2012 Gnarnia Festival


This was the official website for all information about the 2012 Gnarnia Festival held August 11-12 in Beech Mountain, NC.
Content is from the site's archived pages offering a glimpse of the information provided on the site, as well as other outside sources.


GNARNIA Festival | Day 2 Recap of the Festival of GNARNIA - Experience - Beech Mountain, NC 2012




3 days of music and enchantment in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains

“We are creating a safe, environmentally sound, special event that caters to a sophisticated taste in the audio and visual arts in a unique space that provides exclusive platforms for creative human expression.”

Set at an breathtaking location in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Local vendors, art gallery, food trucks, multimedia installations, focus groups, hands on workshops, and exciting games all await. This will be a “green” event, please minimize your impact; we can leave the land cleaner than it was upon your arrival!

A number of choice acts with high marquee value, ranging in musical styles from electronica, indie, bluegrass, reggae, jazz, folk, funk, and more shall be presented. Initial line ups will be released in March of 2012.

This is an 18+ event with a valid (not expired) state or government issued photo id Under 18 can be accompanied only by their parent and must sign an additional waiver upon entering

The Yellow Brick at Beech Mountain

While charting your itinerary through the Land of Gnarnia. Be sure include a trip the yellow brick road and The Land of Oz!  We aren’t kidding, there is a theme park located at the top of Beech Mountain! Take the chair lift to this absolutely stunning landscape dotted with gazebos, boulders, craggy trees and the nuances including the Witch’s Castle and even a scale replica of Dorthy’s house. Relax by the fountain, take a guided tour and gaze across the fantastic panoramic view from the Judy Garland Memorial Overlook Gazebo, all while following the 44,000 yellow bricks marking the path through this Enchanted Forest.

View from Gazebo

The top of Beech Mountain, at 5,506 feet with rocky outcroppings and gnarly, windswept trees inspired the creation of the Land of Oz.  The theme park now hosts the annual Autumn at Oz Celebration, which takes place every October, attracting thousands to the majestic Beech Mountain.

Admission during Gnarnia is a mere 10 Earth Dollars (US$). The Royal Treatment VIP includes complimentary passage. 

We’re off to see some of our favorite characters, “double rainbow?”, way up high in this Land of Oz and the Festival of Gnarnia!




Gnarnia at Beech Mountain Resort

We are pleased to announce, the festival of Gnarnia will be held at Beech Mountain Resort, in Beech Mountain, NC. This unique outdoor venue is located in Eastern America’s Highest Town, with an elevation of 5,500 ft. It weighs in at just over a mile above sea level. The resort rests upon 150 acres that boast breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Beech Mountain Resort features restaurants, a club, bars, as well as other first class amenities. A ski lift will take you to the top of the mountain where you can enjoy activities or just take in the spectacular view.

This is a destination festival where guests can reserve any number very reasonably priced cabins, condos, and chalets available directly surrounding the resort, most of which are within walking distance to the front gate! Who’s getting a hot tub? Expect lodging at approximately $89 a night that sleeps 4, or approx $120 to sleep 6. That’s only about $20 dollars a night, and you won’t have to worry about how impossible it is to roll up that muddy tent. We know first hand that going “home” to sleep in a bed at a festival is absolutely amazing. With all the showers around, Gnarnia may even smell better than most “enchanted lands”.

Go ahead and stake claim to your lodging on Beech Mountain from August 9th to the 11th.

A plethora of hikes and waterfalls are close by; be sure and take advantage of the scenery during your stay in Gnarnia.

Commonly called America’s favorite drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic byway located about 20 minutes from Beech Mountain. It features breathtaking panoramic views, hikes, waterfalls, overlooks, and other attractions along the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Trail. Catch it on your way to or fro the land of Gnarnia. 

As the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and one of the great destinations in the South, Grandfather Mountain stands head and shoulders above the surrounding region. It’s been called “North Carolina’s Top Scenic Attraction,” and for good reason. Climb to the top for 360-degree views of nearby ridges and valleys, clamber across the world-famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge, or simply marvel at the native wildlife habitat. Best of all, it’s only a 20-minute drive from Beech Mountain.

