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Going up the country

The Pinestock Music festival

By EA Poorman

Fort Wayne Reader


Have you ever sat watching the famous Woodstock Festival from 1969 and wondered how incredible that would've been? Or how about Woodstock 1999 and wish that could have been erased from human existence? For me, I'd love the music (of the former) but could do without three days of naked hippies and toddlers and all that nasty brown acid.

But the coming together of folks and enjoying music of the times, I could get into that. Not quite three days, but maybe a day of music, food, beer, and a coming together of folks. Well, thanks to some folks in Northeast Indiana, the Pinestock Music Festival near Churubusco, Indiana have got us covered.

Pinestock Music Festival is currently in its third year and is only getting bigger and better. Nicholas Weaver, who co-founded this soon-to-be music festival staple with Nate Norris, says the idea began with two friends sitting around a bonfire, talking about music. “The conversation turned to how the best shows put on by our favorite bands would have been even cooler if all of our friends could have been there with us,” Weaver recounts. “This sparked an idea and we started planning a festival. We wanted it to have some completely unique elements, to be entirely different from any festival we’d ever been to."

Unique and different are definite pluses in music festivals, so how do the folks at Pinestock make this a unique and different experience? "Pinestock has been described as ‘Burning Man meets Woodstock, but with a lumberjack flannel aesthetic,’ which sounds funny at first, but it’s truly the essence we want to capture,” Weaver says. “People come to Pinestock from all over the Midwest to camp out with their friends, drink locally-crafted beers, and listen to great music. National artists come to Pinestock because we offer the opportunity to re-connect with their fans in a more intimate setting and re-create that small show experience they often miss from their early days of touring. Pinestock provides local artists with the chance to perform for larger crowds; something local venues aren’t able to accommodate."

Looking at the list of artists performing this year on September 7 is as unique and different as anything. Left Lane Cruiser, James and the Drifters, The B.E.A.T., Hampshire, Blue Satellite, Maxine Peters, Heaven's Gateway Drugs, Pouncer, Ryan Kerr, Slow Pokes, Rodeo Ruby Love, and a dj set by Heaven's Gateway Drugs' own Josh Elias.

Simply put, an eclectic and cool time is going to be had.

Now, if you're in a band and you're wondering "Hey, my band's pretty cool. We have beards, like breakbeats, and have seen Gimme Shelter a couple times. How can we be considered for a spot in Pinestock 2014?" Well, Nicholas has an answer for you. "There are so many factors that go into the creation of Pinestock’s lineup. We are really focused on talented artists with all levels of buzz. We try to get some regional and national acts that wouldn’t normally make a stop in the area and combine them with some of the great local bands.”

I personally work on booking the bands and I get the same thrill from finding artists I’ve never heard of as I do when I secure a band I love,” Weaver continues. “I definitely want our friends and festival-goers to come out and listen to their favorites, and possibly find new favorites as well. I absolutely encourage bands to submit their press kits and music directly to me by emailing nick@pinestockfestival.com."

Okay, so Nick and his cohorts have the music aspect covered with Pinestock. What else does Pinestock have to offer? Locally-made crafts? Maybe a freakshow? Contortionists? An Amish booth? " We’ve got 20 acres of pine trees and attendees are encouraged to bring their outdoor gear and camp. We’re also honored to have Brava’s Food Truck returning. They debuted at last year’s Pinestock and will celebrate their one-year anniversary with us by serving up crazy delicious hot dogs and some other delicious surprises all day and all night."

Besides the music, one of Pinestock’s big draws is a 35-foot-tall bonfire. Typically they have a stack of 300 wood pallets that gets lit with a flaming arrow — an annual tradition and a huge part of the festival experience, says Weaver. But this year, they’re adding something a little different. “This year, we’ve collaborated with Dan Swartz from Wunderkrammer to find some local artists willing to create sculptures from the wood pallets,” Weaver says. “The sculptures would be displayed during the festival all day and then thrown in the fire after the lighting ceremony. The fire has gotten bigger every year, but we don’t just want to have the area’s largest bonfire; we want to inspire artists in the surrounding communities to help take the fire to the next level in the years to come. We want Pinestock to be an opportunity to showcase not just local music, but other local artists and vendors we believe in. We’re not in this for the community to put Pinestock on the map – Pinestock wants to help put the community on the map."

Being one of the co-founders I wondered if Weaver was especially excited to see any of the artists coming to Pinestock's stage? "Left Lane Cruiser is headlining the festival this year,” Weaver says. “They put on one of the best blues-driven rock ‘n roll shows you'll ever see. Honestly, I’m excited for several of the bands this year because it will be my first time experiencing them live. After last year, we got input from many festival-goers and built the line-up based on their recommendations. We really want this festival to be something the community and attendees have a huge part in. We pride ourselves in knowing that we aren't the only people with good ideas."

