Nor’easter 2011 Recap
When I first heard that the 2011 Nor’easter Festival was going to be held in Burlington, Vermont my initial reaction was: “My God. We’re going to take over the town.”
While our weekend-long celebration of outdoor sports, music and conservation fell a bit short of a full-scale occupation, the outdoor community made its presence felt in a very big way and we’ve got a ton of photos and video to prove it.
The festivities kicked off on Friday, September 23rd with the running of the SmartWool Ridiculissima sponsored by Merrell. Over 400 costumed runners had an absolute blast as they made the mad dash from downtown Burlington to Waterfront Park. Best of all, thanks to $15 donations per runner from SmartWool and Merrell, over $7,000 was raised for Vermnont flood victims of Hurricane Irene.
For the full Ridiculissima experience, check out Aimee Tetreault from NE2C’s video recap:
Friday also featured a remarkable display of mountain bike talent from professional stunt rider Mike Steidley. In recent years, Mike has entertained thousands of Eastern Mountain Sports customers at new store openings. He has a rare combination of strength, courage and precision although if you ask me, the volunteer in the photo below deserves HIS own show.
Also kicking off on Friday was the vendor village where festival goers got to interact with their favorite outdoor brands and score all kinds of swag from free coffee and Clif Bar samples to posters, t-shirts and water bottles. Reps from top brands like Merrell, Keen, The North Face, Black Diamond, Petzl, Gregory, Salomon, MSR, Nemo Equipment, Thule, and Camelbak all came strong and answered every question thrown there way, and as usual, the crew from SmartWool kept festival goers entertained all weekend long.
The afternoon was dominated by the sights and sounds of the qualifying rounds of The North Face Open – the final stop on the Unified Bouldering Championships Pro Tour that began in February with the ABS Nationals in Boulder, CO and continued into New York City at the Eastern Mountain Sports Pro in June before concluding at the Nor’easter. Dozens of climbers pushed themselves on hellatiously difficult routes before hundreds of supportive spectators – it was an inspiring sight to behold.
Friday night concluded with the much anticipated performance from RJD2. At the risk of showing my age, I must confess that I had no idea who RJD2 was before he was announced on the bill but Peter our marketing intern assured me that the guys at NE2C had made a very big score. I knew I was in for a wild ride the instant the first notes of “A Beautiful Mine” (known better to me as the theme song to my favorite show, Mad Men) burst through the speakers. The crowd erupted and didn’t stop moving throughout the one-hour set that covered just about every musical genre under the sun. It was a fantastic show from a one-of-a-kind performer who shared some interesting thoughts with Ben from Thread Magazine.
Saturday brought a flood of activity to throughout every corner of the Nor’easter. Unfortunately, it also brought a bit of rain which made the cyclocross race an even bigger spectacle of speed and skill with along with a healthy dose of slop.
You’ll find more magnificently muddy photos like the one above along with a great recap and race results compliments of Hunt Manley from CultureCycles.com. To learn more about the sport of cyclocross from one of the most passionate people in the business, check out Aimee Tetreault’s interview with Adam Myerson.
Rain delayed the semi-finals of the North Face Open scheduled for Saturday morning but the skies cleared in the afternoon for a jam-packed finals event with a larger than expected field which made for an even more intense competition.
For more photos from the comp and a thorough breakdown of the action, check out Amy Parulis’ Flashes of Greatness blog post as well the official highlight reel below:
Saturday night brought the biggest crowd of the weekend to the main stage. Where I needed a little background on Friday’s headliner RJD2, I needed no such info on G. Love and Special Sauce who I’ve seen twice before and who’s album Oh Yeah ranks high on my personal list of favorite albums.
G. Love brought his A game in the form of a mix of bluesy tunes from his new album Fixin’ to Die and old favorites including Walk to Slide, Shootin’ Hoops, Cold Beverage and of course, Baby Got Sauce. Whether you’re new to the G. Love phenomenon or an old fan like me, you’re sure to appreciate the behind-the-scenes interview he gave Aimee Tetreault from NE2C.
RJD2 and G. Love were just two of twenty-two bands that performed throughout the weekend at the Nor’easter main stage and downtown at City Hall. For even more photos, videos, comments and reviews about the 2011 Nor’easter, check out the festival fan page on Facebook and be sure to follow @NoreasterFest on Twitter for updates on next year’s event. Where will we be in 2012 and who will be there? As soon as we recover from 2011, we’ll be sure to let you know!