  • Lower Pond Creek Trail Falls: The one-mile trail within the Town of Beech Mountain is a great place for a picnic. Native trout can be found in the pools along the creek.
  • Boone Fork Trail Falls: This 25-foot falls is located on Boone Fork Trail leading from the picnic area at Julian Price Park, Milepost 295 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • The Cascades: A series of three cascading falls, 30-40 feet in height, at Jefress Park, Milepost 272 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Crabtree Falls: A 60-foot falls, at the Visitor Center at Milepost 340 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Elk River Falls: The falls are 85 feet high and are two miles north of Elk Park at the end of Elk River Road.
  • Glen Burney Falls: A 75-foot falls, located in the John’s River Gorge, is reached via Globe Road, below Blowing Rock.
  • Laurel Creek Falls: This 85-foot falls is just past Cove Creek/Sugar Grove on U.S. 321 at Laurel Creek Road, just before Cove Creek joins the Watauga River.
  • Linville Falls: The Linville River plunges into the Linville Gorge at its head to form this 90-foot waterfall; a gentle half-mile trail from the parking area at Milepost 316 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Wilson Creek Falls: Located 2.7 miles from the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Tanawha Trail. Start at Beacon Heights at Milepost 305.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.




An astounding array of musical offerings, workshops, performance arts, special performances, art installations, craft, retail, and food vendors. bars, a seated restaurant, guided yoga, ski lift access to the top of the mountain, and more!

No there is NO CAMPING! But that’s a good thing! There are numerous accommodations on the majestic Beech Mountain. Guests can choose from numerous chalets, condos, and cabins. You’ll be happy to learn that the prices for most are very reasonable, and you will likely receive a summertime discount. Many of the units sleep upwards of 4 and some as many as 10 or more. Split the costs of a cabin with your closest “land of enchantment” enthusiasts, and experience a summertime festival worthy of the tales that begin with “once upon a time”.

A great place to start is right here> or you can call: 800-468-5506 during normal business hours EST.

No, but it is highly recommended. Everyone is welcome to find their own accommodations. There are several campgrounds and hotels in the surrounding area. Anyone staying off the mountain will be able to park in the parking lots and can come and go as they please.

We all know the answer to this, but TO BE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR, THE ANSWER IS A RESOUNDING NO, and for a multitude of reasons! Many of those affordable lodgings are within walking distance of the resort so there should be little need to drive. There will be a few options available for you to get to and from the event to your accommodations. We suggest volunteering to be the sober safe driver because you really are that cool, really

The mountain air is typically nice and cool. Expect the temperature to range from the low 80’s during the day and the 50’s at night. Although this geographic area receives relatively little precipitation, be prepared for the chance of inclement weather with umbrellas and rain coats. There will be personal lockers available to you at the resort.

Although the terrain is fairly rugged. There will be a designated special needs section as well as accessible porta johns.


Yes, strictly to those 21+ years of age and older. 

Not into the festival itself, but of course you can bring your own alcohol to your respective lodging. Anyone caught bringing alcohol onto the resort will be ejected for the remainder of the event, and subject to local, state, and federal laws.


Yes.  People are free to come and go in and out of the festival grounds and return to their lodgings as they please. There will be thorough security checks going into the festival grounds and event areas.

Beech Mountain has a general store right around the corner.  There are also plenty of vendors as well as stores in and around the resort and the town of Beech Mountain.

Yes, there is a medical tent on site.

Personal cameras are allowed but you may not bring professional cameras with detachable lenses without a Gnarnia Press Pass. This is serious. Do to certain requirements any professional cameras carried by anyone without a press pass are subject to confiscation for the duration of the event. 

Under 18′s will be allowed but MUST be accompanied with their legal guardian at all times. Minors are also required a the purchase of a separate reasonably priced pass, and a waiver to be held at the gate for the duration of the event. Legal documentation including the child’s birth certificate and the parent or legal gaurdian’s valid ID are required.  We reserve the right to refuse entry. 

Bikes and other non-motorized vehicles are permitted.  We encourage experienced unicyclers

Not on the festival grounds. Rules vary amongst lodgings. 

  • Costumes
  • Hats
  • Jackets and warm attire for the cool mountain nights
  • Rain gear
  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet paper (just in case)
  • Small portable stereo for some tunes in your cabin or chalet
  • Flashlight or headlamp and batteries
  • Ashtray for smokers (Do not throw cigarette butts on ground)
  • Mountain bike and lock
  • A great attitude
  • Your friends!
  • Your imagination and creativity
  • NO Pets will be allowed into the festival grounds unless licensed to assist a person with disabilities
  • NO unauthorized vending will be permitted whatsoever
  • NO UNDERAGE DRINKING OR ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES; Violators will be ejected from the event for its remainder and will be subject to local, state, and federal laws
  • NO GLASS will be permitted onsite; if found upon entry into the festival, it WILL be confiscated
  • NO weapons, fireworks or any other contraband will be permitted onto the festival grounds. Violators will be ejected from the event for its remainder and will be subject to local, state, and federal laws
  • NO ATVs or other gas/electric powered vehicles
  • NO littering, please respect the mountain and your mother Earth.




