Founder Jon Sten said other events are indoors and feature a variety of music genres. But this weekend, Jibberjazz is heading outside for the first Mountain Folk and Roots Festival in Adams County. Its the company's first foray into Americana and singer/songwriter styles.
"It takes a lot to build a festival," Sten said. "We've built our spring festival for eight years. We really swung for the fences with (Mountain Folk and Roots). There is a lot of buzz. We'd love to keep it going (and) start a new building block."
But before they booked the music, organizers had to find a venue. Sten said South Mountain Fairgrounds in Arendtsville was appealing due to its proximity to the Civil War history of Gettysburg. The folk fest will pay tribute to music rooted in that era.
The goal, Sten said, is to offer a mix of entertainment for all ages. Visitors are invited to camp out during the three-day event. There will be food and craft vendors as well as kids activities. But the music, of course, will be the main attraction.
The Felice Brothers, who sold out a 2010 CapLive show in York, will headline along with the Ryan Montbleau Band. The regional music scene will be represented by bands including HogMaw, Boxcar Social and The Hello Strangers.
Jibberjazz contacted The Hello Strangers to appear at other festivals, but their schedules never matched, said band member Larissa Chace Smith. Stars aligned for the Mountain Folk and Roots fest, which isn't a far drive for the Mercersburg band.
Smith and her sister Brechyn Chace formed the group in 2006.
"The sibling harmony is really what gives us our unique sound," Smith said.
The pair spent time building a music career in Austin, Texas, before coming back home and filling out their sound with a bassist, guitarist and drummer. They signed with a Nashville label last month - the result of winning an Americana contest more than a year ago.
After their Friday afternoon set, The Hello Strangers will talk about the record deal during one of the festival's workshops.
"We feel like we had more success in rural Pennsylvania," Smith said.
Blake Christiana is excited for a good turnout in Pennsylvania since he said folk, rock, bluegrass and country all thrive in the area. His Brooklyn, N.Y., Americana band Yarn will perform Friday night at the Mountain Folk and Roots fest.
The band's fans supported its 2012 Kickstarter campaign to make a new album, "Almost Home." Grammy winner Bil VornDick, who has worked with Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley and Bob Dylan, served as producer.
"He's got a million stories," Christiana said. "He's great to sip moonshine with and a lot of fun to work with."
VornDick also worked on Yarn's new album, slated to be released in September. Christiana, who grew up on classic country and rock, said he's constantly writing music. With Yarn's festival-heavy summer schedule that sometimes happens at sound checks or in hotel rooms.
Years ago, Christiana didn't realize the festivals and avid fans roots music spawned. Recently, he's watched the genre grow in popularity.
"It's good to (be) keeping that vibe alive," he added.
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
If you go
Jibberjazz Productions presents the first Mountain Folk and Roots Festival Friday to Sunday at the South Mountain Fairgrounds, 615 Narrows Road, Arendtsville, Adams County, with pre-party tonight.
The event will feature camping, more than 30 musical acts, kids activities, food and craft vendors, workshops and more.
There will be three outdoor stages and one indoor stage.
The event is designed to celebrate and provide education on American roots music.
Felice Brothers and Ryan Montbleau Band will headline the event. York County acts include HogMaw and Boxcar Social.
Weekend passes are $80 at the gate. For an additional $10, patrons may arrive between
4 to 11 p.m. today. Children younger than 12 will be admitted for free.
For details and a full music schedule, visit www.jibberjazz.com.
About the bands
Hear The Hello Strangers 3:30 p.m. Friday on the main stage at the Mountain Folk and Roots Festival. They will lead a workshop 5:30 p.m. For details, visit www.thehellostrangers.com.
Yarn performs 11:30 p.m. Friday on the folk stage. For details, visit www.yarnmusic.net.
Read more band interviews: flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory