That was a real conversation a local reader had with a pouty 23 yr. old and I am sure many of you can relate. As they tried to describe to her why Woodstock was such a pivotal event in music history, she asked, “how was it different from any other music festival?” Suffice it say, it was quite difficult to relay the singularity of Woodstock, they soon gave up.
As Baltimore’s 2nd annual Stanstock Music Festival nears, one might ask the same question as our beloved 23 yr. old; What’s so special about Stanstock? This time there is an answer, and heads up its not the music.
Most people came to Woodstock for the music and a lot of people will come to Stanstock this coming weekend for great music performed by 30 Baltimore bands who having been rocking fans for several decades, but what truly makes this festival extraordinary is something totally different, starting with its founder, Stan Gibson.
Gibson, an accomplished musician from Baltimore marks gigging onstage as a teen with John Denver on the old Kirby Scott show as his fondest music memory. He started one of the most popular Facebook pages in the state aptly named “Baltimore Bands from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s” in 2012. In less than 2 years the page has nearly 7000 members and counting. It is “the” place for musicians in the region to coalesce, network and share. The idea of Stanstock was born out of this overwhelming support for Baltimore / Maryland bands and in 2013 the first Stanstock festival was held in Parkville.
This year Stanstock will be bigger, better and bolder. Ticket sales will not go to the musicians – they donate their time and talents to this event in gratitude to Stan and the many Marylanders that have supported live music throughout the years. The money goes to the Nichole Van Horn Trust Fund in support of pediatric cancer research; a legacy of yet another local musician’s family struck with the disease, and the always worthy Wounded Warrior Project.
So what is this magic we speak of? Stan Gibson himself tells CCL “ . . . there are NO Words to describe the feeling of magic that is in the air at this event.” Some Stanstock festival goers have tried though; “Stanstock changed my life,” says one Stanstock alumni, the bonds she created there have endured she writes.
If you visit Stanstock.org or the Baltimore Bands page, you can still read the sometimes mythical accounts of Stanstock I. One musician member on the Baltimore Bands page tells the story of him and his bandmates hustling their way backstage at Merriweather Post back in the day to see Crosby Stills & Nash. In conversation from one musician to another, Steven Stills imparted this nugget of wisdom to him:
“When the band is ON, and everything is exactly as you want it, he called it, “THE PERFECT ONE NOTE”.
Stills understood one simple truth; that music is greater than the sum of its parts and that bringing musicians and fans together at a festival is ultimately about something greater than lots of well-played music, its about being a part of something that would not exist without you. The music just flows from that.
So there, pouty millennial…good music festivals are a dime a dozen. The great ones change your life forever.
To learn more about Stanstock, visit http://www.Stanstock.org.