6 Festivals to Play in 2016
I hit 6 music festivals in Connecticut in 2015, most of which support local and emerging talent. A couple include regional or national acts. Of course, there are more than 6 festivals to play in the area. These are just my observations from attending and assisting in stage management at several of them. If you’ve subscribed to my newsletter, I’ll send you a list of 10 more music festivals in Connecticut. So make sure you’ve signed up at www.bluecranemusic.com, keep an eye out for my newsletter, and then start booking your band at more festivals in 2016!
Here’s the scoop on the first six.
Middletown Music Festival – In it’s fourth year in 2015, this festival expanded to 2 days in August. There are two stages, a main stage and an acoustic stage, with no overlap in stage set times so the musicians aren’t competing with each other. It’s entirely CT artists with headliners such as the Balkun Brothers. There is a modest amount of vendors, food trucks, and kids activities, so the main focus is on the music. Much of the talent on the acoustic stage was discovered at local open mics and coffee shops by the promoter, J-Cherry. Beautiful grounds at Middlesex College. https://www.facebook.com/middletownmusicfestival/
Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival – A nationally recognized festival going on 20 years, held for four days each year in August in Hebron. The main stage is entirely traditional bluegrass, and national acts. There is a songwriter and band competition for the main stage (again, bluegrass style), which drew entrants from as far away as Norway. 2015 was the first year with an additional acoustic/americana stage which was all CT artists, including an On Deck Sound Studio showcase on Thursday night. The set times were overlapping with main stage, and it was a far walk between stages, so not an ideal setup for year one. But an improved setup is in the works for 2016 to allow more listeners to see the second stage. This festival has RV camping right inside the fest, plus workshops, activities, vendors, and impromptu picking circles. http://podunkbluegrass.com/
Glastonbury Apple Harvest Festival – Sponsored by the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce and one of the biggest music festivals in Connecticut, this 3 day festival in October with 3 stages of music, vendors, carnival rides, food, and an outdoor pub area draws well over 10,000 visitors. There is talk of a fourth stage in 2016. All musicians performing are local to Connecticut. There is a diverse mix of genres, and a nice balance between singer-songwriters and bands. One of the best opportunities for a musician in CT to reach a big audience, although you are competing for attention with the big rides and large food and merchandise vendor areas. Fortunately, the stage set times are staggered so that you aren’t competing with another band during your set. All 3 stages are within easy walking distance of each other, allowing people to catch as much music as possible. http://www.crvchamber.org/apple-harvest-festival
Connecticut Folk Festival – In Edgerton Park New Haven, this one day festival is combined with a Green Expo. Held on the Saturday following Labor Day, there is no admission, which is a feat given some bigger name touring acts that the festival hosts. One music stage features folk and bluegrass music, and there is a separate contra-dancing area. For Connecticut (or any other) artists looking to get into the festival, there are two competitions you can submit to. One is a video submission which could get you into a live talent competition for finalists. The other is a songwriting submission. Both contests bring in talent from all over the Northeast. As far as I could tell, only one of the acts in the 2015 festival was based out of Connecticut. http://ctfolk.com/events/
Fuse Fest – A first year festival in Torrington held for one day in August brought in 13 acts from all over Connecticut, split onto a main stage for bands such as Violent Mae and an acoustic stage for solo and duo acts. In addition to some vendors, foods, and kids activities, the neat thing about this festival was that it was held at Fuessenich Park, which is a small baseball stadium. Want to play a stage on the pitcher’s mound? You can here! http://www.fusefest.info/
Connecticut Farm & Folk Festival – Also put on by Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce, this was a new one day festival in June 2015. The main and acoustic stages were next to each other with staggered set times so attendees could see and hear every act without much needing to move. The theme of farm and local craft vendors and food trucks was a great combination with the folk music. No festival games or kid activities to distract from the Farm & Folk focus. All CT talent. http://www.crvchamber.org/connecticut-farm-folk-festival
There you have 6 music festivals in Connecticut you should consider playing! If you want to find out 10 more festivals in Connecticut, including more options for you indie-rockers, jam bands and folkies, make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter at www.bluecranemusic.com. Also, check out my blog, 8 Ways To Get Into Music Festivals for advice on breaking into festivals.