A Weekend at drumSTRONG Rhythm + Arts Festival
We arrived at Misty Meadows Farm in WeddingtonÂ for Drumstrong at about noon on Saturday to a picture perfect day â€“ 72 and sunny, not a cloud in the sky.Â Even though we were just 25 minutes down Providence Road from Uptown it felt as if we were transported to horse farm in a small New England town. As a Connecticut native raised in a small farm town, I immediately felt right at home.
Thanks to a twitter contest from our friends at WNCW, my plus one and I scored weekend tickets. WNCW, a listener supporter, Triple A public radio station, based out of Isothermal Community College, frequently sponsors local North Carolina music events, and has sponsored Drumstrong for a number of years.
Getting through registration and camping car check was a breeze except for one minor detail, we werenâ€™t aware that beer was not allowed â€“ even in the camping area – and we had just stocked up a coolerâ€™s worth. We hesitantly surrendered our box of treasure and was told it would be untouched until the end of the weekend. No big deal, our mistake.
The main stage area was connected to the drum circle tent by a small corridor of vendors. Among your standard festival-type vendors they had a â€śmake your own drumâ€ť crafting area and spray paint art installation booth for children (and adults!), which seemed to both be a big hit.
I sampled fare from Master Bacon and Gourmet Goobahs, two out of the three food trucks present. Â I giggled a bit when we happened across Master Bacon. It’s painted to resemble an ambulance and says “BACON RESPONSE UNIT” in huge letters. A little ironic if you ask me. There were a couple classics on the menu such as bacon burger and pork rinds but also more inventive items such as a bacon wrapped hotdog and chicken bacon brochettes. We split the Piggy Panini, which came with ham, bacon, smoked gouda, lettuce and tomato. All the ingredients were plentiful and seemed to be very fresh. Paired with a Starr Hill Grateful IPA it was the perfect early evening snack for a beautiful day at a music festival.
Later in the night (too dark for a picture) we tried the Philly Cheese Steak from Gourmet Goombahs. The steak wasnâ€™t shredded like most Phillyâ€™s Iâ€™m used to which was a bit of a disappointed and the steak was a little dry. The hoagie bread roll, however, was fluffy, soft, warm and fantastic.
Even later in the night, after dancing and grooving to one of my favorite bands and headliner for the night, Railroad Earth, I sampled the â€śVeggie Thingâ€ť from the Sugar Shack. From what I remember, this was a huge cheese and veggie quesadilla-type sandwich thing stuffed with broccoli, peppers, spinach, onion, and more veggies. Wasnâ€™t able to snatch a picture of this either, but I recommend sampling if you stumble across Sugar Shack in the future.
The one disappointment of the weekend was the so-called â€śbeer gardenâ€ť which consisted of a small fenced in area to the side of the stage with two beer stands and your choice of PBR, Starr Hill Grateful Pale Ale or Northern Lights IPA. Personally happy that they had both a pale ale and an IPA option, but three beer options, in my opinion, does not warrant a â€śbeer gardenâ€ť. Even worse, beer was not allowed to be taken outside of said beer garden. I assume this was to prevent underage minors from indulging in adult beverages. Oh well, hardly a snag in an otherwise great event.
As I described in my first Drumstrong post last month, Drumstrong is put on each year to raise money for cancer research through a 24 hour-long drum-a-thon. Having never attended Drumstrong or participated in a drum circle, I was unsure of what to expect. Fortunately, the happiness and camaraderie of the group was contagious and I was immediately put at ease. There was a collective energy that resonated from the 20-70 people that were congregated under the tent at any given time and it was apparent in the smiles, laughs, and facial expressions. They also had a video camera and large screen set up with live streams toÂ watch other drum-a-thons that were simultaneously happening from around the world.
Iâ€™m beyond grateful to have been able to be part of such a rewarding experience and am elated to see the Charlotte community continuously embrace Drumstrong for 9 years now. As for the cooler? We did get it back, but empty. I sure hope someone, of age, was able to enjoy it!