Dangermuffin performs at Sleepy Creek HarFest 2019. (Photos by Chester Simpson; Words by Michael Tucker)
Sleepy Creek HarFest: The Place Where We Belong
Each time I go to Sleepy Creek, it feels like coming home. Although I attend a few bigger festivals each year featuring the bleeps, bloops, and synth-knob twiddling of Jamtronica I love so much, Sleepy Creek owns my heart. It’s like that favorite worn in pair of jeans that fit just right or a pair of super comfy pajama pants perfect for lounging at home. Just as importantly, the truly wonderful people who run, staff, and attend Sleepy Creek Presents events create the perfect environment for family, fun, creativity, connection, enjoyment of musical artistry as diverse as the American landscape, and, perhaps most importantly, Sleepy Creek gives festival attendees a place where they can be themselves.
During my weekend adventure at HarFest 2019 in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, on Oct. 4-6, I saw a bumper sticker on an RV that sums up my experience; it read: “There is no alternative to being yourself” — and Sleepy Creek is exactly that: a place where we can be ourselves, a place where we belong.
The Jeff Austin Band headlines SpringDig on May 4, 2019. (Photos by Chester Simpson; Words by Michael Tucker)
SpringDig is always a special event for me because it’s the first festival of the year that I attend; on top of that, my lovely partner Tara and I have the great honor of working hospitality for the bands and crew of the event which means we provide them with food, cold drinks, and a comfortable area to chill, recharge, or practice. And so, we were happy to be at Sleepy Creek SpringDig 2019 on May 3-5 in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
(Empire Strikes Brass and Danny Moore in a red mask lead a parade at Sleepy Creek HarFest 2018 on Oct. 5, 2018. Photos by Chester Simpson; Words by Michael Tucker)
When I look back at every festival I attend, there is a definitive moment where everything clicks, and I have an epiphany of sorts wherein I come to understand what that festival means to me.
Black Masala lead a parade at Sleepy Creek SpringDig 2018. (Photo by Chester Simpson)
Sleepy Creek SpringDig returned May 4-6, 2018 for its fifth year to the region’s favorite family-friendly venue, Sleepy Creek on the Potomac in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The annual camp-out offers a stellar line-up of local roots music and national superstars, with added attractions such as playgrounds and parades. Chester Simpson took some photos of this year’s Sleepy Creek SpringDig, and folk musician Sally Mae Foster wrote some words to accompany them!
This Way to the Egress perform at HarFest 2017. (Photo by Chester Simpson)
Sleepy Creek actually started over 10 years ago as a house party on the hill at the venue owners’ property in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia every Apple Butter Weekend.