SHERMAN - Area residents gathered under the cover of the night sky to celebrate the first evening of the Night Lights at the Heron Fall Music Festival Friday.
Including Friday, the fall festival will feature two nights of live music by nearly 20 regional and nationally touring musicians. Friday evening's lineup included: Aqueous, Universe Shark, The Heavy Pets, Space Junk, Shotgun Jubilee, John E. Old School, The Manhattan Project and Family Funktion and the Sitar Jams.
A crowd braved the elements near the Cafe In The Woods to experience the wonders of the Night Lights Fall Festival. Regardless of the sprinkle and chill, the Erie-based Shotgun Jubilee kicked off the evening's entertainment by jamming to an audience staying dry under the cover of trees, while more adventurous hula hoopers stomped gleefully in the mud nearby. Even a man with a cane leapt to his feet to shake it all out.
A 15-year Great Blue Heron Music Festival volunteer enjoying Shotgun Jubilee's set, Sue, brought with her to the festival two newcomers, Bryan Gaines and Tracy Carnes, both from Ellicottville. Carnes commented on how amazed she was to find just how friendly the other festivalgoers were, and that the grounds themselves were worth seeing. Gaines added that he was excited to see Aqueous perform, but even more so for Schleigho's set tonight because it had been many years since he last had the chance to see the band. Sue added that for her, the most exciting thing is seeing the projects out at the Heron grounds continue to grow each year.
Shortly thereafter, festivalgoers were drawn to the psychedelic sound of SUNY Fredonia-founded Space Junk located within the covered dance tent near the main stage. During the group's 45-minute set, hi-def electronic beats permeated the air. Synthesized with the groove of the bass and energetic drums, the raucous guitar was kept company throughout the band's continuous tunes. Lights flashed to the tempo as bodies moved rhythmically, silhouetted in the darkness. A festivalgoer said, "I dig them - a lot."
Today's entertainment, which will begin at 2 p.m., will include nearly a dozen live acts, such as the festival's headliner, Marco Benevento. The other acts for the event include: Schleigho, Lazlo Hollyfeld, Jimkata, Smackdab, Funktional Flow, Aircraft, Haewa, On Beta and DJ Cutler. The acts will either be located at the Cafe In The Woods, which can be found at the end of a 1-mile trail that is illuminated by strategically placed lights, at a tent near the Great Blue Heron Music Festival main stage, or at the fire pit and drum circle in the woods.
Shotgun Jubilee’s Dominick DeCecco, lead vocalist, is shown performing at the Cafe In The Woods during the Nights Lights at the Heron Fall Music Festival.
P-J photos by Dusten Rader
The Heron is located at 2361 Waits Corners Road in Sherman. For more information, such as a schedule of acts, visit www.nightlightsfest.com.
In addition to the music festival, the grounds will be open to the public from dusk to 11 p.m. each Friday and Saturday through Oct. 5. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 7-12 years old and 6 years and under are free. For more information, or to view the full schedule of entertainment, visit heronnightlights.com.