Brexit schmexit. Budget impasses. Crazy politicians. “When the world is running down...” Go plant a community seed.
Ask any veteran “Gardenstocker” where it’s at
and you’ll hear things like, “community”, “grass roots”, and “framily” (friend + family). But hey, what’s a small community of people know? Well turns out, a lot. The Gardenstock community has been sowing civil-minded seeds for the last 7 years now. What do all these artists, musicians, volunteers, and fest-goers know? Plant a community seed and things get done.
Time well spent with our youth plant seeds that can change the world. Ask Carol Novak and she’ll tell you it’s the memories we make that make life worth living. Recently retired, Carol spent the last forty years working with our area’s youth, most recently as Sinnissippi Centers Youth Garden Program coordinator; a non-traditional program that serves a variety of families in need and area youth. Primarily a service learning experience, the Youth Garden Program offers kids a way to connect with the community and give back. In the last decade she’s seen numerous kids from varied programs benefit and grow from their experience “in the garden”. Good memories shared with others set a stage for building a sense of community and self worth.
As Carol puts it, “We have two gardens; the plants and the kids.” Nurturing both is the essence of the Youth Garden Program the beneficiary of Gardenstock Art & Music Festival.
Monies raised by the Gardenstock community over the years are the single reason the program continues. Budget impasses and cuts have seriously threatened social service programs such as the Youth Garden Program. Each year, Gardenstocker troops rally for a day of art, music, fun and civic-minded flower power. The Sinnissippi Centers’ Youth Garden Program needs the Gardenstock community. That donation keeps the program alive.
What's New : Online Tickets, Tent Rental, Parking, Social Media
Social media coverage expands to include live streaming. Plans are in the works to capture backstage interviews with bands and perhaps music sets during the day.
Volunteers will have a new centralized volunteer-only area to hang out when off duty. Volunteers are instructed to check in at the Information Booth upon arrival. Limited volunteer positions may be available. Anyone interested in volunteering should message the Distinctive Gardens Facebook page.
#Gardenstock16 : The Official Hash Tag for this Year
Community Social Media aggregation continues through the official hashtag #gardenstock16. All community activity surrounding the #Gardenstock16 hashtag can be seen on the Distinctive Gardens website under under "Gardenstock Social Buzz".
Parking Gardenstock is focused on safety for 2016. 2015 traffic congested at the crosswalk between Hummel and Distinctive Gardens. To improve safety organizers eliminated the admissions gate closest to the road and the Hummel lot. Public parking will be offered in three lots. Order of fill as follows: 1. Distinctive Gardens (back grass lot), 2. Wendler (corner of Timber Creek Rd and Lowell Park Rd), and 3. Shopko (near the corner of Galena Ave. and Lowell Park Rd.) Three shuttles will run from noon until 11p servicing Wendler and Shopko lots. Carpooling is highly encouraged. Guests need to be prepared for parking diversions. Four parking lot status signs will be located along Lowell Park and Timber Creek roads.
Limited Tickets totaling 2500 are available this year. Ordering online is encouraged. Ticket Wristbands cost $8 online and $10 at the gate for adults 13 and up. Children wristbands cost $1 both online and at the gate. Once available tickets sell out, day of ticket purchases will cease.
Tent Reserve sold out in two days in 2014 and 2015. The 2015 system allowed specific tent number rentals. A few oversells occurred as a result of people ordering the same tent number at the same time. That system changes for 2016. Specific tent requests are no longer available. It will be general reservation online only. Thirty-nine tents throughout the grounds will be available for a general reserve price of $40. Orders will fill based on the order timestamp and availability. People should list at least their top ten favorite tent numbers in order of preference in the comments field on the online order. With overwhelming interest in tents it’s the only way organizers know to handle the demand fairly.
For the benefit of everyone, guests cannot bring large tables and tents onto festival grounds. This is so everyone can have a great view. However, coolers, blankets, lawn chairs and small, close-to-the-ground tables remain allowed. Tent reserve and limited ticket wristbands go on sale online, Monday, July 18, 2016 at 7:00 a.m. on the Distinctive Gardens website: www.diggersdelight.com.
11:00 - 12:00 Acoustic Circus
12:15 - 1:15 Celestial Motion Wagon
1:30 - 2:30 Matt fichter
2:45 - 3:45 The Mississippi Stranglers
4:00 - 5:00 Ashley Bean Band
5:15 - 6:15 Anne Hills
6:30 - 7:45 Team Goodvibes
8:00 - 9:15 Bertoletti Family Band
9:30 - 11:00 The Dirty Beet Brothers
Get Your Groove On
Opening the show at 11:00, Acoustic Circus kick off the party with high energy sounds that make you want to get up and dance. Acoustic Rock, Newgrass, Folk, Country Blues is just the tip of the berg for this veteran band. Musical mates for years, Cathy Cecchetti, Steve Catron, and Andres Quintata have closed Gardenstock in the past and this year kick off the day with electric / acoustic rock in the vein of jam and festival music. Solid rhythm, impressive leads and great vocals make for a fun show.