Thursday, Aug. 9

Beats Antique, 7 Walkers Gramatik, Paper Diamond, ESKMO, Afroman, Eliot Lipp, Mindelixir, Heyoka, Machines are People Too, KDSML, Songs of Water, Skytree, Panther God, The Polychrons, Futexture, Ployd , Arpetrio, Future Flutes, Amarru, Splynter, Uprise, Nomadic, Andrew Fletcher’s Silent Movie Theatre, Aligning Minds, Asian Teacher Factory

Friday, Aug 10th

Tipper, Emancipator Mark Farina, Dieselboy, Easy Star All Stars, Toubab Krewe, VibeSquaD, Break Science, Gift of Gab, ZOOGMA, Starkey, DrFameus, Cas Haley, DEORO, Firecracker Jazz Band, Bookworm, Ziggurat, Yesterday’s Gravy, Sonmi, Poetix Lounge, Imperial Blend, Old You, Fast Nasty, Chasing Edison, Sam Shacklock, Numatik, Uphill Both Ways, Sound Pimp

Saturday, August 11th

Conspirator, 12th Planet, Ott, Papadosio, Phadroid, Midnite, Rising Appalachia, Minnesota, DubConscious, Govinda, The Polish Ambassador, Zach Deputy, The Pimps of Joytime
The Mantras, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Greenhouse Lounge, Sir Charles,  Seduction Sideshow, The Human Experience, DJ Slink, Isness, Herobust, Dex,
Laura Reed w Shannon Sanders, Brushfire Stankgrass, B!tch Please, Zack Mexico, The Native Sway, Jonathan Santos



Stilt walkers, performance artists and poi throwers of this world shall converge for 3 days of spectacular accoutrement, we are set to take court to a new height of human expression. If you are interested in bringing your unique talent to Gnarnia, let us knowSend video or image links for your work to be reviewed.



MATTHEW BRAUNSEP 4, 2012 / magneticmag.com


GNARNIA Festival 2012 | Day 1 Recap

Take 5000 festival goers add a mountaintop resort, an abundance of talented performers and amazing art installations then you will usually get a fantastic first year festival experience. But if you take this sum and divide by local sheriffs, three different county police departments, 40 plus undercover narcotics officers, as well as rumors of federal DEA involvement and you've got a math equation no one ever wanted to solve.

The Festival of Gnarnia held atop the scenic Beech Mountain Resort in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina was something to behold. The music was phenomenal, the people fantastic, the art exquisite and the setting was absolutely beautiful. Upon arriving at a first year festival conceived under such promising circumstances the thought never even crossed my mind that anything terrible would happen. What could possibly go wrong?

Apparently a lot can go wrong. Even though Gnarnia was conceived and executed with the utmost care and best intentions, a significant segment of the festival going public ended up having a negative experience. As with any first year music festival the hiccups are bound to be more prominent and noticeable. However, with the presence of undercover and uniformed police increasing each day, by Friday night Gnarnia’s tone changed from sublime to sour almost instantly. As rumors spread that festival goers, artists, and even security guards were being arrested in the midst of what seemed to be a sting operation like that of a Hollywood screenplay, the attitude began to shift from fun loving to scary and dangerous overnight. It quickly became apparent that the campgrounds were filled with undercover officers worried more about illicit drugs and alcohol than concerns of health and safety. The streets were patrolled by dozens of officers pulling over anyone and everyone going to and from the festival seemingly without just cause or provocation. Worst of all, the festival itself was filled with narcs soliciting drugs from patrons with a ferocious intensity that bordered on entrapment. Then as icing on the cake, uncontrollable weather conditions arose that drenched and surprised everyone. Between Mother Nature’s unpredictable behavior and an absolutely Orwellian police presence, many patrons were left searching for the exit door.

As with any festival, it’s easy to notice what goes wrong. With expectations of the next festival being better than the last, the problems are the first thing anyone sees. Regardless of the negative aspects surrounding Gnarnia the festival, there was an abundance of redeeming qualities as well.

