Mountain Jam: Then vs. Now
As a Rock Girl, I've been working in music since long before I joined the Q103 crew. That includes working the first ever Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain, way back in 2005. Over 13 years of the festival, things have changed, and it's amazing to be able to attend and just see how huge the festival has become. What started as a way to celebrate the anniversary of a local radio station has now become a phenomenal, musical, interactive experience over four days with everything from jam bands to classic rock. From working the first Mountain Jam ever, where the bugs and kinks were still in place, to now, here's some of the awesome changes that I've noticed over the years!
One of the most key elements for a festival: bathroom access. It sounds silly, but seriously! Who wants to go to a festival where you have to walk a heck ton of distance and miss half of a band's set waiting on the long line for one of the 10 port o'potties. Mountain Jam has it down- lodge bathrooms, and tons of port o'potties located right behind the lit up trees, next to the hill, so you barely miss any of the live music. I didn't have to wait on one line and it was amazing.
The genre of Mountain Jam has definitely changed over the years. What started in 2005 with a lineup of Gov't Mule and Medeski, Martin, & Wood has now given way to a hybrid of jam music, alt rock, and classic rock. This year, Friday night saw the likes of String Cheese Incident and The Head and The Heart, while the weekend was filled with evenings of classic rock power houses like Tom Petty, Peter Frampton, and Steve Miller. Late nights were filled with music going until the wee hours of the morning, tailoring to multiple music genre fans, not just one. Old lineups can be found at the Mountain Jam website.
What started as a festival with a few vendors has turned into an interactive experience. And let me tell you, there was no shortage of my interaction with food. With food vendors along the base of the lodge, and lining the mountain, I never waited on a line. I ate everything from kettle corn to ethnic food, fair food to gourmet food. There was handmade lemonade, stands giving out liquor samples, and over 8 bars spread around the mountain to make it easy to access drinks. As Mountain Jam has grown, they've adjusted to not only accommodate the crowds but give tons of options and ease of access as well.
Park at the mountain and walk in, just like in ski season? Nope. But thats ok, because there are now tons of parking options, from VIP areas to free lots with constant shuttles. Plus, locals have hopped on the parking game, and towns and businesses near the base of the mountain were offering parking for reasonable prices. I left and came back right before Tom Petty, and had no trouble finding a spot!
The first year I worked Mountain Jam, in 2005, I was with a totally different crew and company. And being there with Q Crew members Candace and Tigman- total upgrade! It was awesome to be on site, and seeing all of the awesome rock fans!!