Backwoods Pondfest, a staple music festival held just south of Plattsburgh, NY each summer, has announced it will not return in 2017. The festival’s promoters posted on the Pondfest Facebook page:
Hello Backwoods Pondfest family!
Coming off our 10th and best year yet, it’s disheartening for us to have to let you know that we will not be having our 11th Pondfest this coming summer. This was not an easy decision to arrive at, but after much discussion we’ve concluded that we can’t have our beloved festival for a variety of challenging reasons – rather than fight the universe, we’re instead remaining optimistic for what the future holds in years to come.
Many of you have kindly and graciously reminded us year after year that this festival is something special for you and your loved ones, and it truly pains us to have to make this choice. We look forward to making more memories with you, no matter what form in the future they may come. We love you and thank you for making Backwoods Pondfest such a special place for 10 years running.
Backwoods Pondfest was a staple of the summer in the North Country of New York. The festival finds its roots in the 70s and 80s, when Sandy Bazzano held ‘Pondstock’ each summer. Around the turn of the century, SWM Productions produced Pondstock for a few years, and was later resurrected in 2007 when Lowell Wurster of Lucid, Katie Bazzano (Sandy’s daughter), and Chris Boire teamed together to bring the event back under the name Backwoods Pondfest.
Initially held in early September, the festival shifted to August and saw a continually huge turnout from a loyal audience who came for a wide array of music offerings. Lucid performed twice each weekend, serving as host band, and welcoming acts that included Spiritual Rez, Twiddle, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Bernie Worrell, Pork Tornado, Pink Talking Fish, Chali2na, Ryan Montbleau, Assembly of Dust, Melvin Seals and JGB, The Breakfast, Cabinet, Conehead Buddha, plus up and coming bands including Formula 5, Mister F, Capital Zen, Annie in the Water, Hayley Jane and the Primates and many, many more over the 10 years Pondfest brought music to the North Country.
Reflecting on what he will miss the most from the past 10 years of Pondfest, Lowell Wurster replied
After 10 years of Backwoods Pondfest, what I will miss the most is the family. New people come every year, but there are a bunch of people who have come every year or most every year. Some of those people I only see once a year, some of them I see often. But once a year we are all together in the same place, at the same time to worship music and freedom. Pondfest isn’t like other festivals and these people understand that. This is more than a festival: it’s a community, it’s a family, and that is what I will miss most.
Pondfest may be gone for now, but if Pondstock can give rise to Pondfest some 20 years later, perhaps Pondfest will lead to yet another music festival, one that maintains the true feeling, freedom and experience of music festivals not found at larger, corporate events. The empty weekend on early August calendar will be the first time in 10 years we didn’t get lost in the back of the woods, by a pond, at a music festival.