July 2, 2010

Nateva festival drawing huge crowd

Thousands of fans from across the region are gathering in western Maine for three days of music, partying and hanging out.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Fans enter through the main entrance to see the band Umphrey's McGee today at the Nateva Music and Camping Festival.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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A sign hanging on a tent near the entrance to the main stage sets the mood for the three-day Nateva festival. Hundreds of campers have set up tents at the festival now under way at the Oxford Fairgrounds.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Many stayed close in the campground, choosing to commune quietly  with friends instead of joining the masses at the concert site. They tossed footballs and Frisbees, and jammed on guitars. Two stages are set up for campers, with bands playing into the early morning hours.

They came from all over the Northeast, and across the country. There were cars from as far away as Florida and California in the parking lot, and several fans made the trek from England.

Roliza Bartlett drove down from Calais today for the sole purpose of seeing her favorite singer, Jakob Dylan. He performed this afternoon, and Bartlett – who planned to drive back to Calais after the show – was dead center on the rail that separates the crowd from the stage.

She has seen him perform five times and has tickets to see him three more times this summer. Before the set began, Dylan’s manager reached over and gave her a bottle of water.

“It’s a great vibe,” she said. “And he’s not too bad to look at, either.”

Eric Hoke, a paralegal from Burlington, Vt., made the drive to see a buddy who plays drums in the Boston band Passion Pit, scheduled for tonight. But even if his friend wasn’t playing, Hoke said he probably still would be here.

“It’s pretty close to home, really. I like going to these festivals.  I try to make as many as I can, and this one worked out really well. It’s a long weekend, the Fourth of July, and the weather is great.”

Hoke bought a three-day pass on Craigslist for $175, which was about $75 less than what people paid at the gate for a weekend pass. He splurged and paid an additional $40 a day to a local resident to park his car and camp in the guy’s yard.

His goal was to stay all the way to the end on Sunday night to hear Furthur, then drive back to Vermont on Monday. “I always like to hear different incarnations of the Dead, and hear different versions of the songs,” Hoke said.

Furthur was scheduled to play in Vermont on Monday, but that show was scrubbed. The cancelation likely means more people will come to hear the band in Oxford than might have otherwise. Single day tickets for today and Sunday are available for $95 at the gate.

Emily Jean stood near the sound board, about halfway back of the big open field that hosted twin main stages, set up side by side. She brought her paints and an easel with her, and was making an abstract painting during the hour-long set by Umphrey’s McGee. Her work, she said, reflects how the music makes her feel.

In this instance, it was happy. She swayed with the music as she touched her brush to canvas.

“I quit my job as a waitress to go on tour to make art to my favorite bands,” Jean said. “I figure I can sit in my room and listen to my favorite bands and paint, or I can go out on tour to hear my favorite bands and paint while I am listening.”

She lives in upstate New York, near Albany. She enjoys seeing bands at festivals because the vibe is casual and people are cool. Few people bother her when she is painting, and if they do it’s because they are curious about her work.

“My goal is to make a painting during their set, and then meet the band and show it to them. I want to get them to sign it,” she said.

As soon as Umphrey’s McGee closed the set and bid farewell to the crowd, Jean set down her brush, called her painting complete and made her way toward backstage, hoping for the chance to talk to talk the band.

On the outer rim of the concert site, Jenny Schaeffer was showing artwork by Jerry Garcia, the late guitarist and singer for the Grateful Dead. He painted while he toured with the band, and the company that Schaeffer works for, Image Makers Art, is licensed to sell Garcia original paintings, as well as his etchings, lithographs and silkscreens.

“People are in awe when they see this work. People know his music, but this is his visual legacy. Not a lot of people are aware of his visual expression.  It’s fun to show it off. Jerry did a lot of work when he was on the road touring. He painted constantly,” she said.

Nateva marks the first time Garcia’a artwork has been shown in Maine, she added.

Music resumes at 11:30 Saturday morning.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:


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Additional Photos

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Tara "Earth" Murphy of Baltimore, Md., hula hoops during the Umphrey's McGee performance at the Nateva Music and Camping Festival in Oxford today.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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Festivalgoers soak up the sun and the music at the Nateva festival.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer


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