It's about time we had some forward-thinking folks wanting to put a real festival together for this area. There's so many great local bands and national artists that would do anything to have a chance to play a stage like this, and Pinestock is well on its way to becoming a festival that is mentioned with the likes of Pitchfork, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and even that over-bloated thing called Lollapalooza. Nicholas Weaver and Nate Norris' idea of a music festival where all their friends were there to enjoy it with them has turned into a reality, thanks to a spot in the woods known as Pinestock.

So is Churubusco, Indiana ready for September 7th? "That’s an excellent question!” Weaver laughs. “Every year when we are putting the festival together, running around town plastering flyers all over Churubusco and surrounding cities, I wonder if we should warn lil’ ol’ Churubusco what’s about to happen. But in all seriousness, we love Churubusco and our sincere hope is that we can bring people, business, and opportunities to the town who wouldn't otherwise think to go there."

Ready or not Churubusco, Pinestock will be at your doorstep on September 7th.

For more info — including a full concert line-up, tickets, and directions — go to pinestockfestival.com



Left Lane Cruiser
This whiskey fueled two-man frenzy of blues-driven rock’n’roll noise straight from Fort Wayne, Indiana promise to hit you like a shock wave and show you a foot-stompin’ good time. Left Lane Cruiser is comprised of Joe Evans on slide guitar and vocals with Brenn Beck on one big-ass bass drum, harmonica and a toolbox full of percussive gear.

James and the Drifters
Community-minded alt. country-rock band that desired to spread hope through their music. James and the Drifters perform original songs with lyrical depth and hi-energy performance that engages every audience member welcoming them into the positive energy and hopefulness that lifts the songs and moves their legs.

The B.E.A.T.
The B.E.A.T. claim residency in South Bend, IN. They came together through a common love of music. United as one, they are B.EAST, ELROY, ARTEMIS, & TOGETHER they aim for world domination. Eschewing over produced ear candy, this band creates live loops & effects to connect stellar musicianship with great emceeing: the way it should be done! Their hypnotic sound & captivating live performances are enough to sway any audience to agree that they have something special going on! Their chemistry is electrifying. Their sound is cutting edge. Their music is REAL!

Hailing from the ‘Purest’ state in the United States of America, Hampshire is an energetic rock band sonic resembling bands like Brand New, Death Cab, and Dashboard Confessional. Don’t jump to conclusions just give these dudes a listen and get ready for a rage fest on stage.

Blue Satellite
Hailing from London but transplanted to the slow paced friendly and incredibly flat midwest, Blue Satellites music reflects his background and history with taking video game compositions and remixing them to oblivion.

Maxine Peters
22 years old, Winnipeg born singer/songwriter, Maxine Peters, is quickly becoming known as the little girl with the big voice. Her with powerful yet sweet and soulful vocals combined with honest lyrics and catchy hooks will make you an instant fan. Her sound is fresh – combining pop with and a soulful R&B feel.

Heaven’s Gateway Drugs
Heaven’s Gateway Drugs is a psychedelic band hailing from Fort Wayne, Indiana, a city known for churches and strip clubs. Despite being born in a location that couldn’t be farther from a psychedelic epicenter, Heaven’s Gateway Drugs creates a combination of freakbeat, west coast psych, eastern drone and the pop hooks of alternative’s fallen heroes.

An eclectic combination of dance, melodies and good ole rock and or roll, Jorge Fernandez, John Ptak, Dan Willig, Jared Kalish, Phil Schwan are bound to infest your body with groves and vibes that only bands like the The Bravery have been able to accomplish in recent past. These up in comers aren’t playing around.

Ryan Kerr
Ryan Kerr is a real big artist. Put another way: Ryan Kerr is real, Ryan_Kerr is big, Ryan Kerr is an artist. He is a passionate singer/songwriter who loves putting on a show and engaging his fans. All he needs is a mic and his trusty ole guitar. A true talent with a heart of gold, you are in for a treat every single time this kid plays.

Slow Pokes
From just around the corner in Fort Wayne, Indiana this folk rock n roll band has begun to pave the way and make a name for themselves throughout the local scene and have plans to hit the road here in the near future.

Rodeo Ruby Love
Rodeo Ruby Love has tried to become synonymous with Indiana: honest, hardworking, non-assuming and a little bit behind the times. The band put out albums in three consecutive years, its first full-length album recorded in a dank basement with the help of friends in Bloomington, Ind.

Josh Elias
Born and raised in the Midwest United States, Joshua Elias has been busy at work over the last several years crafting his skills and sounds to produce tasteful groove filled tracks and mixes. Being turned onto big beat and breaks in the late 90’s, Elias’ love and passion for dance music has only grown over the years and has resulted in the deep and funky vibes that fill his tracks and DJ sets.

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