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Festival Beat

Published: 2006/09/15
by Mike Greenhaus

5 Questions: Down on the Farm

Fall is almost here, but festival season is far from over. From November 10-12, the Down on the Farm Festival will take place at the Spanish Moss Farm in Quincy, Florida. The Aquarium Rescue Unit, Drive-By Truckers, Perpetual Groove, MOFRO, Tishamingo, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Karl Denson Trio, PBS current New Groove of the Month The Avett Brothers, Tea Leaf Green and New Monsoon are among the artists scheduled to perform. Below, festival promoter Sarah L. McCoy answers five questions *Can you recount one of your favorite festival memories? *

One of my favorite festival memories was at the All Good Music Festival at Big Stone Gap in West Virginia. I was living in DC at the time and drove through heavy traffic to make it in time for Leftover Salmon, but missed the show. Long story short, toward the end of the night, my friend Jen and I were walking around and we went toward the main stage to check things out. We heard music and walked closer to see where it was coming from. Realizing it was coming from behind the stage, backstage, we tiptoed around, cautiously, not wanting to be intrusive. What we found was a good old fashioned pickin’ session, candle lit, with the sound of angels. We stood there for a moment, listening, watching. Then Drew Emmitt looked up and gave us a nod, saying, ‘Come on in, it’s okay.’ We went in, were greeted by nice warm smiles, and sat down. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Later that night, Drew, the late Mark Vann, and others sat around singing and laughing and drinking. I made some great friends. It was one of those nights you just can’t plan for. Magic. I think it was two years later that Mark passed away from cancer. I’m thankful for that night. *What act are you personally most excited for at Down on the Farm? *
Drive-By Truckers. They’re gonna love the farm and feel right at home. *Do you have any tips for fans? *
We want folks who come to the farm to understand our mission which is based on music, art, and philanthropy. We want folks to feel like they are really part of the Spanish Moss extended family, and understand how much their role makes a difference in our continued success, whether it’s buying tickets, becoming members of the Spanish Moss Foundation, telling others about their personal experience with us and about the good philanthropic work we are doing and how together we are making a difference, picking up cigarette butts and other trash to help us so that we will always be welcome back at this special place, helping others to understand festival culture keeping it a happy, safe place where we can all get together and appreciate the best music around. *How has Down on the Farm changed over the past few years? *
We’ve grown in numbers, but not too much too soon. We don’t ever want to get too big for our britches, so to speak. Hopefully we’ve improved on many levels since DOTF I. It’s all a huge learning process.
What makes Down on the Farm different from other music festivals?
Each festival is different, which is what makes each one special. Spanish Moss is about philanthropy. That’s what drives us. The music comes naturally. Our venue is truly magical, and folks seem to fall in love with it more each time they come. That’s what we want.

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