FAIRBANKS — The seventh iteration of Clucking Blossom takes place Saturday at Birch Hill Recreation Area, and organizers promise it will be bigger and better than last year.
“Clucking Blossom is looking to take last year’s skeleton as a model and put some extra meat on it,” explained festival organizer Caleb Kuntz.
The event, which begins at noon, will feature 39 acts (including a number of poets), plus a handful of late night DJs. The music will cut across a wide spectrum of styles — folk, country, bluegrass, jamband, ska, rock, indie, hip-hop, punk and metal.
Many of the performers are familiar Fairbanks names, including New Cut Road, Panopticon, Not Enough Flannel, Thought Trade, Sweating Honey, The Good Daze, The Avery Wolves and 907Britt in one of her final performances before moving to Montana.
A few of the newcomers to Clucking Blossom are The Wayward Space Cadets, Anna Lee Company, The Jefferys, Danny and the Jampires and The Fastest Bear, among others.
Past Clucking Blossoms have featured an indoor tent, which many musicians were hesitant to play, instead preferring the outdoor stage. The tent this year is dedicated exclusively to metal, with six bands turning up the volume beginning at 5 p.m.
“The inside is going to be … jam packed with gargantuan drum sets, amps and metal,” Kuntz said. “I’m thinking it will provide a wonderful contrast to the music going on outside, which is what we really aim to do, include a little of everything and smather it together in a manic fashion.”
Though not exactly on the level of Woodstock, Kuntz is proud of the diversity of acts that perform at Clucking Blossom every year but noted the festival is frequently considered a “hippie event,” like Woodstock, which detracts from its essence.
“Many people hear ‘Hippie Festival’ and get this idea that it’s a fluffy, flowery, lovey-dovey existence that they can’t be a part of because they don’t align themselves a hippie. On the contrary, this is a festival for absolutely every one of all walks of life.”
Clucking Blossom certainly revolves around its musical lineup, but it is more about general spontaneity and the freedom to cut loose for awhile.
“People are encouraged to bring themselves and their own personalities to color the festival in whatever fashion they please,” Kuntz said. “People can bring art for the art walk (on the) day of the festival if they choose. People can start an open mic-style concert in the middle of the woods or in the field if they want; they can create a game on the spot for people to compete in. People can do whatever they want.”
There will be disc golf, kickball, water balloon fights, and maybe a scavenger hunt if everything comes together, plus events and games for children, such as face painting. Community awareness and advocacy booths will fill out the space.
The art walk is a different kind of event where artists hang their works along a meandering trail in the woods, based solely on the whim of the artist.
“Our art walk through the woods that has proven to really generate a lot of buzz over the last couple years,” Kuntz said, adding that up to a dozen artists often participate. “The response we’ve gotten so far this year seems to denote an even grander turnout by artists around town.”
Non-artists are invited to add their touch as well, Kuntz said.
As in years past, Clucking Blossom happens because of volunteer efforts, including the donation of the stages. Entrance to the festival is free.
“Why should anyone profit off what can be otherwise free?” Kuntz asked. “It’s not free because it’s cheap; it’s free because we wish to improve the community of Fairbanks at no cost to them!”
Contact features editor Glenn BurnSilver at 459-7510.