Seedstock: a festival large enough for plentiful, diverse music, but small enough for free parking. Nestled on the hilltop of Reed’s Seed’s farmland, locals of all ages celebrated Seedstock’s ninth installation. Though the festival got rained out on Friday, all scheduled artists besides Sophisafunk were able to perform. Jessica Brown of Root Shock’s vocals echoed from front stage, her hands moving as she sang like she could see the notes in front of her. In both Root Shock’s and Mosaic Foundation’s performances, the artists paused to reflect on the unifying nature of music. They remarked on its ability to make people stray from their usual routine and come together for a weekend of celebration.
This theme continued into Saturday, where all-star performers backdropped new bands with incredible potential. TANKSLEY, a young rock and soul band from Syracuse, played a set of smooth vocal riffs and funky trumpet breakdowns. This is the first of many musical years for the up and coming band who are likely to return on a bigger stage. While TANKSLEY played their first Seedstock show, The Unknown Woodsmen and Digger Jones played their ninth. Digger Jones, comprised of Stiv Morgan, Chris Merkley, and Chad J Dean closed Saturday night with an epic version of “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles. And they did have help—Gabe Cummins joined on guitar and Zac Doob on keyboard, and choir of fellow Seedstock performers even came on stage for backup vocals, purple robes and all. That night, magic happened in Chris Merkley’s backyard in little Cortland, New York.
Though the festival was scheduled to end around 4:00 pm on Sunday, Sophisafunk agreed to resurrect their lost Friday night set and close the day. Traditionally late night performers, they confessed being pleasantly surprised, and eventually lucky, to perform this Sunday show. The whole set played like an intimate dance party as seated attendees slowly rose from the lawn and grew closer to the stage. By the end of the show, every child at Seedstock Music Festival was on that stage grooving with Sophisafunk. Frontman Jack Brown called them the “seedlings” of our next generation—the real change makers.
Seedstock has stayed true to its original goal—to throw a fun, safe party and listen to great music. Now, Seedstock breaks the barrier between performer and audience. Though you might sit in a lawn chair casually watching a set performed on a back porch stage, the artists still create rock star atmosphere. Yet the moment their set is done, most performers shuffle right off the stage and into the crowd to support their fellow musicians. The respect that circulates between both performers and attendees is immensely obvious, keeping Seedstock a festival true to its roots.
Digger Jones and friends perform “With A Little Help from My Friends”
Seedstock’s seedlings making their debut performance