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By Craig Braack

Estival Festival on Sugar Mountain

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Allegany County’s biggest music festival is June 17-19

By Margaret “Midge” Van Etten, Estival Festival veteran

In April of 2019, I heard a rumor about a music festival at Caneadea and I was immediately curious about it. While Caneadea is a lovely little town, known for the successful civil action against a nuclear dump, which included a stand-off on the bridge that crosses the Genesee River in Caneadea, it is not exactly the cultural capital of Allegany County. All I could think was this is going to be lame. Rinky dink.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

After meeting visionary Jeremy Lane owner of Sugar Mountain and creator of the Estival Festival, I knew I was totally wrong. His Irish charm and enthusiasm are infectious.  But he is far more than a pretty face.  He is a dreamer with courage, skills, refusal to give up, and a heart to make his dreams come true.  He also has a talented dedicated team. Jeremy bought the 80 acre former farm on East Hill Road 8 years ago.

The first Estival Festival was the best music festival I had ever been to. The second was even better and the 3rd, September 2021, was the best of all.  The amount of sweat equity he has invested in Sugar Mountain, his attention to detail, and his consideration of the people who visit, is that of a very driven, dedicated man.  He is not only building a business and a resource that will benefit our area, but a community.  A family. 

The Estival Festival is definitely legit! Where else could you enjoy 20 plus bands on 3 stages, some national recording artists, some with local ties?  Take a ride on a tethered hot air balloon? Enjoy the Slyboots Circus and learn drumming, juggling, and become part of the show? Where can your children build a Fairie house, make puppets, masks, dreamcatchers, tie-dye, eat free cotton candy, see a magic show, or get their faces painted? Shop vendors with a unique variety of offerings?  Learn to walk across burning coals? Experience morning meditation and yoga?  Watch chain saw carving demonstrations?  All in one place, and close to Wellsville and Hornell.

The hand built main stage

Keller Williams, Donna the Buffalo, Dredneks, Smilo and the Ghost, Uncle Uka and the Guise, and Ben’s Remedy are new this year.   Also, new a Saturday night fireworks display; an open mic opportunity; a kids dance party at a brand-new Grove stage from 6 to 8pm Friday and Saturday; Estival Festival Youth Showcase featuring Swords of a Joker, a band formed last fall as part of a band incubator event and have been making a local name for themselves in the Olean area.  Also new and exciting this year is a Confidence Course, to help children develop physical skills and confidence in their abilities.

Reduced presale weekend pass tickets are available until June 16th.  Day passes are available online and at the gate.  Children 12 and under are always free, youth tickets are please see the Estival Festival website for more information and details. Either would make a fabulous Father’s Day gift that would be deeply appreciated and long remembered.

The Estival Festival is an event that provides an enchanting experience for children of all ages.  It has evolved and grown, to become an extraordinary experience in an extraordinary place.  Its magic is not just the music, the activities, but a community of like-minded people who treat each other with respect and kindness.  Sugar Mountian, to me, feels like home. Attending has become our family tradition. There is no place I would rather be. Hope to see you there.

“Oh to live on Sugar Mountain

With the barkers and the colored balloons…”


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