Mountain Jam 2009: Silly Rabbit, Fests are for Kids

After many festivals together, this year’s Mountain Jam was going to be different. This year my wife and I would have a six-month old child with us, our son Harry. As I discussed in an earlier post, we had no idea what to expect.

Mountain Jam 2009 Day 2-8
A beautiful Saturday at Mountain Jam

Well, I am happy to report that the entire weekend was just fantastic. HB seemed to truly enjoy himself at the festival. We put a lot of thought into preparing for this year’s fest, trying to predict what we would need and were definitely prepared. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s the kind of baby that thrives on other people, that loves to interact with others. There was no shortage of other people for him to look at this weekend.

Mountain Jam 2009 Day 3-8
HB, sporting his hearing protection

Of course, traveling with a baby changes things. Just getting out of the bed and breakfast took longer. Once we did leave we wouldn’t just drive over to the festival, but rather took the long way around, ensuring that Harry could get a decent nap in before we hit the fest. A nice benefit of the extra driving was a chance to see the beautiful land around Greene County. Since we were driving HB around, I brought my camera along and was rewarded by some beautiful shots. You’ll find them below this article.

South Street, Greene County

Once we were at Hunter, and had gotten our cartload of gear to our spot, we were able to finally sit down and enjoy the day.
Mountain Jam 2009 Day 3-11Mountain Jam 2009 Day 2-7Day's Camp
Sunday’s Camp, HB and his favorite t-shirt, and Saturday’s camp.

In any other year, at any other festival, I have been one of the 12,000 people attending. Just going about my day, digging the music, enjoying the brews. This year, however, I felt like a rock star. Walking around with a baby on your chest will do that. All of a sudden, everyone I passed was smiling at me (or should I say, us).

Mountain Jam 2009 Day 2-25
HB sleeping while The Hold Steady rage on the main stage.

Okay, but what about the music? This was Mountain Jam, after all! Well, unlike prior years I could not focus on the music first. Friday and Sunday, we left after about an hour of the headliner. Sunday it had gotten way too cold for HB on the mountain (low 30s), and on Friday, the kid had just had enough. Had it been warmer I would have simply laid Harry down on a blanket to sleep, but that was not in the cards this year.

The lineup this year was, as usual, jamband-heavy, which was fine with me. However, my two favorite acts of the weekend could not be described as jambands: Gomez and The Hold Steady. Gomez played a strong, though largely unappreciated set on Saturday followed by The Hold Steady, whose melodic hard rock has made them one of my favorite bands of recent years. That said, it was strange seeing them in sunlight.

The Hold Steady
Craig Finn, The Hold Steady

Unfortunately I made it to the mountain too late on Friday to see much of Porter Batiste Stoltz. However, I was able to catch Tea Leaf Green and Railroad Earth. Railroad Earth’s set was great, the first time I had seen them live.

Tea Leaf Green
Tea Leaf Green, Friday Afternoon

The Mule brought it for two nights, and the Allmans were great on Sunday. Finally, I have to mention Michael Franti who returned for another year on the Mountain and didn’t disappoint.

Sure it was different, but this was one of my favorite festival weekends of any I’ve attended. What a thrill to be able to share our love of the music with our son. More than anything else, I’m glad that he had a good time. No, he wasn’t nearly as happy as I was to see Michael Franti, but for what he can appreciate, the funny guy next to us making him laugh, wind in his hair, being bounced around during Spearhead, watching the fest through his eyes made it all worthwhile.

More shots from our weekend upstate are below. You can find the entire set of photos from the weekend here.
Having a Positive Jam on Hunter Mountain
HB and I sharing a Positive Jam on Hunter Mountain

South Street, Greene County
South Street, Greene County

The Hold Steady
Bobby, The Hold Steady

Ian Ball, Gomez

Sleeping Through Franti
Shhhhhhhh. HB sleeps through Michael Franti and Spearhead

Mountain Jam 2009 Day 2-10
“Who’s got my veggie burrito?”