Sunday, June 29, 2008
The 2008 Eco-Music-Fest was held last weekend at the Amicalola Deer Park west of Dawsonville. Thanks to Scott Phillips and The Fly Brothers, Mountainfreak.net was given great access to to this annual event featuring over 90 bands performing on 3 stages in a beautiful north Georgia mountain setting. The festival benefits Rainbow Nation (not what you might think it is) and the Amicalola Deer Park, which is a sanctuary for injured and neglected animals. This event provides some of the funding for care and feeding of the animals-Rainbow Nation and their outreach programs work with special needs children by offering a therapeutic setting for the kids to interact with the animals. The park is nestled in a valley adjacent to Amicalola Creek and provides plenty of room for the 3 stages, vendors, parking and a camping area for folks who want to make a weekend of it.
The music, for the most part, was great. I arrived late Saturday morning just as bands were beginning to set up and play on stage 2 (seen above-lower). Bands played sets of around 45 minutes, with the next band up starting to set up to the side of the stage and ready to go. This kept the music almost continuous throughout the day on stage 2. I pretty much camped out at stage 2 most of the day and was impressed by the quality and especially the variety of music. Southern rock covers from the Full Throttle Band-who did a nice job on "American Band", the old Grand Funk Railroad tune.......Blues/rock from the Avery DylanProject..The Planet Riders..Christian alternative sounds from Athens' Scarlet Snow Band..Reggae/Jam from The Green Hit...were just a few of the standout performers throughout the day. We Won't Stop from nearby Cumming, GA brought quite a crowd with them and brought a lot of energy to the afternoon with a heavy metal cover of "Folsom Prison Blues".
As the sun started setting, Stage 1 started cranking up and attracting a larger part of the crowd. I migrated over that way in time to catch The Pennies who put on a great show-very polished band. I went back to the other stage to catch part of the set by DeFaux...then made it back to the main stage in time for Royal Family, a very talented band out of Atlanta.
Having to be in Hiawassee for a BBQ festival the next morning put an earlier end to the evening than I would have liked. I never did catch any of the acts on Stage 3, which I regret, but it's hard to be everywhere inside a 10+ acre venue;-) I thought Eco-Fest 2008 was very well run. The vendors were helpful, the staff was helpful and the bands were all friendly and looked to be having a good time. The crowd was less than I expected. With a venue that could comfortably hold 5000 folks, it was a little disheartening to only see what may have been 1000 to 1500 scattered out over such a large venue. A lot of credit goes out to the bands. Even early in the day when the crowds were sparse, they all played with energy and enthusiasm. I was assured that the festival will be back next year and thereafter-It sure would be nice to cover them up with music fans next year. The musicians and organizers are certainly doing their part.