You can have your Coachellas, your Bonaroos, your Austin City Limits Festivals. And you can swelter with 200,000 other people if you want to, and sit half a mile from the stage and watch a Jumbotron screen and pretend like you're having a musical epiphany.
Me? I'm heading to the hills this weekend for the Nelsonville Arts and Music Festival, a nice, cozy three-day celebration of, well, arts and music, where you can get right up next to the stage and hang out with the musicians afterward if you want to.
That's the Avett Brothers pictured above. They're probably the big-name headliners of the festival (along with Akron/Family and Bettye LaVette). See? I told you. But in my world those folks are some pretty great musicians, and the prospect of seeing them along with a couple dozen more artists who roughly conform to the Alt-country/folk/bluegrass template makes me really happy. There'll be Tommy Ramone, who used to be in The Ramones, playing punk bluegrass. There'll be Southeast Engine, by far my favorite semi-local band, and the best under-the-radar indie rock band I bet you've never heard. There'll be Justin Townes Earle, whose dad Steve did him no favors by dubbing him "Townes" and passing along his last name. But Justin does just great on his own, and I'm looking forward to hearing his old-time honky tonk music.
I'm going to pick up my daughter Rachel at Ohio University, eat some great Indian food (because what's a great country/folk/bluegrass festival without a little Lamb Vindaloo?), and then head up to Nelsonville for some father/daughter bonding time, yee haw. I'm looking forward to it.