I don’t quite have the festival mentality I used to. I struggle enough seeing four bands in a row let alone a whole day’s worth of acts spread out over a field of tents, overenthusiastic audiences, and all the branding to make your stomach sick. Nevertheless, there is something quaint about the whole experience and if put together with care and a modest touch, it can be nice. I really didn’t expect much at the TERRI Camping & Music Festival. On paper, it felt like a glorified faux camping experience for families and high rollers. And while there was a bit of that to take in – watch brands and wine brands getting you to punch in your info for a free coffee, I was pleasantly surprised at how homey the whole set-up was. Gone were the hordes of security guards; the long bathrooms lines, and the high festival prices.
Instead, it was BYOB (a miracle I know), with plenty of local vendors selling reasonably priced meals to warm up as the temperature dipped. Patrons could wander (or in my case, get lost) through the cornfields behind the site, you could leave your picnic blanket on the same spot for six hours straight while exploring the various stalls of hipster hiking goods or wood knife craving sessions (for reals), and the two stages were only fifty yards apart, timed perfectly so that when one set ended the other began (well almost).
It was a smaller-scale endeavor that catered not to music fans, but that didn’t stop the organizers for curating one hell of a lineup, with some post-rock grooves lay down by Later Islands and SNSOS (whose new lineup is proving rather fruitful), my second day in a row of indie-pop renegade and shapeshifter YangJi, as well as a soulful and funky set from Roscoe, an strange and haunting folk crossed with prog-rock set from Hai Qing, and a delightful children-filled set from breezy indie-pop outfit Peach Illusion, keeping the mood warm even as they freeze on stage. By the time folk singer-songwriter, Dan Taylor was letting the kids help him improvise his set, I was sold (the less said about the Oasis cap to that set the better). Festivals done right are a blast and even having to hitchhike home with a family couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. Props to TERRI for pulling it off.