Jomeokee Music Festival takes off in its first year

Michael Bragg

The Jomeokee Campgrounds hosted the very first Jomeokee Music and Arts Festival over the weekend.

The new festival featured a variety of big names, like Yonder Mountain String Band, Stephen Marley and Keller Williams with the Travelin’ McCourys.

Several of the bands played multiple sets with many spontaneous jams between musicians of different bands.

“It was awesome seeing all my favorite members from my favorite bands play with one another,” Trey Thomas, senior recreation management major, said. “There is no way this opportunity would ever happen again. This was such a random spot out in the middle of nowhere for so many incredible musicians to come have fun for a weekend.”

The Bluegrass All-Star Jam held musical performances between members of the Del McCoury Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, The String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon.

The Everyone Orchestra, founded and conducted by Matt Butler, is an improvisational project with an ever-changing roster of artists. Saturday night’s performance included members of Widespread Panic, the Trey Anastasio Band, the Jerry Garcia Band, the Meters, the String Cheese Incident and  Lettuce.

“The Everyone Orchestra was maybe the best thing I have ever seen happen on stage,” Cass Copley, guitarist of festival opener The Heritage, said. “It was nothing short of amazing.”

Along with these artist collaborations on stage were many late night pickin’ sessions and drum circles throughout the campgrounds.

“I mostly play electric guitars, so the opportunity to sit around a campfire with acoustic instruments was a breath of fresh air,” Copley said. “It’s fulfilling to see such a large amount of people including themselves with the music. There’s nothing like the sound of 15 hand drums and a collection of people who are living it up.”

Junior elementary education major Marli Goro bought a Friday day pass, and said she had such a great time she decided to stay for the rest of the weekend.

“The festival was too good not to return for the rest of the weekend,” Goro said. “The experience was fun enough that it was worth the drive back to Boone, my morning of work and the drive back to the campgrounds.”

Copley said Jomeokee was one of the “best weekends of music.”

“It was big enough to the point of always having something to get into but also small enough to the point where I often ran into the great people I met multiple times,” he said. “It had a very personal feeling which to me, just made it perfect. There is something to be said about so many people supporting something so great.”

Story: OLIVIA WILKES, Senior Photographer