The music itself was beyond phenomenal with a line up that would be considered ridiculous even for a festival that has been around for many years, let alone for this first year of Gnarnia. I was particularly impressed by the "livetronica" acts Zoogma and Papadosio. These two prominent East coast bands set the bar high as they seamlessly mashed EDM culture and the jam-band scene together with impressive production (check the Zoogma performance and the Papadosio set), insane improvisations and catchy samples. Beats Antique never disappoints with their blend of experimental world fusion and electronica that after headlining the first night left people wondering if there was any room for the solo producers to steal the show. But with everything from deep rooted bass to what I would like to call "glitched-out lounge-step" from producers like 12th Planet, Paper Diamond, ESKMO, Emancipator, Gramatik, and Elliot Lipp there was never a question in my mind that there was room for everyone to make a splash in this wading pool. With five stages going off throughout the day there was plenty to do and something for everyone. The audio visual stimulation produced from artists like Tipper, Dieselboy and Phadroid catered to the trippers in attendance while bands like 7 Walkers and Easy Star All Stars played to much chiller crowds. Hip-hop heads were treated to the unmistakable swagger of Gift of Gab and Afroman who was rumored to have done a make up set later in the festival after missing his first performance (presumably because he got high). As a special treat many bands that could be considered headliners at lesser festivals such as Break Science, Minnesota, and NastyNasty played extremely intimate sets to a handful of fans at the indoor "Queen Loopy's Stage" (which I would estimate holds 150-200 people). Regardless of where you were throughout the festival (as long as it wasn’t jail) you were left with emphatic feelings of privilege and joy.

To add to the magical atmosphere there were dozens of performance artists constantly roaming the land of Gnarnia. Aztec dancers decked out in full headdress and loincloths put on organized dances all around the festival. Stilt walkers resembling trees and costumed lions and bears dancing around them felt like a perfect representation of what Gnarnia was meant to be. The bike jousting really brought up the audience participation level by allowing attendees to sign up and participate in what seemed like absolute medievil mayhem. There were b-boys, fire dancers, and what I’m sure was actually a goddess posing as an aerial dancer all of whom played their part in giving the audience something to see or do at all times.

Personally, I had an amazing time on Beech Mountain. The people were nothing but warm hearts and smiles, welcoming any and all new friends to participate in the collective effort of having a great weekend away from normalcy. I met more like-minded individuals in the short weekend there then in all of my previous summer festivals combined. I had no knowledge of the lingering dangers until the final day of the event, and even then, I was able to find plenty of wonderful people to make the hazards irrelevant.

The problems plaguing this festival seemed out of the control of the promoters themselves. The officials of the Festival of Gnarnia did everything in their power to make this an event people will never forget. Now it seems that no one could possibly forget the events that transpired whether it be for the right or wrong reasons. Despite everyone’s efforts to make the Festival of Gnarnia a place where festivalgoers could escape year after year, the delicate nation of Gnarnia, impressionable in its first year, was infected with a barrage of negativity from law enforcement and dozens of dejected members of the festival family.

While there was a decent amount of resentment being passed around at the end of the weekend, there were still plenty of people who let their natural and undeniable ability to party like professionals radiate through the festival crowds. The potential for Gnarnia is all there; amazing music, beautiful people, support from the local population, and thousands of fans eager to attend. That being said, I wish the best for the Festival of Gnarnia, as I would love to see the promoters solve the complex equation of how to pacify the police while throwing a festival in this wondrous locale.


An aside: I attended the one and only Festival of Gnarnia and reminiscing with friends who came with me, our assessment is the festival was mostly major wicked. What a change from the initial magical atmosphere where there were dozens of performance artists constantly roaming the land of Gnarnia, multimedia installations, and a number of choice acts with high marquee value to later in the weekend. Fortunately we had no knowledge of the lingering dangers until the final day of the event.

Now more than five years later, I returned to Beech Mountain, but this time with young tots in hand to attend the Annual Autumn at Oz Festival. I think it was their 25th this year. The Land of Gnaria and Oz is great for a day or two. But I certainly can't live my life with two kids, a husband, one dog and two cats in such magical kingdoms 24/7.

Reality has kicked in big time and most of my days are spent juggling kids, animals, and work. Thank goodness for the ease in which to order out in Manhattan where we now reside. Thank goodness for a terrific reliable nanny. Thank goodness for grocery delivery and a cleaning lady. And thank goodness for rapid carpet cleaning in Manhattan, particularly when you have two kids, a husband, one dog and two cats. My cleaning lady recommended this great local carpet cleaning company, My Home Carpet & Upholstery Care NY, who has saved my carpets more than once. They scotch guarded all our carpets so that accidents can be cleaned up with out leaving major evidence. I also like the fact that they use hypoallergenic cleaning products so that everyone including allergy sufferers, kids, and animals are protected from harsh cleaning products. Yes, we have had our share of pee or vomit on our carpets and it hasn't just been from our pets. My Home Carpet & Upholstery Care NY has dealt successfully with all problems.

I don't know if my husband and I will ever attend another festival quite like the 2012 Gnarnia Festival, but I know we will be back to Beech Mountain for the Autumn at Oz Festival next year. That's about perfect for us as a family.