Next up the jam continues at 12:15, with new band, Celestial Motion Wagon. This young band dishes up a blues-rock psychedelic groove train of cosmic proportions. They focus on original music and have performed in cities from Kansas City to Colorado Springs. Currently working on their first full-length album the band hopes to release it sometime this year. Fat bass lines anchor vocals and melodies that mash up like a cross between Jack White and Jack Bruce. So what you have there might be described as pure white cream coming out of the cornfields of Illinois.
The Midwest not only raises fat bass licks but killer pickers as well. If you dig an acoustic guitar that gets worked over like a drum then this next musician is yours. 1:30 brings on the foot stomping, acoustic rock, blues, soul of Matt Fichter. Matt raises the bar on what can be done on the body of an acoustic guitar. Picking out incredible licks and using that hollow body as a drum Matt takes you on an acoustic voyage that will get you up and on your feet. As Matt likes to put it, “Bring your stomp. Bring your laughter. Bring your voice. Always remember, and never forget, without you music cannot exist.”
People complete the music circle. This next band knows that all too well. 2:45, hailing from McHenry, Illinois, new band, The Mississippi Stranglers hit the main vein of American Music. From folk to progressive rock they cover a spectrum that spans from front porch hoedowns to traditional garage rock offering something for everyone. The band is always writing and recording, putting out new songs that are always free for fans to download. The current line up of the Stranglers features Neal Ernst and long time friend Kurt Carlson with Garrett Pedersen, David Young and drummer Matt Ford. With their lo-fi till you die, garage rock, sonic Americana music for the people by the people approach, The Mississippi Stranglers truly are an original "American band”.
From lo-fi to church choir, 4:00, rock out with Ashley Bean Band. Ashley C. Bean is a 21-year-old rocker out of Peoria Illinois. Interested in music early on at 10 she was playing licks on guitar and cutting her musical teeth through her church worship band where she continues to this day. Her influences include: Cathy Reynolds, four time CIA Gospel Artist of the Year, Chase Smith (Shadows Incorporated), Mike Isenberg of the International acclaimed family band, The Jets, back-up musician, Rusty Hall, and John Coulter. Her music has been compared to Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Evanescence as well as Alice In Chains. Ashley would say it is Classical meets Rock. All of the lyrics and music are original and passionate.
If the former was classical meets rock this next performer could be classical voice meets hardcore folk. 5:15 trekking in from Bethlehem, PA, Anne Hills steps on stage to share pristine soprano voice and exceptional lyrics.
“Anne Hills is such an exquisite singer that it’s understandable that people might be swept up in the pure beauty of her voice and thereby overlook her writing. That would be a mistake. For me, Anne’s writing, in songs like ‘follow that road’ and many others, is as direct, melodic and deep as any work being done today. She is quite simply one of my absolute favorite songwriters.” – Tom Paxton
Anne Hills has become one of the better known voices of the contemporary folk music scene, receiving awards and recognition for her live performances (2009 Bound for Glory live radio show favorite- Ithaca, NY), her unique solo and collaborative recording projects (2001 WAMMIE for duet CD with Tom Paxton, Under American Skies), and her overall artistry and benefit work (2002 Kate Wolf Award, Carole Robertson Award & Kerrville Female Vocalist of the Year 1997). Her song “Follow That Road” was the title cut of the Martha’s Vineyard Songwriter Retreat and has enchanted audiences for over a decade. Whether she is singing her own song, the words of 6-year-old Opal Whiteley, or the Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley; accompanied with her guitar, banjo, or simply a Tibetan bell, she puts her whole heart and soul into the moment. So, even if you haven’t become familiar with her voice (featured often on XM/Sirius Folk Radio, The Midnight Special & many other folk shows) you won’t want to miss a chance to hear her songs and stories in person. She’s just begun touring more extensively, winning over audiences with her warm, lively and humorous performances. The AllMusic Guide says, “A stunning soprano tone has made Anne Hills one of contemporary music’s premiere vocalists ... Her knack for writing heartfelt songs [has] brought her to the upper echelon of her craft.”
6:30 brings back the guys for down south. Team Goodvibes made their debut appearance in 2015 and captured hearts with their upbeat sound, smart lyrics and good old fashion reggae folk fun. Brothers Colt and Chris Ball and band mate, Brandon Elliot write songs that get you thinking set to tunes that get you dancing.
