In Borderland at Knox Farm State Park, good music, atmosphere

In Borderland at Knox Farm State Park, good music, atmosphere
In Borderland at Knox Farm State Park, good music, atmosphere

The Borderland Music and Art Festival was designed as a two-day event built around a community vibe that emphasizes a laid-back air of relaxation versus the relentless intensity of many major festivals across the country.

This atmosphere permeated the second day of the festival on Sunday.

Since its debut in 2018, Borderland has been super cool. The breathtaking location in the sprawling Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora sets that vibe. There’s plenty of room to spread out, the staff are plentiful and very pleasant, and the amenities are plentiful. The prevailing air of sustainability awareness and attention to the natural beauty of the park gives this feeling of escaping the bustle for a more bucolic and laid back reality.

And then there is the music.

Borderland creator and East Aurora native Jennifer Brazill cut her teeth working in the jam band and bluegrass niches of the music industry, and she brings that experience to Borderland. However, over the past five years the festival has spread its wings, expanding to encompass indie and modern alternative music, and this year welcoming jazz, funk, R&B and soul to the party.

Fans cheer during Michael Franti’s performance at the Borderland Music and Art Festival at Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

Joseph Cooke/Buffalo News

On Sunday, a main stage and local stage spread across the grounds and stables at Knox Farm State Park hosted a beautifully curated mix of local and national bands and performers. And the main stage was ready to welcome the headliner of the Flaming Lips late on Sunday evening.

By the time Buffalo’s power-soul ensemble Miller and the Other Sinners reached the main stage at noon, the crowd – made up of alumni from Saturday’s festival, which included a high-profile headlining performance of the Portugal. The Man, along with the one-day attendees, had pledged to get rid of the cobwebs from the night before and let the music do its job. This meant dancing in front of the stage, most likely before most of those present had even had their first coffee of the day.

Bluegrass + Bloody Marys with A Girl Named Genny helped the crowd kick off the day on the local stage before rising Delaware jam quintet Dogs in a Pile kicked into high gear on the main stage. The young band were already known to Buffalo audiences after a very well-received set at Buffalo Iron Works earlier this year. On Sunday, he played an hour of tight, exploratory and thoroughly engaging music, enhanced by dynamic interaction and – there’s no other way to put it – killer jams and improvisations.

Spafford followed with an equally exceptional set, mixing an amiable 70s vibe with some flamboyant forays into Phish-land, particularly in the guitar department.

On the local scene, a large crowd vibrated to the sound of the laid-back folk and country of the Stove Pipes. Throughout it all, patrons strolled through the vendor village inside the Knox Farm stables, indulged in artisanal foods and drinks, prepared for the rest of the evening, which was to be include sets from Walter Kemp 3, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass, the infamous Stringdusters, Critt’s Juke Joint and headlining The Flaming Lips, whose considerable array of stage props could be seen assembled on the main stage while throughout the day, like a distant symbol of the good times to come.

Borderland 2022 has gone a long way in cementing this regional festival’s burgeoning reputation as one of the best seasonal gatherings in the Northeast.

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. Borderland Knox Farm State Park good music atmosphere Music

. Borderland Knox Farm State Park good music atmosphere

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