Last week Coachella announced its 2014 lineup; yesterday, Governor’s Ball did the same. It’s January and we’re only a few days out from single-digit temperatures, but the summer festival season already seems upon us. With it comes a live music experience that eschews such luxuries as sound quality, intimacy and sight lines so that bros can fist pump hundreds of yards from where Muse are playing. Sometimes it’s fun. But sometimes a smaller, more intimate experience is even better.
Enter The Wild Honey Pie, an online publication, music media, and events promotion collective specializing in live, Daytrotter-style sessions. Lately they’ve been getting out of the city to host recording sessions in unusual locales: last summer, for example, was the first annual Welcome Campers, which invited bands like Caveman and Widowspeak to record stripped-down sets and campers to partake of traditional camp activities (s’mores, boating, etc). And at the end of this month they’ll host On the Mountain, a kind of winter version of the summer camp, in a lodge on Stratton Mountain, in Vermont. Small Black, Alex Winston, and Snowmine are among the artists who will record sessions on the mountain.
“Just like with Welcome Campers, our goal is to create a one-of-a-kind anti-festival experience that allows fans to spend one-on-one time with their favorite artists and then watch as these bands record extra special alternate versions of the songs we’re all obsessed with,” says Eric Weiner, founder of the Wild Honey Pie. The event will be super small: ten people, randomly selected from an RSVP pool, will get transportation to and from the city, a place to stay, free ski passes and gear rentals, snacks and booze, and swag from the event’s sponsors, which include Lärabar, Grain Audio, Magic Hat, and more.
The get-away lasts from January 27 to 30, and the four days will be packed with activities, according to Weiner: “We’re going dogsledding through the woods with Alex Winston, snowmobiling to the mid-mountain lodge with How Sad, on a gondola trip to the peak with White Sea (who is also in M83), exploring Stratton’s quaint village with Small Black, and stuffing our faces with clam chowder.”
If you think it’s all fun and games… you’d probably be right. But as Weiner explains, the bigger point of retreats like the summer camp and On the Mountain is to simply bring music makers and lovers closer together — to collapse the widening distance between those who produce music, and those who lovingly consume it. “It’s about creating an atmosphere that is warm, welcoming, and allows the fans and bands to interact in ways you can’t at music festivals,” Weiner says. “At the end of the day… it’s really about capturing the energy of everyone involved, and allowing anyone in the world to explore the adventure once it’s released.”