Thursday, June 23: Day One
From the first moment festival-goers entered Timber Ridge in Windham, VT, the frendly feeling was immediate and overwhelming. Everywhere the eye could see, campers were setting up tents, walking around and looking for long-lost faces they hadn’t seen in what always seems is way too long. The vendor booths were starting to come alive as their first patrons wandered up to grab a drink and some food after the initial moments of the Frendly Gathering 2016 adventure started.
The Frendly Stage kicked off Thursday’s music with the collaboration Zebra Muscle’s first of two sets of the weekend. The impromptu band led by Danny Davis’s roommate, Chris Emmington, was the first to sound the musical alarm, with the help of Twiddle’s drummer, Brook Jordan. Next to come up was Canyon Village, WY-based bluegrass quartet Canyon Collected, followed by the warmest of welcomes from the hosts, Jack Mitrani and Danny Davis – two of the seven founding members of the Frends Crew.
The next two acts to take the stage were breathtakingly full, funky-soul Burlington, VT, natives Smooth Antics and the Van Morrison tribute band Into the Mystic. After more than three hours of action on the Frendly Stage, fans were given a chance to catch their breath. People kicked around the concert field catching up with frends who had arrived a set or two before. Others went back to their campsites to give their dancing feet a rest. However, all knew what was next – Twiddle’s first set of the weekend.
As the clock neared 11 p.m., the excited gatherers climbed partway up the hill to a budding campfire, where the four rising stars of Vermont-based Twiddle, Mihali Savoulidis, Zdenek Parker Gubb, Ryan Dempsey and Brook Jordan, were organizing their respective basic setups for an intimate set. They began with “Lost in the Cold;” a song that has quickly become yet another that fans sing-along to in unison with the lion personified, Mihali. The boys played newer songs, like “White Light” and “Be There,” but were sure to hit other tunes along their timeline like “Hatti’s Jam” into “When It Rains It Pours” and “Frankenfoote” into the first night closer and ever-appropriate “Frends Theme.”
Everyone slowly dispersed heading back to various campsites or to explore this year’s Frendly grounds. The first day of Frendly Gathering 2016 had come to a close. People laid their heads down, and smiles ran across their faces as they were thinking about the day.
Friday, June 24: Day Two
As the sun rose in the small southern Vermont town of Windham, campers awoke to what was assuredly going to be a beautiful day. Most people knew the weather was going to be nice, since they had prepared their camping gear in the previous days for the appropriate conditions, but the anticipation of the day’s beauty came from a source much closer to the heart. After all, it was the beginning of the second day of Frendly Gathering 2016.
The day started as a crowd gathered with their mats in front of the Frendly Stage for Rise and Shine Yoga. Shortly after that, Burlington-based surf band the High Breaks were the first musical act of the day. Following the wave-riding music that helped shake the morning cobwebs off of people’s hips were traditional world-fusion Vermonters Mal Maiz, the first band to take the Wood Stage. Up next was Boston’s alternative folk rock trio Ballroom Thieves at the Burton Teepee.
The day was gaining momentum and was certainly showing no signs of slowing as Twiddle prepared for their second set of the weekend. The resident headliner played on a platform in the middle of a camping area by the pond, situated next to the mountain’s lodge. A crowd of fans, frends and family gathered around as the mid-afternoon set began with “Amydst the Myst” from their latest album, Plump.