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Japanese Breakfast’s, Michele Zahner, performs at the Nelsonville Music Festival at Snow Fork Event Center in Nelsonville, Ohio, on Sept. 2, 2022.

Nelsonville Music Festival returns in its full glory

In the hills of Appalachia, a music festival focusing on earthly good vibes is held each year in order to celebrate various types of music and local artists. Fried food and local delicacies filled the stomachs of the 2022 tye-dye-clad festival goers, darting in between local vendors and well-traveled attendees alike.

The Nelsonville Music Festival took place for the first time in person this weekend after three years of virtual accommodations due to the pandemic. Fans and players were excited to come back to this family-friendly festival, this time at a new location, Snow Fork Event Center, 5685 Happy Hollow Road.  

The festival, hosted by Stuart’s Opera House, originally took place at the Historic Village of Robbins Crossing at Hocking College but was moved to the Snow Fork Event Center this year. Artists, including Japanese Breakfast, Yo La Tengo and Angel Olsen took the stage at this brand new center of events. 

Seth Riddlebarger, who attended the 2022 festival, said he goes to the festival every year to see American singer-songwriter Michael Hurley, among other players. He even brought his little girl for the first time to this festival and said it felt like a safe place for her to have fun. 

“It’s nice to see everybody,” Riddlebarger said. “We know a lot of people. It's fun to see music.”

Jewelry maker Rob Kola said he has been working the festival every year since its start in 2005 and now travels annually from Yellow Springs, Ohio, to attend. Kola said he enjoyed coming back every year because of the friendliness of the festival. 

“We know a lot of people in the area so it's been a highlight of the year for forever,” Kola said.

Kola added that since the start of the festival he has always felt comfortable bringing his children with him. 

“I like it because it's welcoming for me to bring my kids, I feel comfortable,” Kola said. “They can run around and play and I don't worry about it. It feels like a pretty safe space."

Kola said the festival is a good match for him because he can enjoy it while working on his jewelry and talking to customers.

“I can come here and do my work and my kids can have a blast,” Kola said.

Music enthusiast Zion Klinger said they have never been able to go to the festival because plans have always fell through, but they were very excited to finally be able to go.

They said although they felt like they were getting a little old for the music festival scene, the Nelsonville Music Festival was a little bit more relaxed than others.

“This is calmer, a little bit nicer and the people are chill,” Klinger said. “Everybody’s here to have a peaceful good time.”

Charlie Horn, guitar player for band In The Pines, said it was his first time playing at the festival and that it was not an environment he was used to playing in. Horn said his band was not used to playing outside and that this led to a few technical difficulties, but added sometimes those were just things that happened. 

However, Horn said he really enjoyed the vibe of this festival as it was pretty laid back.

“So far I just think it's pretty chill,” Horn said. “It's a bunch of people just camping together, hanging out.”

Horn said he would compare the festival to an orange creamsicle.

“You would always pop those out when things are going really good, those don't come out on a bad day,” Horn said.


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