May 4, 2012 

“The Royal Treatment” Package includes:

  • Royal Credentials
  • Special VIP area ala LoveIsEarth
  • 2 Healthy entrees per day available at your convienience
  • Allotment for Drinks per day ranging from Kombucha to top shelf offerings
  • Royal Garb (T-Shirt)
  • Commemorative Poster of Honor
  • Unlimited local shuttle passes
  • Special VIP entrances
  • VIP parking area
  • Entrance to “The Land of OZ” themed park
  • & probably a few extra perks ;)


April 28, 2012 

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The dawn of a new era of tickets has been enacted. The Keys to the Castle three day passes are now on sale. These Keys are priced at $115 plus fees.  Act now and get them before they are gone. Take heed… The Festival of Gnarnia Awaits.


April 13, 2012 

Gnarnian’s can now get paper tickets at these select locations around the area for the current “Winter Clearance” price of $95.00 plus fees:

Boone, NC- LOVEISEARTH 444 King St. (Next to Capone’s)   www.loveisearth.com

Nashville, TN- LOVEISEARTH  (Available 4/19/12) 903 Church St    www.loveisearth.com

West Asheville, NC- Ox & Rabbit/Diamond Theives 1570 Patton Ave  www.diamondthieves.net

Downtown Asheville, NC- Royal Peasentry 80 North Lexington St. www.royalpeasantry.com


April 9, 2012 

The Festival of Gnarnia is fast becoming a destination event for Gnarniacs from across the Americas! We have reports of the promotion Gnarmy street lurking into cities on the northern lands of New York and Connecticut, Western lands of Colorado and Oregon, and as far south as Columbia and Chile. The kings call for the Gnarmy has brought great success in attracting fellow venturers in a quest to defeat the evil sound drones lead by the bad speaker king. Get your “Winter Clearance” ticket now, we only have a few left for $95.00 plus fees. Go to http://gnarniathefestival.com/tickets to secure your seat on the front lines of the sonic battle royal! If you want to take your service to the king to the next level, sign up to volunteer and become a member of the Gnarnia crew! Go to http://gnarniathefestival.com/festival-info/work-trade-volunteers.


March 27, 2012 

So we have officially started releasing the line-up, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed! Check us out on FB at Gnarnia The Festival and see whats cooking, our initial line up will get posted this tonight in full on the music page!


March 16, 2012 

Punctuality in this kingdom knows each box of candy include a golden ticket. Chew on this, and thine passage to The Festival of Gnarnia can be charted with a limited edition pass of the Gnearly Bird. Take heed this advice, and embark on thine destiny.

The forces of the initial line up are approaching hastily from the East. We expect our rendezvous to occur on Monday March 26th, in the year of two thousand and twelve. Prepare thy self earth being. 

GNARNIA @ Beech Mountain Resort

March 1, 2012 

We are pleased to announce, the festival of Gnarnia will be held at Beech Mountain Resort, in Beech Mountain, NC. This unique outdoor venue is located in Eastern America’s Highest Town, with an elevation of 5,500 ft. It weighs in at just over a mile above sea level. The resort rests upon 150 acres that boast breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gnarnia at Beech Mountain Resort

Beech Mountain Resort features restaurants, a club, bars, as well as other first class amenities. A ski lift will take you to the top of the mountain where you can enjoy activities or just take in the spectacular view.

This is a destination festival where guests can choose from the plethora of very reasonably priced cabins, condos, and chalets available directly surrounding the resort, most of which are within walking distance to the front gate! Expect lodging at approximately $89 a night that sleeps 4, or approx $120 to sleep 6. That’s only about $20 dollars a night, and you won’t have to worry about how impossible it is to roll up that muddy tent. We know first hand that going “home” to sleep in a bed at a festival is absolutely amazing. With all the showers around, Gnarnia may even smell better than most “enchanted lands”.


February 1, 2012 

The beholders of all things social shall announce good gnews as it transpires. Get at us where the bird doth tweet. Friend us, upon ye book of faces.  For the latest and greatest and special deals on tickets and other activities join the Gnarnia Email Gnewsletter. Hollla……


January 20, 2012 

As we journey around the sun, a brief window in time draws near. A unique moment for creative human expression comes to light. Far beyond the dirty sneakers forgotten in the depths of your closet, amongst the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, exists the festival of Gnarnia. For four days this refuge satisfies a special yet sophisticated taste with a legendary mélange of musical acts, performance arts, and artistic craftsmanship.

You are cordially invited to the festival of Gnarnia, August 9-11th 2012.






