The Great Blue Heron, more widely known for their annual festival over the Fourth of July weekend, played host to the third annual Night Lights Fall Music Festival September 13th and 14th. The sprawling acreage nestled in the Amish countryside of Western New York, was transformed into an interactive playground, tucking light displays along the wooded pathways, adding depth and interest to the already full weekend of music.
Over two dozen bands, many hailing from or with roots in Central and Western New York, drew a large local fan base and with that a community atmosphere missing at many larger festivals. The festival grounds and camping areas were full of surprises; drum circles, pop up campfires, jam sessions, and plenty of folks looking for adventures. Nationally touring bands The Heavy Pets, Jimkata and Marco Benevento provided a punch of energy to the already excited crowds, and more regional acts, Aqueous, Space Junk, Lazlo Hollyfeld, The Manhattan Project and Schleigho gave performances not easily forgotten.
The two stages kept music running at a steady pace, a credit to the hard-working volunteers, lighting folks, and sound techs, allowing for little lapse between acts. Set far enough apart, the walk to and from each stage gave the audience the opportunity to wander through the lighting displays. The participation of the observer whether it be playing a drum, or simply watching the bonfire as it flickered and grew, was essential to the overall experience. Night Lights Fall Music Festival with its multifaceted entertainment, peaceful and well-organized camping and clean and friendly atmosphere should be on everyone’s fall festival schedule.