A:"I've only been with the festival for the past five years, but for the first three, the festival was a one-day event. The first year, we had it on the square in Nelsonville, in front of Stuart's. We had six bands, I think. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was our headliner, and about 750 people came out.
"After three years, it just made sense to do the whole weekend. We had all these vendors and infrastructure in place for one day. Three days didn't seem like that much more. Now, we see about five to six thousand people, plus volunteers, vendors. . . . There are a lot of people every year. It's really growing."
Q:What's the crowd like?
A:"It's a little bit of everybody. Like just about any music festival, you're going to have a lot of young people who want to camp out for three days, drink beer in a field and stand in the sun, but our festival is pretty diverse compared to some others. I went to Pitchfork last summer and spent time with 50 or 60 thousand hipsters in a field, but here you'll see a 60-year-old standing next to a 20-year-old hippie next to a 35-year-old-professional down from Columbus.
"I think that comes from the music. We don't pigeonhole ourselves with the lineup. It's not all jam band. It's not all folk. It's not all indie rock. It's very [NPR] 'World Café' sort of people."
Q:You have a lot of local acts in addition to the national ones. Why is that important?
A:"We have about 52 or 53 artists on the schedule. About 25 of them are from Ohio. Some of them, like Guided By Voices and Jessica Lea Mayfield, are kind of big, but we have a lot of smaller bands, a lot of regional bands. We like to think that our festival is a nice little snapshot of the music of our region and why we like living down here.
"Having those smaller, regional bands at the festival is important to us. I love it when people come up to me and they've got a CD and a T-shirt from some band that's a new favorite."
Q: Is there anybody you're looking forward to seeing?
A:"Quite a few. I'll be checking lots of people out, but I love Guided By Voices. I'm a huge fan, but there's someone like that for me every year. Last year, I had this moment where I just suddenly realized, 'Holy crap. I'm in a field in Nelsonville watching The Flaming Lips.'"
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.