Midnite at The Festival of Gnarnia

Hailing from the Island of St Croix, Midnite is one of the most promising roots reggae bands of the millennium. They are vanguards of conscious reggae who represent the King’s and Queen’s music to the fullness of Jah. Midnite’s profound and innovative lyrics are sincere and deeply rooted to present the other half of the story. Their cd recordings and live performances will have reggae and non-reggae listeners open to the messages they bring.

Lead singer Vaughn Benjamin’s electrifying voice seems an amalgamation of many great voices in reggae-soulful, chanting, edgy. Vaughn’s potent lyrical style and his brother Ron’s exquisite production, arrangements, keyboard and bass musical directorship form the nucleus of this musical yet rootsy sound, which includes Christian Molina (drums), Edmund Fieulleteau (keyboards) and Edwin Byron (guitars). Midnite weaves the cultural lyrics of “old school” roots music with modern day experiences to create a unique listening encounter. Reggae – naked and raw is an apt description for Midnite’s musical style, in which they forgo the frills of extensive remixes, overdubbing and other musical refinements.

“Unpolished” is the suitably named title of their debut album which includes such classics as “Don’t Move”, “Mama Africa”, and “Love the Life You Live”. Originally released in 1997, while the band was located in Washington, D.C., this crucial album has recently been made widely available on Rastafaria Recordings.

In 1999, Midnite linked up with Wildchild! Records for their second release “Ras Mek Peace”. Incredibly, this album was recorded using only two channels and was mastered without any reverb, filtering, compression or equalization. Songs like “Hieroglyphics”, in which graffiti is likened to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, showcase the intelligent songwriting that pervades all of Midnite’s works.

Following the release of Ras Mek Peace, Midnite returned to live in St. Croix so that they could work with the local musicians and make recordings at their African Roots Lab without any outside interference. The fruits of these labours can be found on their third album “Jubilees of Zion”, which was released on their own independent Afrikan Roots Lab record label. The expansive, hypnotic rhythms continue, alongside the messages of peace, universal brotherhood, and cultural resistance to Babylon.

In 2002, Midnite made their Northern California debut at the 9th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. The combination of Vaughn’s searing lyrics, raw roots music and the warmth of the sun beating onto the masses at the village stage made for a potent and memorable experience for all who were present. That same month saw the release of Midnite’s fourth album “Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance”. Released on the Afrikan Roots Lab record label, this album raises the bar of cultural roots reggae, as we know it today.

Midnite explodes in live performances with sets that often exceed 3 hours. Their vigorous, weighty sound, driven by the punchy bass lines creates a vibe that penetrates straight to the heart. These epic musical communions have earned Midnite an enormous following throughout the roots community. This is especially true in St. Croix, Puerto Rico, France, Brazil, St. Louis, New York, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Vermont, Asheville and here on the West Coast where they have toured extensively including another rousing appearance at the 10th Annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.

In the fall of 2003, Midnite released their first dub album “Intense Pressure” on the Rastafaria label, which includes some tracks from their prior releases along with some dubs of forthcoming albums. Midnite has released studio albums “Ainshant Maps” on their Afrikan Roots Lab record label and “Scheme A Things” on the Rastafaria label.

Midnite has also collaborated with I Grade Records for five releases: “Nemozian Rasta”, “Assini” “Vijan”, “Let Live” & “Jah Grid” Vaughn Benjamin lead singer of Midnite has also released albums under the name Midnite Branch I and collaborations: “Cipheraw”, “Geoman”, “He Is Jah” “Project III”, “Full Cup”, Thru & True, Aneed, “Sun’s Of Atom”, “New 1000″, “Bless Go Roun”, “Better World Rasta”, “Infinite Quality” on the Lustre King label.

For the first quarter 0f 2008 Midnite released “Maschaana” & pulled from the vaults a rare never released recording titled “Kayamagan” and a first ever Live to disc CD “Midnite Live” Vol.1. And recently a 24 track double disc titled “Standing Ground” A Midnite/Lion tribe collaboration.

By breaking all the rules, Midnite is setting a new standard. Armed with a firm foundation in Jah Rastafari, their natural talents, and a strong and uncompromising musical vision, Midnite champions a unique sound that is on the cutting edge of modern roots music.




Beats Antique

Beats Antique

From under the shelter of world acoustic music’s canopy, live electronica has bred a new beast built of brass band and glitch, dubstep and glockenspiel: the musical trio Beats Antique.

Since the group’s conception in the wild underground of San Francsico’s performance art scene, Beats Antique has been notorious for making it nearly impossible to sit still. They meld their mediums as attentively as they fuse the cultures that inspire their sound. The trio create a unique collage: an animalistic, raw musical event that blurs the lines between the provocative, the spiritual, and the artistic, while still maintaining an allegiance to the muses of class and beauty.

