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Thread: NEARFest 20th Anniversary

  1. #26
    There's always this event.

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  2. #27
    NEARfest Officer Emeritus Nearfest2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    The headliners were never a make or break for me personally. Did you feel as though most people found them to be? I know we could point to the penultimate festival as the example. Maybe for those travelling a great distance and spending a lot of money on extras like food, hotel and transportation it was the deal maker, but since I lived close it didn't matter as much for me.
    Absolutely. The headliners were a big part of the draw. However, don't get me wrong, outside of the Nektar year, I would not say that any one headliner brought in an inordinate number of "fanboys." The hall was never full of fans of one band. The Netkar year was a slight exception due to the full reunion and their having a big local contingency of fans in the New Jersey area. There were a lot of Nektar shirts that day!

    Marillion may have done a similar thing and we were wary of that. That said, we did make overtures to Marillion a few times to no avail. Lucy Jordache was very nice to us, but it just never materialized. That was around the period when Marillion was really shunning the "prog" label. They seem to have loosened up on that stance since they now plays prog festivals and cruises.

    To your point, and I've heard it many times, a lot of folks loved the undercard bands - the more obscure or undiscovered. I know a good number of people loved going home from a NEARfest weekend with a few new favorite bands in their back pocket.
    Last edited by Nearfest2; 1 Week Ago at 12:49 PM.
    Chad

  3. #28
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    ^ Getting to see Yezda Urfa was a highlight of my concert-going career.

  4. #29
    Agree that MUCH has changed...most notably for me, age. After attending 7 NF's overall (without a care or qualm), the mere thought of driving (or flying) from Atlanta to PA gives me nausea. Yeah, GREAT memories and the festival is best left in the past....Thanks again Rob & Chad


    (Personal high-lights for me: PFM 2x, Anglagard 2x, Magma 2x...AND, having my Prog crossword puzzle in the final NF program)
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  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    The headliners were never a make or break for me personally. Did you feel as though most people found them to be? I know we could point to the penultimate festival as the example. Maybe for those travelling a great distance and spending a lot of money on extras like food, hotel and transportation it was the deal maker, but since I lived close it didn't matter as much for me.
    There were definitely a number of people who were just there for the headliner. For example, one year the seats next to us were empty all weekend except when Porcupine Tree performed. I saw that sort of thing a number of times. I don't know how prevalent that was.
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  6. #31
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    One of my biggest regrets is never attending Near Fest during my unfortunate "checked out" stage. I had a great ticket one year when PFM were headliners but felt I had to pick up the wife & (then young) kids from the airport after being overseas for over a month. At least I can read your fond rememberances. Thanks.
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  7. #32
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    Monday, Monday ~

    My friend Jeff Wilson and I used to stay up a good chunk of the 'tickets go on sale' night, and perch ourselves at the Zoellner entry door. When it was allowed, we would purchase tickets for ourselves and about a dozen(?) fellow music fans. Many of us were part of the Gentle Giant 'On Reflection' bunch. I believe that we were first in line for several years!? That experience, coffees and conversations at hand, had a definite impact on the lives of Jeff and me. We remain quality friends all these years later. Also... I was quite a pain in the rump to Chad and Rob one year as I put together the NF/Roger Dean logo on the long sleeved denim shirts that were for sale. Haahaha Ö.. mine does not quite fit anymore! It was a cool experience, a fantastic festival, and super thanks to ALL involved.


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  8. #33
    NEARfest Officer Emeritus Nearfest2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winkersnufs View Post
    I put together the NF/Roger Dean logo on the long sleeved denim shirts
    2003. We gave one to Rich Williams of Kansas when he guested with Glass Hammer. He loved it.
    Chad

  9. #34
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    NEARfest with each passing year became as much of a social event as a musical event. Just speaking or listening to the attendees each year was interesting. Many whom I saw coming back each year. I'm sure there were a lot of friendships formed over the years and it was all because of Rob and Chad.

  10. #35
    Well, I actually didn't know Nearfest existed until 2001 (well, end of 2000, to be precise). I had recently discovered Deus Ex Machina and was hopelessly in love with their music shortly after. I found their bare bones web site, found a info@.. email and sent an email full of praise letting them know they had at least one American fan (though obviously there were a lot more that that) and suggesting if they ever ventured over here I would do whatever I could to go see them. A couple days later I got a response............from Rob himself, informing me that I could see them perform at the upcoming Nearfest 2001. I was floored, as I had not heard about the festival despite being on a number of Prog email groups and message boards and couldn't believe that they and several other bands I never thought I'd get to see (Djam Karet was the other big one......I was interested in PTree but not a big fan at the time). Right in my back yard in PA even! As it turned out, two bands I'd not heard before, White Willow and Banco, were they big hits for me that festival. Future festivals it was the ones I hadn't heard that made the biggest impression, which I loved about Nearfest.

