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Published: 2007/08/10
by Jeremy Sanchez

Camp Barefoot, The Cove Campground, Gore, VA 7/26-28

The best music festivals are usually great because they’re about more than just
the tapestry of music slamming you from lunch until sometime just before breakfast.
Maybe it’s held in a visually amazing setting, another country or something else
sets it apart. Two years old, Camp Barefoot (named because the festival’s creator
campswellbarefoot!) has a personality that has grown on me.

Sandwiched between the gigantic All Good Music Festival in WV and Floyd Fest in
VA, Camp Barefoot’s bands are currently more reflective of the region than the country’s
jamband staples that tend to land all the slots on all of the other festivals. This
alone makes Camp Barefoot (any homegrown festival, really) a place to be, offering
a chance to hear some of VA’s best in action, with a sprinkle of outlying talent.
The more well-known area (VA and MD) artists included The DJ Williams Projekt and
The Bridge.

Florida’s The Burnin’ Smyrnans’ mix of Latin, Reggae, Rock and Jazz is a sound
familiar to anyone who made it to the first Camp Barefoot and they held solid again
this year; Pennsylvania’s Jazzam slathered their own jazz style.

The headliners (broadly recognized bands) reached geographically farther with The
Breakfast, U-Melt, Garaj Mahal, reggae legends The Itals, RAQ and Barefoot Manner.
Brothers Past was slated to finish out the final night (1:30-3:30), but rain washed
those plans away, along with Barefoot Manner’s planned second set of the gathering.

But beyond the music, what else was there? Without wanting to sound too much like
a brochure, less than 10 miles from WV (as the crow flies) and located behind a
working Boy Scouts of America summer camp, the Cove Campground is understated yet
beautiful. The large on-site lake is a wonderful amenity as are the communal showers,
a convenience not always afforded for free at other festivals.

Finally, possibly the festival’s best asset is that it’s still relatively small and very friendly, with attendance numbers topping off at 1,300 people amidst sketchy weather conditions. As Camp Barefoot ages, its attendance numbers will multiply, as will the scale of the bands performing. Still, experiences like this one prove that festival size doesn’t matter if you go in having decided to make to most of a wonderful weekend amongst festival family.

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