The journey that led to Beats Antique today was a winding and twisted path from the San Francisco Bay Area, to the ancient trade routes of the silk road. The influence of their phenomenon spans centuries, with a long line of musical history and innovation behind every note and gesture. In this modern incarnation, the musical alliance of producers David Satori and Tommy Cappel is inspired and emphasized by their collaborative partnership with world-renowned belly dance performer and music producer Zoe Jakes.

David Satori and Tommy Cappel both trained classically before venturing to locations such as Bali, West Africa, and Serbia. With extensive backgrounds in multicultural music production, and the passports to prove it, Satori and Cappel command the spectrum of live and digital instrumentation.

Zoe Jakes adds a third dimension as the multi –cultural and –disciplinary dance counterpart to Beats Antique’s sound. Jakes is a member of 2 major dance troupes, Miles Copeland’s Bellydance Superstars and Rachel Brice’s Indigo Belly Dance Company, as well as a student of ballet and contemporary techniques. Jake’s additional history with Cappel in the Extra Action Marching Band and the Yard Dogs Road Show grants some insight into the caliber of performance that is Beats Antique’s standard.

All of this sets the scene for Beats Antique’s overtly ambitious stage show, a sensory overload conquest of the festival circuit’s most riotous events, such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits festival, and Outside Lands, as well as a catalog of proper tours that include a recent run with Les Claypool in early 2010. According to Satori, the trio is excited by their ability to create a huge sound from their relatively small setup. “It gives us this whole new world of musical opportunities that we’re just starting to scratch the surface of.”

In a prolific 3 years since Beats Antique emerged, the group has released 2 albums and a pair of EPs, with a third album, Blind Threshold, on the way. Notable features of the new release include vaporous violins and Danny Elfman-esque dementia; glitchy, laser-guided harmonica provided by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper; and 2 very different vocal tracks that range between restless pop hooks and vibrant Eastern European dance loops.

With their 2nd release having consistently held down number 1 on Amazon.com’s Middle Eastern category, reached the Top 10 list of most downloaded artists under World Dance, and pierced the Top 20 most downloaded electronica albums, the expectation of a massive cross-genre reception for this latest work is high.

Each facet of Beats Antique’s resume is a part of a much larger package that is best described as a lost art. Beats Antique is best imagined as an innovative creature built from the cumulative heritage of the world’s music chasing its tail. However vivid that image, when a marching band groove crashes into bluesy folk chords only to be chased by electronic beats and Middle Eastern melodies, you’ll still be surprised.





From coast to coast and beyond, the electronic music spectrum has shifted radically to the low end, generating ribcage-rattling blasts from the underground on up. Tucked away in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Boulder-Denver-Ft.Collins triangle is the epicenter of this low-frequency onslaught, producing some of the biggest names in the game. At the top of the heap is Aaron Holstein, a.k.a. VibeSquaD, a musical juggernaut and fearless vanguard in a flourishing scene. Circling the globe with his wholly original brand of bass exploration, VibeSquaD is reaching wider and wider audiences with his studio tracks and out-of-control live shows.

The VibeSquaD sound is a sonic culmination of decades of experimentation, innovation, and a propensity for what’s next. Raised just outside of Chicago, Aaron Holstein was exposed to early house, techno, electro, and hip-hop, becoming a crate-digger at a young age. Breaking was an obsession for the youngster, who came up on Sugar Hill Gang, Al-Naafish, and Art of Noise. Late-night parties at the YMCA later brought the underground dance music of the Second City into Holstein’s life—cementing his love for sweaty basements, jam-packed with heads ready to cut loose.

When Holstein discovered psychedelic music, and the scope of jam, jazz—and most importantly, funk—the guitar never left his hands, practicing upwards of 8 hours of a day. For all things funky, Holstein turned to the mighty Ohio River, for Parliament/Funkadelic bassist and Cincinnati’s favorite son Bootsy Collins, as well as the Ohio Players. Frank Zappa became a fixation for the young guitarist. “One Size Fits All was a life changer,” Holstein admits. To smooth out the rough edges of his funk and prog idols, he turned to six-string legends George Benson, Grant Green, and the man, himself: West Montgomery.

Incursions into the world of progressive, instrumental music put him under the tutelage of some of the finest musicians and professors on the East Coast, including the inimitable Yusef Lateef. Those strong technical and compositional fundamentals form the basis of his intricate productions—belying the “simplicity” of his dance floor bangers. Relentless touring with groundbreaking acts put Aaron smack dab in the middle of the world inhabited by progressive percussionists Michael Travis and Jamie Janover. The resulting collaboration, Zilla, would change the industry forever, fusing the jam and electronic scenes with the trio’s brand of live trance and breaks.

