Smith's hittin' the road to Hoopla!
Ryan Smith's southbound for the first big outdoor music festival of the year ... see you there?
I was driving past a stretch of French Creek, checking out the big, chunky, iceberg-like formations along its snowy banks, when I first touched base with Curtis Manley of Hoopla in the Hills a few days back.
It was cold -- frigid, ridgid cold -- where I was, but a minute on the horn with that guy, and I was all warmed up inside.
"Spring has sprung" in southeastern Ohio, Manley, head of Big Events Presents, told me as he made his way out of his house that morning, on his way to the nearby festival grounds that, starting today, will host Hoopla in the Hills, the northeast region's first larger-scale outdoor music festival of the year.
And as you read this, dear bloggERy reader, that's where I'm headed -- south towards Athens, away from the snow, and into the flow of the Hoopla, a four-day, three-night, sweet, sweet festival, headlined by the likes of Papadosio, Keller Williams, EOTO and many, many more, kicking the season off just right with 72 (count 'em, 72) hours of continuous music from 60-plus acts.
Jealous? Don't worry -- you're all invited too.
Manley said organizers expect between 4,000 and 5,000 festivalgoers to attend the Hoopla, which recently made the switch to a larger venue (aptly called The Venue) in order to accomodate all comers.
Following the first Hoopla in 2013, "the feedback this year has been absolutely insane," -- in a good way -- Manley told me. "Our community is growing and growing."
And he and other organizers want everyone to become a part of it.
For a whole lot more about Hoopla in the Hills -- the full lineup, ticket info, directions and more -- just visit www.bigeventspresents.com. If you're into this kind of thing, chances are you'll find a whole lot of compelling reasons to drop any other plans for this weekend, pack up, and hit the road yourself.
Not gonna make it? Go ahead and fret, then, but don't cry too much -- I'll bring back some stories to share.
Otherwise, see you all there.