    Anyway, went with a buddy to stand in line at Zollener. We ended up getting there an hour late, but still got good seats without any trouble, which would not have been possible just a couple years later when tickets were selling out in less than an hour!

    So 2001 was my first, and I went to all but 4 after that and wish I hadn't missed those.

    It was an incredible ride and while I was a bit disappointed it was ending back in 2012, I also was realizing that I just wasn't that up for the traveling, expenses and slog of one band after another with very little sleep anymore. So for me, at least, it ended at just the right time.

    If they were to do a one off "reunion" of some sort, I'd likely go for nostalgia and to hang with old friends, but since they certainly aren't (for many good reasons), I'm quite happy to have the memories and the great bands I discovered there.

  11. #36
    Member paythesnuka's Avatar
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    I was at every NEARfest except 2007.

    Here are some memories of the very first one in 1999:

    -- Nathan Mahl's Sunday morning set blew everyone away. It basically introduced many of us to the sorely missed talent of Guy LeBlanc (RIP).

    -- Ryo Okumoto's incident with the keyboardist of Crucible.

    -- Seeing/hearing Solaris for the first time blew me away.

    -- Seeing IQ live was a concert bucket list for me.

    -- We all had to work on the honor system because there were no assigned seats, although I found Martin Orford of IQ sitting in my seat coming back from a break. If it was anyone else, I would have kicked him out, since my disposable camera had been moved from the seat to the floor. I was too shy at the time for small talk so I just asked for my camera and sat behind him.

    -- Someone grabbed my camera during the break before Spock's Beard and took photos of the band during their soundcheck. I later found out it was photographer extraordinaire Joe Del Tufo.

    -- Me and my buddies walking over the bridge to the pizza place to find the guys from Crucible sitting next to us.

    If I think of any more unique memories, I will post more.
    "It's such a fine line between stupid and... clever" -- David St. Hubbins & Derek Smalls, Spinal Tap

  12. #37
    Regretfully, I missed all NEARfest shows. The sad part is that I'm from the Lehigh Valley where it was born.
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  13. #38
    The first Nearfest had a special feel being at the smaller college/venue. Good times!

  14. #39
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    I went to every one, except 1999 and 2009.

    I also worked every one up until 2007. Which meant I had to skip a LOT of shows that I would otherwise have been thrilled to see. Which I am even more regretful for as time passes and it becomes more and more obvious that NF was one of those special things that seem impervious while they are happening, but are actually quite fragile and can’t last forever.

    STILL! Even with the caveat of work, I saw some really, really wonderful shows and I will always be grateful to EVERYONE involved in the presentation of this MASSIVE achievement for what they managed to accomplish for so long.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by Steve F.; 1 Week Ago at 11:54 AM.
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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    Regretfully, I missed all NEARfest shows. The sad part is that I'm from the Lehigh Valley where it was born.
    I too grew up in the lovely Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem) and only was able to attend one NF! I was living in Los Angeles for the first 7 or 8 of them and every year I'd say I would combine it with a visit to my parents. Then something would come up. Every year. Then I got married, moved to central NY state and had two kids so that knocked out a few years of non-essential travel.*

    But the one I did see, the 2012 Apocalypse, will always be a very special memory for me. VDGG and UK. Two very top of the bucket list bands for me, in one weekend. I remember watching UK and thinking "this must be a dream. no way are these guys back together and sounding so great!". Also Anglagard, Gosta, Keneally, HoG! Couldn't have been a better lineup. Met a ton of great folks, too, though I don't remember a lot of names. If anyone remembers debating what song UK would open up with, for about a half hour, with a guy wearing a Lehigh hoodie, that was me.

    * Sadly my wife got to determine what classified as "essential travel".

  16. #41
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roylayer View Post
    There were definitely a number of people who were just there for the headliner. For example, one year the seats next to us were empty all weekend except when Porcupine Tree performed. I saw that sort of thing a number of times. I don't know how prevalent that was.
    I had the same experience the second year that Magma played.

  17. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Nearfest2 View Post
    Additionally, if anyone has questions about NEARfest that you never got a chance to ask, please do. We are happy to answer them!
    I was wondering about the availability of any of the filmed and recorded material. I would sure love to hear the version of Shadow Self that had Keneally and D'Virgilio on it.