Perpetually on the prowl for that new sound, Holstein was far ahead of the curve, adding his signature sound to the bass-heavy style that was filtering over from the U.K. The 2006 inception of VibeSquaD at Symbiosis put Holstein at the forefront of the burgeoning bass craze. From his discombobulating beats and minimalist, gurgling bass on “Domepiece” from 2007’s Return of the Pudding People, to the flexed out kicks and bombastic wobbles—replete with his own signature pitched up hip-hop vocals—of “Flipping Acrobats” on 2010’s The FIRE, VibeSquaD has maintained his position, poised on the cusp of the next big sound while staying true to his unique voice. Over time, Holstein has carved out a distinctive niche, which blends his love for all things bass music, with the funk obsession of his youth. This bouncy, glitched-up, and wobbled-out style is most apparent on his latest EP, Remix Mashers Vol. 1, which opens with a rehashing of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Family Affair.” With four full-lengths, three EPs, and a slew of remixes out on forward-thinking labels Muti Music, Interchill, and Proboscis, Holstein is as prolific as he is a pioneer.

That being said, studio tracks can’t begin to prepare fans for VibeSquaD’s outrageous live performances. Bobbing up and down uncontrollably, arms raised with a permagrin plastered across his face, Holstein hits the stage full throttle, and doesn’t let up until every last spot on the floor is packed with bodies exhausted from a marathon dance session. 2011 has been a breakout year for Aaron, with marquee performances at Sonic Bloom, Electric Forest, and Wakarusa, where he played a sunrise set for a massive crowd. “It was one of the coolest moments I’ve ever had playing live,” Holstein said, “to see everyone dancing as the sun came up—it’s rare to see people in that context.” VibeSquaD has supported huge acts like Pretty Lights, Bassnectar, EOTO, and Tipper, but with his recent addition to super-agent Hunter Williams’ Progressive Global Agency, the time has come for Aaron to step up and step out. Having reached the next level, expect to see the VibeSquaD circus packing even bigger clubs, theaters, and festivals across the country, and around the world. The VibeSquaD has arrived.


Rising Appalachia

rising appalachia

Sisters Leah and Chloe tear into sound with sensual prowess as stages ignite revolutions and words light up spirit fires. Listen to their beautiful sound for poetic harmonies, soul singing, spoken word rallies, banjos, fiddles, many beats of drums, kalimbas, washboard rants, groove, and community building through SOUND. Joined by Imhotep on the New Orleans bass drum, Abram on contra bass, and Forrest on the beats, their style redefines performance. With a host of versatile collaborators on board expect anything from trumpet to beatboxing, poets to trapeze, and circus to burlesque. Rising Appalachia uses sound as a tool to spark a cultural evolution and birth a new movement, creating soul sounds for us all….

Having toured over 14,000 miles across the United States and gracing many stages around the world, Rising Appalachia’s vision and sound is quickly proving to be contagious to everyone it touches. Their shows have included and array of community-run venues and collective events, as well as the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, National Public Radio All Songs Considered, The School of Americas Vigil, Nunez Arts Festival New Orleans, Emory University Schwartz Center, The Floyd Festival, The Beacon Theater NYC, The Lake Eden Arts Festival, Radio Popular Italy, Guerilla Radio Amsterdam, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Highlander Center 75th Reunion, and many more.

Their prolific self-sculpted career has included 4 independently released full length albums which have sculpted a path for the new generation of music aficionados and created a new lens to understand the impact of global sound on the world at large. Having been raised in the American South soul music for breakfast and Appalachian lullabies at night, sisters Leah and Chloe have drawn great inspiration from their global family. Their mother and father claimed art and music as a fully expressed part of their lives and the girls have been shaped by the sounds of the South. They and their dedicated musical comrades have continued to use those powerful roots to find musical connections and community around the world…

Rising Appalachia has been voted “Green Album of the Year” by the Huffington Post, “Atlanta’s Best Folk Act” by the Creative Loafing, and have been written about in Paste Magazine, The New York Times, Performer Magazine, Dirty Linen, Sing Out, Anti-Gravity, Maverick and more. Their tours have taken them across Europe, through the Caribbean, into Central America, into the Indian subcontinent, and across the United States- making sacred sounds and elaborate stages wherever they go. They are creatively committed to keeping their work accessible at the local street level as well as expanding to larger audiences abroad, and have continued to maintain autonomy by self-managing, recording, producing, creating, and directing their work. They are greatly honored to do the work that they do.