It is almost time to pack up the camping gear and head to Southern Vermont for the fifth annual Frendly Gathering, taking place June 26th and 27th. Set in the beautiful Green Mountains at Timber Ridge Resort in Windham, Vermont, this homegrown gathering has become one of New England’s premier festivals. Founders, best frends and professional snowboarders Jack Mitrani and Danny Davis have created a safe, interactive, and most of all, frendly environment to enjoy a weekend of music, camping, yoga, skateboarding and delicious food.
The event got its start when Jack and Danny decided they wanted to throw a small festival with bands known and unknown in their home state of Vermont. With the motto, “there is no ‘I’ in Frends,” they hatched the Frendly Gathering. With a desire to create an intimate, easy-to-navigate festival, ticket sales are capped each year to ensure short lines and the opportunity to be front row for your favorite bands.
Vermont natives Twiddle have been the heart and soul of the Frendly Gathering since its birth, and continue to be the backbone in the festival’s fifth year. Twiddle will be headlining this year’s festival alongside the inspirational international music of Nahko & Medicine For The People. There is a little something for everyone in the lineup, with heavy-hitters Kung Fu and Turkuaz joining the ranks. But that is just a small taste of what this small, yet powerful festival has in store. Canadian multi-instrumentalist Mac DeMarco and singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Valerie June will also be jumping on stage. Other artists include Rob Garza (Thievery Corporation), Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band, Moon Hooch, lespecial, Dead Set and Spirit Family Reunion, to name a few.
Multi-day passes are available, as well as early-arrival passes for Thursday, for festival-goers who would like to set up camp in a prime location. There is a wide array of camping, from RV/car camping to luxury cabins for rent that are fully stocked and extremely convenient for a comfortable festival experience. A new feature this year also includes renting a campsite which is fully put together for you, so no need to fiddle around with tent poles.
Another theme at Frendly Gathering is the power of giving back. Jack and Danny’s “Frendly Crew” pride themselves on supporting each other through the ups, and most importantly, the downs. Through injuries and setbacks, the crew has managed to lift each other up though the power of positive thinking and friendship. When professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce was training for the Olympic Trials, he suffered a traumatic brain injury putting a stop to his dreams of becoming an Olympic snowboarder. Since the injury, the Frendly Crew has supported Kevin tremendously, while shedding light on how much an injury can effect the lives of others. Kevin is now a Sports Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society and an advocate for education and research on traumatic brain injuries. Love Your Brain is an organization which was born from Kevin’s story. It is a non profit organization aimed at “connecting, educating, and empowering people to prevent brain injury, support brain injury recovery and most importantly promote a brain healthy lifestyle.” Love Your Brain will be in full effect at Frendly Gathering, so be sure to stop by their tent and be a part of this amazing cause.
Another charitable organization was created this year called the White Light Foundation, which was conceived about six months ago. The idea grew from a group of like-minded Twiddle fans with charitable intentions who wanted to better serve their community. Their positive energy and gigantic hearts were the base of something bigger, starting with a fundraiser spearheaded by Jay Segal with the goal of collecting clothing, toys and supplies for a Head Start school in New Haven, Connecticut. Since then, with the blessing of Twiddle (since the organization’s name is a Twiddle song title), the idea has grown and will be officially launched at this year’s Gathering, with Jay and Steven Periah at the helm. The foundation will be auctioning off items during the festival, with proceeds being donated to charitable organizations like Kurn Hattin Homes for Children and Love Your Brain. Be sure to visit their Facebook page to see some items already up for auction, and to see what else they will be doing at the festival.
For more information and tickets visit www.FrendlyGathering.com. There, you can also check out Jack and Danny’s web series called “Following Frendly” which documents their adventures leading up to Frendly, including some of their snowboarding escapades and the work that goes into building a festival. NYS Music will be on site to give you recaps of the day, and a full festival review after the dust settles.