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Music festivals are the best place to fill the mind with great tunes and to discover your next favorite artist. There’s a music festival out there for every type of music lover: Electric Zoo for the electronic music aficionados, Hot 97 Summer Jam Festival for hip-hop fans, Coachella and Bonnaroo for indie rock and pop music enthusiasts, and Vans Warped Tour for the punk/pop punk rockers.
What do all of these festivals have in common? They’re huge and extravagant events, where tickets cost over $100 and everything inside also costs an arm and a leg.
These types of music festivals just aren’t made for all of us.
There are huge crowds of people, which land you miles away from the artists performing on stage. Once inside the festival grounds, nothing is under $20, and there are guys and gals there who are just straight up a-holes and don’t even know the music. These huge festivals can be a lot of fun, but for the real music-appreciator, sometimes the smaller the festival the better!
Boutique music festivals with a smaller budget outshine these huge festivals in a number of ways. For one, they are usually way cheaper. Secondly, there are less people, so more room for activities. Thirdly, the people putting it on (that’s including musicians, event planners, and the crowd that actually attends the festival) are there because they truly love it. They’re not there to be hip, or to say they’ve seen Kanye or Taylor Swift; they’re there to actually listen to music and spend time with friends.
It’s a beautiful thing!
Take Otis Mountain Get Down (OMGD) for example—it’s a three-day camping event with over 30 folk, indie, rock, and punk musicians, affordable local food and merchandise vendors, and tons of outdoor activities that showoff it’s location in the Adirondack Mountains.
You know how much this festival cost? $50! It’s mind-blowingly cheap for a music festival, and that is no joke.
Do you know how much Bonnaroo cost? It’s over $350 and that’s just for general admission. OMGD’s most expensive ticket is only $60, and it’s only the most expensive because those are the tickets you can purchase the week of the event—if you’re planning properly ahead, its only $50 or less.
BTRtoday speaks with OMGD President and Head Director, Zach Allot, and Marketing and Music Production Director, Quillan George to find out more about this small, yet growing music festival.
“There’s a ton of festivals out there and a lot of them are just about getting the biggest name brands to bring in the most people,” Allot says. “I think one of our big goals is to expose people to artists—so it’s like a discovery event.”
Allot’s family owns the property that OMGD happens on. It’s a beautiful spot in Upstate NY, across the lake from Burlington, Vermont. Allot tells us that the property has a history of housing small, yet lovable music festivals. Before OMGD, Allot’s father used to throw a yearly bluegrass music festival—so Allot grew up knowing the ins and outs of conducting such an event.
“I’ve always grown up with that as a part of my life,” Allot explains. “When we started to get interested in doing these types of events, we had this awesome resource to tap into to make it happen.”
OMGD, starting in 2013, is going into it’s fourth year this coming September and it’s bigger than Allot or George could have ever imagined. That being said—they still follow their original ideals and focuses for the festival. Which means they keep the tickets cheap and they bring in new bands for the festival-goers to discover.
George conveys that since bigger festivals focus on bringing bigger acts they’re lineups all turnout quite similar. “They just bring in bands they know will sell tickets and it requires less curating in terms of finding something new,” he states. Which is actually completely true—if you look at the lineups for this year’s Coachella and Bonnaroo, they have many matching artists; for instance, they both have LCD Soundsystem, Chrvches, Ellie Goulding, M83, Halsey, The Chainsmokers, Purity Ring, and many more. If you don’t believe us, go ahead and compare them yourself.
“Instead of supporting people because of their popularity, we’re supporting artists and vendors because of the quality they put out,” George says. He adds that OMGD brings in a lineup that no one else in the country will be matching—it’s a lot of smaller acts that are on the verge of doing big things. To put it simply, George explains, they really just try to book bands that they believe in.
Allot’s favorite part about OMGD is the week before it begins. He explains it’s him and everyone else who helps put together the festival and it ends up being a bunch of friends just hanging out and doing something they’re really passionate about.
OMGD is a wonderful boutique festival that helps spread great music discovery. Better get there while it’s still small, because it’s growing more and more each year. It started with only a few hundred people, and has grown to almost 2,000—still way less than those grossly huge festivals with over 10k people. But who knows–it may reach to that capacity someday.
So make sure to check out smaller music festivals—you won’t regret it! Here are a few boutique festivals in the U.S. going on this year, according to music preferences:
Folk/ Rock’n’Roll: Otis Mountain Get Down in Elizabethtown, NY
Bluegrass: 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival in Chattanooga, TN
DJs & House music: Decibel in Seattle, WA
EDM: Desert Hearts in Apple Valley, CA
Hardcore Punk; This Is Hardcore Festival in Philadelphia, Pa
Hip Hop: Doomtree Zoo in St. Paul, MN
Jazz: Evergreen Jazz Festival in Evergreen, Colorado
Punk/Indie/Experimental: Goldrush in Denver, CO
Punk/ Underground Country music: Muddyroots Festival in Cookeville, TN
Rock’n’Roll/ Indie: Meltasia in the Catskill Mountains, Upstate NY