The Black Bear Americana Music Fest is returning to Goshen Oct. 8-10 after a year off due to the pandemic.
Beth Murphy, one of the festival’s four organizers, said they’re excited to celebrate music once again at the Goshen Fair Grounds.
“There’s such a huge difference between a concert and a music festival,” Murphy said. “There’s so much more music that you get to hear. You get to open up your world to a whole new genre of music and different musicians. It’s a freer feeling. You aren’t confined to a seat. You can meet new people. You have a chance to meet musicians. It’s a much more intimate feeling at a festival.”
While this is only the third year of the music festival, Murphy said they’ve already developed a loyal fanbase, who kept their tickets from last year’s canceled event.
“The excitement is growing with our attendees,” Murphy said. “People are just really ready. Festival people kind of get it. They become extremely loyal to the festivals they attend.”
Each year, the festival also attracts newcomers, who Murphy hopes become regulars.
“There’s people who are finding out how awesome it is,” Murphy said. “In the northwest corner of Connecticut there just aren’t that many festivals. We have a lot of people who come once and then are hooked.”
Murphy said a few of her musical highlights this year include Uprooted, a band that features Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root. She’s also looking forward to Victor Wainwright and the Lustre Kings. In all, they have around 45 acts booked for the weekend.
“We’re an Americana music fest,” Murphy said. “Most of the festivals around this area are bluegrass. Americana opens the door for more various types of music.”
She’s also excited that local bands, including Litchfield’s own Wires and Wood. She said these kinds of artists need support now more than ever.
“We were missing,” Murphy said of the pandemic. “The whole universe was. Particularly musicians who weren’t making any money. They obviously love playing more than money. Hence all these virtual events, but they can’t just replace being there.”
Murphy said a feature they’re proud of is that they have a smaller stage attached to the main stage that some of the acts not as well known get to play on while the main stage is being prepped for the next act.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for relatively unknown musicians to strut their stuff,” Murphy said.
The festival also offers the unique option to camp there for the entire weekend, either in an RV or a tent.
“You can live there for four days, which is even more of a cool thing, because at night when the music stops, people bring their own instruments,” Murphy said. “We have a jam tent. People sit at campsites and they jam together. There’s a lot of bonding opportunities to find like-minded people. The stress of everyday life and the negativity goes away. You’re in a magical place where it’s nothing but good vibes and great people. You’re removed from the life.”
Guests can also look out for workshops, food vendors, a beer garden, arts and craft vendors and nonprofits sharing their organization’s work.
“It’s a feeling of community and family and helping one another,” Murphy said about the weekend. “That’s an important part of us sharing and giving back.”