MASON COUNTY — It’s time to go back to the garden, or rather, back to Apple Tree Drive for the Sweatstock Music Festival.
What is Sweatstock you ask?
Sweatstock is a day of free music and free food at the home of Steve Thomas who owns 35 acres of property just outside Point Pleasant - this year’s festival is on Saturday, July 14 and starts at around 11 a.m. and ends at 2 a.m., Sunday July 15. There are two stages at the festival and the music literally goes on all day - when one band finishes on one stage, the next band is ready to go on the other. There are no gaps in the music.
Thomas said Sweatstock actually began in the 1980’s, with a show that year and again in 1982. Then three years ago the festival came back but with the same goal mind - to give something back to the people at no cost.
“The whole thing strictly works off our pocket money and donations, we provide free food, water and the musicians donate their time,” Thomas said.
The festival will include local talent as well as bands from Ohio and Kentucky, the Charleston and Huntington areas and beyond. The bands scheduled to perform are Two River Junction, Crazy Jane, Adam Benz Band, Bunkhammer, The Woolly Bushman, John Hathaway Band w Allen Hatten, 40 LB Snapper, The Magic Mama Band, Paul Doeffinger and Tweed Jacket, The Blue Z Band, Small Batch, Sasha Colette and the Magnolias, 5:42, The Dub-V’s.
Thomas, whose nickname is “Sweat” (hence the name Sweatstock) said last year around 500 people showed up and he’s expecting around 1,000 this year. Word of mouth has spread about the event from year to year and Thomas said because of this low key approach, there’s been no trouble at the shows and good crowds.
A potluck type of lunch will be served and then at around 5:30 p.m. a hog roast will be served up - again, all for free. There will be an area set aside for primitive tent camping and coolers are permitted though no bottles are allowed. Also, Thomas is stressing those coming to the festival carpool when they can to help cut down on the space used for parking - some handicapped parking will be made available. There will also be a paramedic on site as well as restroom facilities. Again, the festival is at 672 Apple Tree Drive or as Thomas put it, turn on to Greer Rd. and follow the signs.
Thomas said there will be prize drawings and some T-shirt giveaways and the bands will be selling merchandise. He stressed the festival is not about making money and he just hopes to break even. Whatever money is not spent after the festival is over and paid for, will go to the Disabled American Veterans.
“That’s what this is all about, it’s not about making any money because we don’t make a dime on it…it’s about providing a good day,” Thomas explained.
For more information on Sweatstock go to its Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Sweatstock.