Festival Insider: An Interview w/ Tony Scavone, creator of Disc Jam Music Festival
Hosting festivals are a huge undertaking between talent buying, logistics, permits, planing, staffing, marketing, and more. One of the most diverse, unique concept events in the tri-state to surface in the last decade is the annual Disc Jam Music Festival. Held annually in New York, this gem is one of the few music community centric experiences that appeals to almost anyone who appreciates a solid weekend of sounds in a non-corporate setting. We were pleased to have an opportunity to connect with Tony Scavone, talent buyer of Electric Haze in Worcester, MA and owner / founder of Disc Jam Music Festival in Stephenstown, New York!
1) Disc Jam is quickly coming up just 3 weeks. How's preparation going?
TS: Preparation is coming along great! We have a lot of new and innovative ideas on how we are going to make the festival better for everyone involved. We have a great team working around the clock to bring this years festival goer the ultimate experience all around.
2) The venue's great. I haven't been to it since Bella Terra. Tell music fans how the fest is laid out this year.
TS: The layout will be very similar to last years festival. The main stage is split into two stages that are in constant rotation, meaning, once a band is finished the next one will be sound checked and ready to start right away on the other side. This way there’s no real gap between sets. Then we have the vendors set up along the edges of the main field. Beyond that will be the tent stage which will host a bunch of great bands including this years late night sets. We also have our wood stage located just over the river, that will mostly consist of performances from our DJS/Producers. Also in the woods beyond the creek will be our Disc Golf course! We will hold our Disc Golf tournaments here and it will be open throughout the weekend for everyone and anyone who wants to get involved!
3) Your lineup is really diverse and it's not often people can see so many types of things in one place. Some readers may not be familiar with the acts if they only support one kind of music. Please elaborate on some of the unique musical treats you've gathered for 2016.
TS: Well, this year we are very happy to have Dopapod back for their sixth year headlining the festival. They are playing two sets this year but one will be a very special set titled “Dopapod Orchestra”. Who will be involved remains to be seen but we can guarantee it will be one for the books! We also have Dub Apocalypse featuring Ed Mann of Frank Zappas band on vibraphones and Sleepy Wonder and Ashish Vyas from Thievery Corporation Live band. Thieverys' Drummer Jeff Franca will be there as well with his project Congo Sanchez so be on the look out for some collaborations. We have a very special “Radiohead” set from Consider the Source as well as a “David Bowie” set from fan favorite Hayley Jane and the Primates. Capadonna of the famed Wu-Tang clan will be in the house as well. Throughout the weekend there will be “Artists at Large” roaming the grounds sitting in with various bands. These artists include 6/9 of Turkuaz and Ryan Dempsey of Twiddle who we imagine will join his bandmates Mihali Savoulidis and Zdenek Gubb for their performance in their side project Gubbulidis. Let’s not forget Electron, which is a supergroup consisting of Marc Brownstein, Mike Greenfield, Tom Hamilton and Aron Magner. They are returning for their second year in a row and are sure to bring the jams back to intense levels once again.
4) You do a lot of "road to" events for this fest. Who have been some of the standouts musically you think are some of the "not to miss" sets for this year?
Kung Fu, Aqueous, Teddy Midnight, Strange Machines, Pink Talking Fish.
5) How did the concept for this festival come about?
I’ve always been a big fan of Disc Golf. It’s a great way to get out of the house and exercise while having fun and seeing some great sights. Since I promote and book shows, the combination of adding Disc Golf and music was a no brainer. A diverse way to bring people together for a truly fantastic time!
6) This festival is also advertised as being family friendly. That can definitely be a challenge for music lovers with kids. How does Disc Jam make families feel welcome?
We're putting together a group for parents bringing their little ones to Disc jam. There will be a designated family camping area, along with fun children activities and workshops. Face painting, arts & crafts, a costume parade, and mini golf are just a few of the activities that will be there! So bring the kids and we'll bring the fun! :)
7) Your festival also has a lot of different kinds of art. What are some of the displays people can look forward to encountering in their weekend?
On top of the 10+ artist collective members live painting, displaying, selling and creating art all weekend we have graffiti spray artists doing huge murals through out the venue. We also have on site art installations this year are going to be interactive pieces that attendees can help and be a part of, its really going to take the art side of things to a new level.
8) What's the hardest part of being a festival organizer?
The waiting. Waiting for the show can seem like an eternity as the festival gets months closer and then it gets faster and faster and before I know it we're setting up the stages, the parking lots, the campgrounds and people are showing up. Its really quite bizarre how all I want it to do is get here then all I want it to do is last forever and before I know its over and the people leave and the trash is picked up and the wait starts all over again.
9) What other projects are you working on that music fans should watch for?
Well I do a few big events per year. The past four years I’ve done a New Years show at the Palladium here in my hometown of Worcester MA. Bands that have played include Dopapod, Kung Fu and Twiddle. You can expect another one this year. We also held a Disc Jam Halloween Horror Camp this past year and hope to have that continue. I also book shows at Electric Haze in Worcester which I aim to bring many diverse artists and bands to on a weekly basis.