UPDATE: Woodsist Festival is sold out for 2019.
Organizer Jeremy Earl grew up in Warwick, but only began playing music while studying printmaking at SUNY Purchase. It was there that he met multi-instrumentalist Jarvis Taveniere, who partnered with him four years after he founded indie rock mainstays Woods in 2005.
The pair moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn, and began self-releasing their own lo-fi folk-rock records, as well as those of their friends, on Earl’s own Woodsist record label.
At first, says Earl, “It was a hobby, I was dubbing tapes in my bedroom, putting out friends’ bands stuff and putting out my own stuff, and it evolved naturally from there.”
But as the band blew up, so did the label, until it began to take over Rear House, the building Earl shared with 5 other people in Bushwick. “There were record boxes everywhere in the living room, I was silkscreening t-shirts and album covers in the living room,” laughs Earl. “Stuff was everywhere.”
And so he decided to come back home. After renting a Warwick house for the label in 2010, Earl alternated Orange and Brooklyn counties until 2014, when he moved upstate fulltime. Today he lives in Stone Ridge with his wife and one-year-old daughter, running Woodsist out of a detached office and enjoying the slower pace his life has taken. “I’m a little more casual, a little slower paced,” he says. “The country life is definitely for me.”
Woodsist Festival Founder Jeremy Earl
Now that he’s settled in, Earl is trying to contribute to the local community. He wants to promote Kingston as a concert stop, and has been sinking into the local music scene. But by far the biggest development concerns his Woodsist Festival.
The festival’s first edition, held in 2009, was a collaboration with fellow upstart label Captured Tracks, and its lineup now reads like a dream indie lineup: Kurt Vile, Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, Woods, Thee Oh Sees; it was even one of Real Estate’s first shows. Earl discovered the Big Sur’s Henry Miller Library while touring through California, and held the festival there from 2010 to 2016. And now, after a year doing “Boogie in the Barn” in New Hampshire and another spent raising his newborn daughter, Earl is bringing it to Accord on September 28 in association with Impact Concerts.
2019’s edition will be held at Arrowood Farms, a field-to-glass brewery and home of 2018’s Dirt Farmer Festival. Headliners include Earl’s own Woods, the CSNY-isms of Whitney, songwriting royalty Waxahatchee, and the return of chill-princes Real Estate, in addition to a number of smaller acts who have recently released music on Woodsist.
Between the laid-back sounds, camping down the road at Rondout Valley Resort, and cap of 1,000 tickets, Earl wants Woodsist to represent a more relaxed version of a music festival, “a down-home hang with your friends and the bands.”
Arrowood will provide the drinks, and local food and craft vendors, as well as additional bands, remain to be announced. Prices are low, with an all-day, noon-to-curfew pass going for $75. Though Earl expects them to sell out, he isn’t terribly concerned about total sales. “Woodsist has always been a more intimate hidden location kind of festival,” he says. “It’s more about finding a beautiful location and having a good day with your friends.”