Strangefolk’s Garden of Eden takes place this weekend in Jay, VT at Stateside Amphitheater, bringing back to Vermont the original festival that was spawned 20 years ago on nearly the same weekend. The Vermont foursome have teamed up with Percy Hill and Assembly of Dust for two days of music amid an idyllic setting that provides incredible views and sound in a remote location that encourages a weekend trek to the site.
Guitarist/Singer Jon Trafton spoke to NYS Music about his thoughts on the 20th anniversary event, the return to Eden, and what fans can expect from the weekend:
“This upcoming Eden festival at Jay Peak is the 20th anniversary – almost to the date – of the first one we did. What’s cool about it is that Jay Peak is about 20 miles down the road from the original site, in Eden, VT. So, twenty years later we come nearly full circle.
I’ve been spending a lot of time revisiting the Eden shows, checking out what we played, looking at pictures, getting back into that mindset. The early Edens were so free and easy and under the radar. They were more like a big party we threw for our friends and fans.
I remember at the first Eden it struck me that we had something bigger than ourselves happening. There was a group of 600 or so people who trekked into the middle of Vermont to be together and celebrate with us. We were just a part of it, maybe a catalyst but not necessarily the focus. It had a life of its own. That has always stuck with me. So many of those people have remained friends and we’ve all grown up together. I know a lot of them will be at Jay Peak, so going into it feels like a family affair.
It’s been fun looking back on those years. They seem so long ago and not long ago at all. I’m looking forward to this upcoming one and hopefully we can re-launch the Eden annual tradition.”
Enjoy a compilation from nugs.net of past Garden of Eden shows, a perfect compliment to the road trip to Northern Vermont.
Schedule of Music
The music starts on Friday at 7pm with Percy Hill, followed by two sets of Strangefolk. On Saturday, fans have a wide variety of music and events to choose from. The VIP Strangefolk set takes place at noon, as well as a free performance by Dead Sessions, celebrating the August West Festival, with free Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and more throughout the day. There is also hiking, golfing, mountain biking and much more that Jay Peak has to offer, including the indoor water park! The music gets started at 7pm on Saturday once again with Percy Hill, followed by two more sets of Strangefolk, and at midnight, Assembly of Dust performs at Bullwheel Bar right next to Stateside Amphitheater until 2am.
Strangefolk formed in 1991 and began holding the Garden of Eden festival in 1996 in Eden Mills, Vermont. The festival was also held in subsequent years in Plattsburgh, various locations in Vermont, and Greenfield, Massachusetts, the latter morphing into the StrangeCreek Campout which continues to this day.
Strangefolk took a hit in 2000 when band founding member and guitarist Reid Genauer left to pursue a graduate degree. The founding members of the band joined forces again as Strangefolk Reunion in 2012 and continue to play shows each year.
While the Garden of Eden hasn’t been held since 2006, when Strangefolk played the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival in Burlington in 2013, they called the performance “Edge of Eden” as a hat tip to the fest.