Held for the first time since 2019 and for the first time in South Kent County, Camp Greensky Festival is set to roll out with Greensky Bluegrass, Little Feat and more. Get the story, check the schedule.
After mowing 80 acres of pasture more than once in preparation for Camp Greensky next weekend, “Farmer John” Crissman broke off his tour of Shagbark Farm in a John Deere Gator on Tuesday to inspect the scene.
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“The vision of these guys never ceases to amaze me,” he said of the Hoxeyville Presents crews transforming his cattle farm into an impressive outdoor concert hall with a massive stage, tents vendors, artist “green rooms”, a spacious campground and more.
When some 3,000 festival-goers descend on Shagbark Farm in Alaska’s Kent County community on Thursday for Camp Greensky’s first celebration in three years, many will have no idea the amount of hurdles of planning, work and logistics needed to create a music festival. from nowhere – or more precisely, to hatch a metamorphosis that transforms meadows and pastures into a striking amphitheater.
For the owner of Crissman Farm, who had dreamed of hosting Camp Greensky since 2017, it was a labor of love getting things ready for the 30+ member Hoxeyville Presents team who are preparing the stage and equipment for the Thursday-Saturday festival featuring Greensky Bluegrass, Little Feat, Sammy Rae, Steve Kimock, Steppin’ In It and more.
“My task all the time is to pick up the brush along the trees, mow and bury the water pipes, then mow and wait for the rain to stop, and mow and then wait for the rain stops and then mows again,” he said, noting that one of his brush hog tractors broke down three times in the process.
Despite this, Crissman is a happy camper, so to speak, as the festival is shaping up beautifully and the weather forecast is more than promising.
“I couldn’t be happier to have them here,” he said. “Things are looking good. We are going to have perfect weather.
CLOSER TO BIG RAPIDS WITH A “RINSE AND REPEAT” VIBE
Greensky Bluegrass is also happy to be back. After canceling 2020’s Camp Greensky, the band responded by playing three nights at Shagbark Farm in July – the perfect tryout for this year’s festival. The festival previously took place in Wellston, northern Michigan, where the Hoxeyville Music Festival takes place every August.
“We originally wanted the event to be closer to Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, and we weren’t lucky enough to find the right location,” said mandolinist Paul Hoffman.
“Now it feels like we have it. We love the Hoxeyville site and being secluded in the woods creates a romantic and magical experience. Shagbark feels that way too, with the convenience of more amenities. There is even still a river near the metro!
For Jake Robinson of Hoxeyville Presents, the festival represents several months of preparation, as well as a more difficult booking situation than ever.
With so many returning bands on tour and so many returning events in 2022, the climate has proven to be much more competitive when it comes to finding and confirming the right bands for Camp Greensky.
But Shagbark Farm proved to be the perfect festival site, he said, calling the facility a ‘rinse and repeat’ operation due to the success of last summer’s three-night run at the farm by Greensky Bluegrass. Camp Greensky will follow much the same plan.
“We really like it,” he said, noting that the festival has added new email subscribers and new fans due to the site being moved to the more populated Grand Rapids area.
Crissman said crews began arriving to set up fencing and tents last week, with finishing touches and final preparations nearing completion.
“It’s been quite a race,” Crissman conceded. “Not only am I excited for the festival, but having Little Feat here on Saturday is as good for me as having The Rolling Stones. I’m really excited to see these guys.
Weekend passes ($75 to $185) and day passes ($25 to $100) are available online here. RV passes are also available.
See coverage of Greensky Bluegrass at Shagbark Farm by Local Spins in 2021 online here, along with coverage of past Hoxeyville music festivals here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Shagbark Farm (starting with Greensky Bluegrass on stage in 2021)