Magic in the Mountains: Northlands Music and Arts Festival 2024

Article Contributed by Greg Knight | Published on Wednesday, June 19, 2024

As the sun set over New England, a new chapter in festival history was written. The third annual Northlands Music and Arts Festival soared to unprecedented heights, drawing thousands of attendees each day. Nestled in the scenic charm of New England, the festival delivered an exhilarating fusion of music, workshops, food, and artisan goods, all under the guiding ethos: "Enjoy Life, Do Good."

Thursday, June 13th

The festival's heartbeat began its rhythmic throb on Thursday evening at the Campground Stage. Brooklyn’s Brass Queens ignited the night with their brass-fueled energy. Following their lead, Annie in the Water kept spirits high, paving the way for an electrifying finish with a unique, full-band silent disco session featuring NYC's Space Bacon, followed by a set from Connecticut DJ Doey Joey, who kept the party pulsating into the wee hours.

Annie in the Water on the Campground Stage

Friday, June 14th

The festival’s tempo picked up on Friday with sets spanning the Mountain and Echo stages. Charleston's Psycodelics lifted the curtain, followed by sonic journeys from Colorado’s Magic Beans and Rochester’s Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. North Carolina’s Big Something made waves with a spectacular Northlands debut, crowned by a collaboration with artist-at-large Kanika Moore on Nine Inch Nails' "Closer."

As the day unfolded, bluegrass virtuoso Sierra Hull delivered a spellbinding performance. Spafford's mesmerizing set featured guest guitarist Mike Gantzer, seamlessly weaving new sonic tapestries. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong lit up the stage next, with a standout cover of The Beatles’ "Come Together" featuring Rob Compa and Kanika Moore.

The crescendo of Friday arrived as Goose took the stage delivering a sublime two-set show as the sunset provided a picturesque backdrop. Their eclectic mix of classics, fresh tracks, and a rousing cover of The Who’s "Eminence Front" left the audience in awe. The night wrapped up with Vermont's bluegrass outfit Jatoba on the festival’s new installation in the campground, The Barnyard Stage, followed by another round of full-band silent disco magic from NYC’s Escaper. Notably, Friday's event officially sold out, underscoring the festival's growing allure.

Nick MacDaniels (Big Something) and Artist-At-Large Kanika Moore. Photo: Adam Berta

Saturday, June 15th

Saturday dawned with a VIP panel hosted by Rolling Stone writer Garret K. Woodward. The "Coffee and Jam" session featured insights from Sammi Garrett, Greg Sanderson, and Chris Brouwers - all members of funk powerhouse Cool Cool Cool, Northlands' publicist Greg Knight, artist-at-large Kanika Moore, and Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck.

Musical acts kicked off with Cool Cool Cool, followed by the all-female collective Super Sonic Shorties, led by dynamic drummer Nikki Glaspie. NY-based TAUK delivered a standout set brimming with guest appearances, including Eric Krasno and Kanika Moore. Fan favorites Mihali and Dopapod followed, with Dopapod’s rendition of Childish Gambino's "Redbone" striking a particularly resonant chord.

Mihali at Northlands 2024. Photo: Dave DeCrescente

Andy Frasco and the U.N. brought their signature fire, with a parade of guest artists fueling the flames. Eric Krasno and Friends offered an unforgettable set, joined by talents like Natalie Cressman, Jen Hartswick, Nikki Glaspie, and Nate Edgar. Additional guests Mihali and Paul Hoffman added to the magic.

The grand finale belonged to Greensky Bluegrass, whose two-set performance featured sit-ins from Kanika Moore, Eric Krasno, and Andy Frasco, ensuring the mainstage festivities ended on a jubilant note. The evening closed with another Barnyard Stage performance from Jatoba, followed by a high-octane silent disco set from DIZGO.

"This year's lineup was perfect for artistic collaboration and guest sit-ins,” said festival co-owner and talent buyer Seth McNally. “So many sets were a blend of talent and creativity, where musicians came together to create something truly magical.  It was an amazing thing to witness and experience, and a major factor in creating those palpable vibes we were all feeling.”

Greensky Bluegrass. Photo: Jesse Faatz

The charm of Northlands lies not just in its diverse lineup but in its vibrant community. Performers feel at home in Swanzey, creating an environment ripe for spontaneous collaborations and unforgettable musical moments. This dynamic is fueled by the enthusiastic patrons who persevere day and night, fostering an incredible vibe that permeates the festival grounds. Music fans of all ages joined in on the fun, as evidenced by a jam-packed family camping area and droves of attendees enjoying programming for children.

In addition to the stellar music lineup, Northlands also offered a range of wellness workshops, including Yoga, Zumba, Mindfulness, Numerology, Healing Sound, and Survivalist 101. These sessions provided attendees with opportunities to relax, rejuvenate, and explore new dimensions of well-being.

“We’re so grateful for the tireless efforts of our staff, volunteers and everyone behind the scenes,” said co-producer Jen Meyerhardt. “Their dedication allowed us all to immerse ourselves in the music and the moment. They are the true heroes of our fest.”

Beyond music and activities, Northlands featured a wide-ranging selection of food and artisan crafts from both local businesses and touring vendors. Among the weekend’s incredible selections was a standout installation from Tin Cup Whiskey. Attendees enjoyed complimentary tastings, free branded gear, and exquisite whiskey cocktails, adding a sophisticated touch to the festival atmosphere.

“Our vendors and partners rocked!” added festival director and co-owner Mike Chadinha. “With tasty food trucks, craft cocktails and amazing crafts, they rounded out the fest nicely and made sure there was a little something for everyone.”

The 2024 Northlands Music and Arts Festival transcended expectations, blending perfect weather, stellar performances, and a vibrant community atmosphere. This year's event has set a new benchmark, and the echoes of its success will resonate until we gather again next year. Stay tuned for more updates and join us once more for another marvelous experience. Until then, keep the music alive!