June 5th to June 8th, I drove up to see the festival Mountain Jam. I’ve only been to one other large outdoor concert, and it was a long time ago for one of the Warp Tours. It was hot, crazy, and a lot of music. Parts of that rang true here, but Warp Tour was an altogether different (and much smaller) experience.
Mountain Jam happens in Hunter, NY–right on top of where we were snowboarding not too long ago. In fact, if you squint you might even be able to see snow up at the top of some of the peaks. The festival goes on for 4 days straight. The town of Hunter itself will hold many times the people than it can claim as residents. In fact, in 2012 the United States Census Bureau stated the population was at 497.
But the small size of the town is misleading. Mountain Jam is huge; from the outdoor venue, to the crowd, to the music. There is nothing small town about this event. From miles away, Mountain Jam made known its arrival with a large sign on top of one of the ski slopes, all California Hollywood style.
Some people stayed in the many hotels and spots in town; some paid extra to camp at the event. I was more fortunate, since my boyfriend has a ski-house in the next town over. We made our way there sometime mid-day on Thursday from his main residence in New Jersey, after working for part of the morning. Everywhere you look there were signs of Mountain Jammers: people with dreadlocks, camping chairs, hemp clothing; the old, the young, children, and even dogs.
Thursday was the slow day–if you can call it that, I guess. There were a lot less people than the rest of the weekend would hold, and all the festival workers were a lot more relaxed. My guy and I snuck in two flasks in my bag; they were filled with Kraken spiced rum. Once inside, we made our way through a maze of food and craft vendors to the large stage area. It was situated perfectly so people could sit on the hills, or stand up close near the stage if they’d like. One beer tent was centered 20 feet or so from the stage.
We detoured around, slipping by security that was stopping regular festival folks from going to the camping area, and hiked a bit up the hill to get a better view of the Hollywood-style sign. We were also graced with a better view of the stage and crowd of people. It was a pretty great sight to see.
Mountain Jam has something the poor New Jersey concerts I’ve attended can never claim: an amazing view. With gorgeous blue skies, mountains in the backdrop, and green just about everywhere else to the right and left of you, it’s hard to imagine a better spot to spend all day listening to music and hanging out.
Eventually, we easily found a place to lay down a towel and enjoy the bands currently on. This would become increasingly harder with each day of the festival as more and more people showed up. We would also learn that drinking and going consecutive days to a hot festival tries on your energy and abilities, no matter if you’re only just 30.
From the bands we saw, the highlight was on Sunday. It was the very last band of the night and festival–the Allman Brothers Band. In fact, this show was one of their last 9 shows ever, as they recently announced that guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks would be leaving to focus on their other bands.
The festival ended around 9:45 P.M. EST, and poor Jake had to drive 2 hours back to New Jersey since we both had work Monday. All around it was pretty much a great extended weekend, but now I am looking forward to our trip to Florida Tuesday!