.M. Fest was such a rousing success.
F.A.R.M. took place on Rickey Farm in Vernon, NJ, right along the border of New York, but you would not expect that when you took a glance around. Though the festival itself were held on the eponymous farm grounds, it was located just off the Appalachian Trail, surrounding you with mountains and countless trees, making the location truly a sight to behold. It’s very refreshing to stop in awe of nature’s majesty while in the midst of a practically non-stop dance party. Throughout the weekend you wouldn’t be surprised to find a significant portion of the patrons taking nice, refreshing hikes through the various trails, most of which led to a hill overlooking the entire festival, where I took in one of my favorite memories. But while the natural beauty of the location was certainly one of the most memorable aspects, the main festival grounds themselves were very cohesive and easy to make the most of your time there.
With the two main stages less than a hundred yards apart, there was very little sound interference, and the short distance made running between stages very manageable. When night fell, both Good Looks New Yorks’s silent disco and Phunkadelphia’s Funkytown Stage were even closer together, so late night raging was a breeze. There were numerous art installations surrounding the main venue area, including a determined group of attendees who were building an Earthship (a sustainable house made from almost exclusively recycled materials). Conveniently located between the two stages were tons of fantastic vendors as well, selling everything from crystals to clothing (including the epic official F.A.R.M. Fest hat from Grassroots California) to even a device used to blow giant fractal-esque bubbles. This top notch variety allowed F.A.R.M. Fest fans to grab any number of heady souvenirs.
My first inclination of how progressive an experience like F.A.R.M. Fest would be came with the festival’s great selection of established and up and coming artists. The weekend’s music ranged from festival heavyweights Papadosio and EOTO, while also giving prime slots to talented, yet often overlooked artists who are just beginning to make a name for themselves, such as Dynohunter and Space Jesus. Though there were some problems with sound complaints on the last two nights that forced the Funkytown stage to close early, the F.A.R.M. Fest crew worked tirelessly to keep their patrons happy and consistently kept the party going till the sun came up. Take a look at some of my favorite sets HERE.
While the production and performers are what makes any festival happen, it was the fans who came out and really set the tone for what kind of weekend this festival would become. Let me tell you, the fans I encountered at F.A.R.M. Fest were some of the best yet, as walking through the grounds often turned out to be even better than hitting the stages. Everywhere I went over the course of that weekend, I bumped into friends both new and old, and was overjoyed seeing so many groups of people who I know and love intermingle and share in such a beautiful experience.
Whether I was meeting up with the crew at a crowded stage, stumbling across childhood friends in the food line, or making new bonds with former strangers in the forest, spending much valued time with those friends you only see at festivals, I was overcome with such a feeling of belonging. It’s easy to see how almost immediately the attendees rechristened the festival “FAM Fest” Over the whole weekend I don’t remember a single fight, and was constantly being surprised by the kindness of those in the crowd. The experience I had last weekend at Rickey Farm was one I’m going to be hard pressed to forget.
It’s taken me the better part of the week since returning from the magic that was F.A.R.M Fest to re-adjust myself to regular life. Since then, I’ve been at a loss for words trying to translate the rapturous joy I felt over those beautiful three days onto paper, and as hard I try I doubt it will come close to capturing even half of the wonder that took place last weekend. I can’t give enough credit to every one of the artists, production, staff, and volunteers who made this festival what it was to everyone of the beautiful people who were able to share this weekend with me, I just want to say thank you for putting in your part to make this one of the best festivals I’ve ever attended.
Review: Mike Fitz
Photos: Nick Soley