First Annual Family Music and Art Freshtival Review


The 1st Annual Family Freshtival was held Friday April 29-Sunday May 1, 2011 at the Hog Barn in Valpariso, Indiana. Kevin Mardirosian, drummer of Fresh Hops, was in charge of overseeing the festival production. Music festivals can be very difficult to put together (especially as a first timer) due to the many logistics that must be taken into account such as trash, security, parking, vendors, stage/sound/light production, etc. Mardirosian and Ken Withrow, owner of the Hog Barn, had all these details in the bag. These two men oversaw an amazing festival filled with incredible energy, a great location, and of course great acts such as Strange Arrangement, Fresh Hops, New Old Calvary, Catch Curtis, Sixdollarsuit and more. One available option is online art classes for people who love art and music festivals like this. That was such an awesome festival.

Both nights of the festival the grounds were paid a visit regarding a noise complaint, but both times it was just a friendly warning to keep it down. On the last night (Saturday), when again a noise complaint was called in, the Freshtival announced that in order to accommodate for all the scheduled artists, they would extend the festival to have music on Sunday morning featuring Embryonic Fluid and Eumatik from Muncie, Indiana.

Some of the best performances of the weekend were obtained by Strange Arrangement headlining the first night starting the weekend off with a big bang. Joe Hettinga, Kevin Barry, Jim Conry, and Stephen Sinde of Strange have been busy touring with acts such as Digital Tape Machine (which also features Hettinga and Barry from Strange) as well as Umphrey’s McGee. These four have been stepping up their game big time with every new performance, catching the attention of new fans with a fresh new sound and a new album out, Polygraph . Catch Curtis featuring Josh Lockwood and Ashton Kleeman from Eumatik had a few extra surprises up their sleeves bringing in Mikey Clark (percussionist from Fresh Hops) as well as newcomer drummer Jordan West tearing up the kit. Catch Curtis kept the energy high covering jazz, funk, and even gospel rhythms into the night. Of course Fresh Hops weekend headlining performance was no where short of spectacular with their amazing stage presence and beautiful bluegrass/jazz fusion melodies. You can truly never find a frown on any stage these young men step on that you can’t help but smile when their set begins.

The many conversations overheard throughout the weekend were mainly from the artists discussing with one another and their fans on the true meaning of being a performer as well as other artists that could help enlighten and better themselves as performers. Stephan Cook, violinist and vocalist from Fresh Hops, spoke about one of his experiences on being a true performer. “When you can get on stage and perform at your best level, even when there is no one in the crowd, that’s how you know you are a true performer.” This statement holds extremely true for anyone who has gotten to see Fresh Hops perform. The energy Fresh Hops brings at a performance level in unbelievable leaving any crowd (small or large) with a great sense of satisfaction.

I hope you enjoy some of the great times I was able to capture on film. This is one festival, OMFC will be sure to be at again next year! Thanks again to Kevin, Ken, and Fresh Hops-See you all next year!!!


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