What happens when an Irish girl meets an Italian man? Up next at 8:00 the Bertoletti Family Band makes their first appearance on the Gardenstock stage. Lurking around Chicago's South Side you may find the Bertoletti Family Band holed up in a bar playing a mix of old soul, traditionals, originals and an occasional Elvis song for good measure. The nine fingered leader "King" Louis Bertoletti started all the kids on music at an early age. He surrounds himself with daughters Susan on drums and Sheila on piano, accordion and organ. Son in Law Joe Ryan "Was lucky enough to marry in,” says the King. He plays guitar, harp and offers originals. Distant cousin Greg "Eggy" Maravolo plays bass. All members contribute on vocals and drink Jameson. Joining the band at Gardenstock will be backup singers Deb "Bulldog" Bertoletti and Aunt Chris Delaney. Put on your dancing shoes and be ready to grind it out on the dance floor. "We aint perfect, but we're damn fun" says the King.
Talk about fun. In 2015 this next band had the crowd in frenzy. This year they’re looking to “blow the roof off” according to band member, Kelly Collinson. Closing the show at 9:30, brings out The Dirty Beet Brothers. With lightening speed and heart pounding energy this tightly knit band transports audience hearts and minds into a good ole fashioned hootenanny “Beet-style”. Front man and multi-instumentalist, Neil Kulupka is a singer songwriter with a passion for keeping old timey sounds new and fresh. Partnering up with life long friends, and musical soul mates Kelly Collinson, Nate Kendrick, along with Steve Catron, Paul Pack and, new guitarist, Eric Mullan, the group has been able to bring to fruition a life long vision of what the band could sound like with right group of people and the right chemistry.
Art Alley Opens at 10:00 a.m.
The Art Festival grows to 46 of the region’s best artists artists showcasing a variety of unusual art and fine craft from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is packed with veteran Gardenstockers: Sinnissippi Center Garden Program kids selling handmade tie-dye t-shirts; jewelers, Kimberly Clark, Heather Shore, Sasha Tweel, Natalie Picchi, Kristin Jones, Ellen Repass, Dale Curry; painters, Tim Drane, Ken Reif, Sydni Reubin, Jessica Lopez, Deb Cleary, Emily Garcia, Betty Love, Victoria Sels, Gina Fiorini-Frank; sculptor, Sloane Wolfe; photographers, Brian Lutz, Tina Rockwell, Kevin Smoot; ceramicists, Carol Deibert, Bob Milano; and mixed media artists, Heather Houzenga, Brittany Waterhouse, Laura Miller, Crystal Collinson, Amber Goldie, Henry Matthiessen, Natalie Gordon, Jane Forrest-Zia, Cindy Bielefeldt, Lisa Anderson, Jayne DeMarco, Linda Von Holten, Judi Alvarado Kickel, and Susi Alvarado Daniel. New artists include: painters “Boxx Zop” Aaron Sobremonte and Julie Engh; jewelers, Kimberly Ellis, Robyn Terwilliger; mixed media, Laura McGarvey, Lee Ann Breitbach, Lauren Stokes and Phillip Hawbaker.
Houston, Texas artist, Aaron Sobremonte, "BOXX ZOP" will create a mural live at Gardenstock.
The Tie Dye Contest
The Tie Dye Contest grew again to over 40 entries last year. Fest goers can enter by getting their picture taken between 11:00-3:00 p.m. Voting begins on Facebook between 3:00-6:00 p.m. Most ‘likes’ on Gardenstock’s Facebook Tie Dye Contest Album wins.
The Raffle and 50/50 Drawing
This year's raffle has close to three dozen donations. A catalog of their offerings can be found at the Gardenstock page on Distinctive Gardens website as well as the Gardenstock Facebook page's 2016 Donation Album. Buy raffle and 50/50 tickets at the Info Booth starting at 11:00 or from raffle ticket sellers. Raffle drawing times: 2:30, 3:45, 5:00, 6:15 p.m. 50/50 drawing is at 7:45 p.m.
Gardenstock is ''picnic style'' meaning you can bring your own chair or blanket and cooler or beverage. From 11 – 8 p.m., food vendors offer a fine range of beverage and cuisine such as Italian by Mama Cimino's, barbeques and desserts by Baker Street Café, loaded Italian beef sandwiches by Kokomo's, amazingly good-for-you food by Art & Soul Cafe and smoothies by Air Play Sports and Espresso.
Pack your coolers, throw the kids in the car, and grab that favorite tie-dye. It's Gardenstock time! It will be the best bang for your cultural buck in town, Saturday, August 20, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. at Distinctive Gardens in Dixon, IL.
The Sinnissippi Centers' Youth Garden Program provides valuable hands-on gardening experiences for at risk youth involved with Sinnissippi and is a great tool to open lines of communication. The Gardening Program serves as an add-on to regular services and utilizes both consumers and individuals from the community to raise produce from a vegetable garden that in turn is donated to the Dixon Food Pantry.