    Steve

  18. #43
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post

    * Sadly my wife got to determine what classified as "essential travel".
    Steve F.

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  19. #44
    Member jefftiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roylayer View Post
    There were definitely a number of people who were just there for the headliner. For example, one year the seats next to us were empty all weekend except when Porcupine Tree performed. I saw that sort of thing a number of times. I don't know how prevalent that was.
    One of the dumber things I ever did was miss the Porcupine Tree performance on Saturday night in 2001. I recall being more inclined to eat dinner with my wife! At the time, I knew nothing about the group or Steven Wilson. I'd only rediscover him ~14 years later when he released Hand.Cannot.Erase.

    The high points for me over the 4 years I attended were seeing PFM and Banco twice and discovering a lot of groups that I was wholly unfamiliar with prior to the shows, like After Crying and Discipline. Nearfests were something special.

  20. #45
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paythesnuka View Post
    I was at every NEARfest except 2007.

    Here are some memories of the very first one in 1999:

    -- Nathan Mahl's Sunday morning set blew everyone away. It basically introduced many of us to the sorely missed talent of Guy LeBlanc (RIP).

    -- Ryo Okumoto's incident with the keyboardist of Crucible.

    -- Seeing/hearing Solaris for the first time blew me away.

    -- Seeing IQ live was a concert bucket list for me.

    -- We all had to work on the honor system because there were no assigned seats, although I found Martin Orford of IQ sitting in my seat coming back from a break. If it was anyone else, I would have kicked him out, since my disposable camera had been moved from the seat to the floor. I was too shy at the time for small talk so I just asked for my camera and sat behind him.

    -- Someone grabbed my camera during the break before Spock's Beard and took photos of the band during their soundcheck. I later found out it was photographer extraordinaire Joe Del Tufo.

    -- Me and my buddies walking over the bridge to the pizza place to find the guys from Crucible sitting next to us.

    If I think of any more unique memories, I will post more.
    I was at this one and my company was one of the corporate sponsors. My memory is checking into the Comfort Suites behind Neal Morse and his rambunctious kids and family. Spocks were great as were Nathan Mahl and IQ.

  21. #46
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    My memory is checking into the Comfort Suites behind Neal Morse and his rambunctious kids and family.
    ...and now his daughter is married. How old does that make you feel?
    Two boys have been found rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I too grew up in the lovely Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem) and only was able to attend one NF! I was living in Los Angeles for the first 7 or 8 of them and every year I'd say I would combine it with a visit to my parents. Then something would come up. Every year. Then I got married, moved to central NY state and had two kids so that knocked out a few years of non-essential travel.*
    I grew up in Bethlehem Township, but I've been in Western PA since the mid 80s. So, I've never even been to MusikFest.
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  23. #48
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    I was only able to attend one Nearfest, but the chance to see The Flower Kings, Glass Hammer, Camel and Anglagard made the trip from Florida worth the cost. I remember recognizing some of the Prog Ears members from the old photo section of the site, but was too timid to introduce myself. Now, all these years later, I wish I had. Still, the performances rank up there among my favorites ever, and that includes a *lot* of concerts since 1973. Camel and Anglagard were especially memorable, and GH with the choir and surprise guest Rich Williams still brings a smile.
    No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful. - Kurt Vonnegut

  24. #49
    I just want to say that if the 2011 festival had happened, I would have gone just for Curved Air. OK, Curved Air and Simak Dialog, but neither band was a headliner, but I wanted to see them play. As it happened, I ended up being unemployed for another 2 and a half years, so I would have missed it anyway, but I wantd to see those two bands. I don't even remember who the other bands who were booked that year were, besides Umphree's McGee (whom I was willing to give a chance, as I knew nothing of their music).

    It was the same way in 2001. I'm not sure what order the bands were announced in, but I remember Djam Karet (who had been a fan of for more than a decade by the) being the band that made me say "I'm there!".I wasn't going to miss Djam Karet again (as I did when they played in Baltimore in 1998, I believe it was).

  25. #50
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    I always envied those of you who lived close enough to drive to NEARfest. My buddy and I drove to the first one from Michigan. It took us close to 12 hours if I remember right, (Pennsylvania is a damn long state). The drive back was the killer though, after partying all weekend, we got stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident where the traffic on the highway was stopped for two hours. That was a long ass drive home. I flew to all of them after that.

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