Brokenstring music festival returns for 7th year

Photo from Facebook

Brokenstring is back, and bringing the “Justice League” of local music to Warren County.

For the seventh year, the regional music festival, taking place at the Brokenstraw Fish and Game Club in Youngsville the weekend of August 17 to 19, will be bringing together regional musicians, most with local ties to Warren County.

The event, according to founder Sebastian Cristea, is above all else a gathering, a community, and a celebration of music in general, and of local music in particular.

Cristea himself has been “kind of a band dork,” as he puts it, all his life.

A graduate of Warren Area High School, Cristea was in jazz band, marching band, orchestra, and basically any other musical outfit he could get involved with as a student. He also took as much advantage as possible of local bands playing public shows in the 1990’s.

“Warren County’s always had a huge amount of local musicians,” said Cristea. “But a lot of them when we started the festival weren’t playing locally.”

One was hard-pressed to find live local music in local venues back then.

Back then being 2012, when the first Brokenstring festival first went down.

By that time, said Cristea, the local music scene had died out significantly.

“I was not happy about that,” he said.

Cristea felt compelled to revive it.

“Warren’s always had a great underground music scene,” he said. “I didn’t want us to lose that.”

Cristea wanted to bring that scene right up front and into the public eye with his festival. Having played in five bands himself, he said he started talking with the musicians he knew of, who started to spread the word as well. That first year, around seven or eight bands played.

This year, there will be 20-plus bands playing over the course of the three-day festival.

Gates open at 5 p.m. on Friday, with bands beginning at 8 p.m. and playing until 4 a.m.

Saturday morning will see the party come back to life around 11 a.m., with bands starting outside and moving inside again at 8 p.m., with shows ending at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Sunday morning is basically a wrap-up with breakfast, camp tear-down, and clearing the site being the order of business.

“The outdoor stuff starts with a more acoustic style,” said Cristea, with the bands getting “a little wilder and crazier” as the night goes on, and as the event moves inside. A variety of genres are represented at Brokenstring, Cristea said, from blues to alternative and everything in between.

The festival represents Cristea’s “passion, at a loss.

“I’m happy if I just break even (financially),” he said of the event. “It’s not about making money. It’s about getting people who are dedicating their time and energy to their passion” of getting a band together, or keeping one together, together to share their work.

It’s about providing a venue not just where bands can perform, but where music lovers of all roles can network, where fans can interact with musicians in a free-flowing and laid back atmosphere, and where all music lovers celebrate their passion for music and entertaining.

The Brokenstring Music Festival is a “bracelet situation,” explained Cristea.

The cost — $15 — buys each attendee the opportunity to enjoy bands over the course of the entire three days, as well as parking and overnight camping spots.

The festival is a bring-your-own event, meaning that everyone in attendance must be 21 years of age or older, and no alcohol is provided by the festival.

Cristea said that the price of the festival is intentionally kept low so that people can feel free to take in as much music as possible at a reasonable cost.

“I don’t want it to be a financial burden for people to come hear some great local music,” said Cristea.

The event usually sees around 100 musicians in attendance, as well as another 100 to 200 attendees.

Attendance waxes and wanes each year, said Cristea, often due to weather, but is always well-attended.

Bands this year hail from Pittsburgh, Jamestown (NY), Rochester (NY), and, of course, Warren County, among other places, and include: Sumpin’ Lil; Morganthius; Slow Motion Breakdown; Boiled Denim; Darth Perm; Treasure Plate; Cold Lazarus; Ryan Kinal; Brian McCormick; Nora Kuzminski; Reefer Kinfefight; Akrasia; Douglas and the Iron Lung; Hoffman Rd. Band; $4 Mistake; The Elektra Kings; Mickey and the Snake Oil Boys; The Noise Upstairs; Feverhawk; Porno Tongue, and Trip the Deuce.

Find the Brokenstring Music Festival on Facebook for more information.