Follow the Arrow: Marco Benevento’s Celebration of The End Or The Beginning?

Marco Benevento and family held applause for the positive at the cozy single day music festival Follow the Arrow, held at Arrowood Farms Micro Brewery and Distillery in Accord, NY. The full embrace of creative expression combined with an organized yet relaxed atmosphere made for an ideal pre-solstice celebration.

Marco Benevento and Friends – photo by Em Walis

Deciphering The Map

The landscape for live music is changing. Many that have remained sheltered are beginning to emerge. Bigger festivals lure us in with extensive setlists at locations worthy of wanderlust. Despite the inviting notion of clear air and open spaces, logistics like shuttles and multiple stages converge with the perception of crowd density might all just be too much for some at this time. The push and pull of compulsory desire for experience, the reality of life circumstance and anchors which prevent last minute flights. The consolation prize of a livestream. Like many loves in life, our relationship with music we have had and what the evolution might look like can get complicated.

So many rails, so little time – photo by Em Walis

Which Way?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an oracle appear to gently guide in the direction towards a more positive relationship with live music? A figure that shares family values and the importance of grounding might be the answer. There has got to be some all-knowing upbeat individual that knows where to enjoy music that does not require a post-binge sense of shame for kicking responsibilities to the curb in order to experience that one night of euphoric, attention consumption of music; the paralysis of decision.

Marco Benevento – photo by Em Walis

This Way!

Cue Marco Benevento: artist, musician, family man and Hudson Valley resident arriving like cavalry to the rescue on Saturday, June 18. His inaugural “Follow The Arrow” [FTA] festival could not have been more aptly named. Meaning in the name dives far beyond the venue being located at Accord’s Arrowood Farms. Those that followed the arrow were guided to an oasis filled with reminders of all that is valued.

Hudson Valley Kid – photo by Em Walis

Arrowood Farms provided a pseudo-lagoon in the form of a beautiful field filled with delicious beverages brewed and distilled on site. Attendees wearing merchandise featuring geese and goats blended perfectly with the actual chicken coup to the left of the stage quite well. Despite the production of intoxicants, the survival instinct never kicked in that anyone was behaving out of line or taking things too far. One stage, one corral. Security presented with an upbeat, passionate attitude without sacrificing professionalism or sense of safety provided. This presence combined with the ability to see the entire production within one field of view allowed for families to attend with young kids worry-free.

Hudson Valley Serenity

The weather happened to fall on what is jokingly referred to as one of the four days in the year where the Hudson Valley is the best place on earth to enjoy a day outside.

Karina’s hair moving in rhythm with the trees – photo by Em Walis

Karina Rykman brought the energy to the point where it seemed the breeze-swept trees behind the stage rocked out as hard as the crowd.

Cheers for the sun – photo by Em Walis

Dark clouds and afternoon sun mesmerizingly dipped in and out of the crowd at rhythms mimicking the swaying upbeat ambiance pulsing from the stage with Antibalas.

Sunset bubbles – photo by Em Walis

Nature’s light show built up to a colorful golden sunset during Marco’s set. Illuminated bubbles glowed as they floated gently during their precious and short lifespan. These micro crystal balls provided a reminder of how delicate these precious moments are, and those we experience them with can be.

Coat game strong – photo by Em Walis

Royal Potato Family

The well-established culture surrounding FTA and the Royal Potato Family (RPF) record label lived in the details. Expressive up-cycled fashions worn; accessorized by jewelry that held a story. Excellent coats appeared as the temperatures dropped.

Family values by Em Walis

The Benevento family band hosted three generations. While The Slip played, the drummers son could be seen with drumsticks standing behind his dad, rocking out. Most importantly, as the day progressed, chosen family members made appearances on stage, as well as converged in the crowd.

Hudson Valley Kids Pt. 2 – photo by Em Walis

Quintessential “Hudson Valley kids” held a space in such a way that can only exist when New York City influences a worldview , outlook and attitude earlier than most. The atmosphere was family friendly without sacrifice of artistry or musicality. FTA was a place to celebrate values and emphasize the importance of self expression for generations to come.

Happy to support by Em Walis

Joyful Tokens

Merchandise sold included records, CDs, cassette tapes. Shirts screen printed and produced at home by Marco’s wife were the big hit. The only top obviously showing Marco’s name is one that started boldly, “Who The Fuck Is Marco Benevento?” This spoke to the low key tip of the hat that will occur out in the world between those that know. In true pseudo-sibling satirical spirit, harpist Mikaela Davis proudly displayed her “Who the Pluck is Mikaela Davis?” shirt right next to Marco’s after her beautiful set entranced us all.

One for my head – photo by Em Walis

The love and support not only felt, but shown by attendees spoke volumes for the relationship RPF has with those involved. The merchandise was reasonably priced and attendees were cleaning house by acquiring three and four shirts at a time, returning for more later and after the show being sure to leave with a stack of records. It was clear that everyone not only wanted to support, but celebrate.

A little helop from friends – photo by Em Walis

Arrow Explorations

Target identified. Aim set. Redirecting an arrow after it has been released would be a tall order. Non-negotiable direction. The relief that comes when deliberation ends and movement begins. Occasionally presenting as a cairn or colored dot on trees and stones, arrows act as trail markers and remind us that we are on the correct path. Arrows scribbled on top of class notes or in books provide emphasis on the important and worthy to be logged as memory. When arrows appear, a sense of calm washes over because scrutiny and sifting of all information can be skipped, time saved and getting to the point of it all arrives quickly.

Moments in time by Em Walis

Bubbles Filled With A Moment In Time

Arguably, and in true RPF spirit, the bubble machine was the ultimate target of the arrow Marco had us follow. To take a moment and appreciate the child-like joy that emerged in attendees of all ages from such a simple sphere held the power to make all of the distress experienced over the last segment in time disappear with a single pop.

Bring the light by Em Walis

Marco Benevento Setlist: At The Show, Dropkick, At The End Or The Beginning, Send It On A Rocket, Intro: The Story Of Fred Short ->Seven Twenty Two ->Walking With Tyrone, The Shape I’m In (The Band), Such A Night, The Real Morning Party, Right Down The Line, The Catskills Stole My Heart, Limbs Of A Pine

For More Check out Marco’s new album Benevento.

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