Now in its 23rd year, the Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival may have found its forever home at The Goshen Fairgrounds in Goshen, CT. Rich James, long time festival organizer, tells us that attendance was up and on Friday they had to triple the size of the parking area thanks to a wave of new day trippers. Now located less than thirty miles from Hillsdale, NY, Podunk’s experienced crew have created an atmosphere here much like the one many of us enjoyed in the mid ’90s at Winterhawk. Althought it is still early Saturday morning as I write, it is clear that this festival is a hands down slam dunk!
The fairgrounds and buildings set the stage for a well run festival which has plenty of bathrooms, shade, and a full range of camping options – rough camping, electric and water sites – and all of them on flat, open ground. The large airy farm buildings offer comfortable sheltered places for Podunk’s trading post, workshops, and a showcase stage where they hold late night jams hosted by main stage artists. The main stage itself is reminiscent of the one at the Rothvoss farm in Ancramdale, and there is not a bad seat in the place.
As in previous years, the Podunk volunteers welcome folks with a genuine desire to help them get settled in and find whatever they need. The addition of being able to hear the main stage performances in your campsite thanks to the University of Hartford radio station WWUH (91.3 on the dial), is an appreciated detail for everyone who can’t make it to the show or are left behind in the campsite to make dinner and tend to buisness.
Most enjoyable for us is meeting first time attendees, many who are quite honestly startled by Podunk’s pleasant size, its pastoral setting, the excellent line up of musicians, and the general feeling of a welcoming stress-free festival. Their looks of delighted surprise reminds us of the way we felt when we first attended Podunk twenty years ago in East Hartford, and knew we’d found a bluegrass gem. We have seen many faces and friends from other New England festivals here as well, and the general feeling is that attending Podunk 2020 is a foregone conclusion.
It is on the calendar and we plan to see each other again next year right here in Goshen.