Allison Carey is the brains behind what is becoming the go-to music festival for East Coast reggae fans. Irie Vibes Music Festival is coming back for its fourth year with a line-up that is as impressive as it is eclectic. This week, we had the pleasure of getting up with Allison and listening to what she has to say to both new and veteran "irie vibers."
The Kaya: What was your inspiration for starting Irie Vibes?
Allison: The inspiration for Irie Vibes Music Festival came about while Sun-Dried Vibes and several fans at Camp Reggae, in Turtletown, TN, discussed how we needed more ways to get the music of all the amazing reggae rock bands, from the Southeast and beyond, to the people. Sun-Dried Vibes is the host band for Irie Vibes, so [lead singer] Zach Fowler and I worked together with friends and bands to make it happen. Every year since has evolved and changed into something new and we are always so excited with the response. This style of music is inspiring and uplifting to so many people and the outlets for reggae/rock in certain areas of the country is limited. Luckily, this has changed significantly over the past several years in the Carolinas, in large part due to the great bands we have here and their motivation to spread a positive message. Irie Vibes is just one small part of that movement.
The Kaya: What can people who haven't been to Irie Vibes expect? What should they know about it?
Allison: This year is going to be amazing! We have several dedicated coordinators and a large number of volunteers to help make this year the best yet. We will continue to provide attendees with extremely talented bands on two stages and no overlapping set times. Camping is included with the purchase of a $60 weekend pass. It's a kid-friendly event and children 12 and under get in free. We will have activities for them from 10am-6pm. We will have food and beverages available for sale in the stage areas, but people may bring their own food and beverages to have at their campsites. We do not allow glass containers, so anything that comes in glass bottles must be transferred into another type of container. It is also important to note that we do not allow dogs, with the exception of service animals, of course. We highly suggest hammocks and tarps this year. It's a rain or shine event and there are plenty of perfect trees for hammocks! We have camping areas available for families and those planning to be out into the early morning.
The Kaya: Why Long Creek, South Carolina this year?
Allison: Chattooga River Resort and Campground is nothing short of magical. There are lots of trees for shade and a beautiful creek that runs through the property. Campsites are all along the creek and there are amenities onsite that we have never been able to offer before. Shower and bathhouse access will be provided to attendees during limited hours throughout the weekend. There are also several awnings and fire pits in campsites to serve as community areas during the event. We always ask everyone to do what they can to keep the property beautiful. It is important that we keep the earth in mind when we have large gatherings like this. We will have recycling and composting again this year.
The Kaya: Is it part of the tradition to have the event move every year? And if, so why?
Allison: Our reasons for moving the grounds of the festival have changed every year for the past four years. All of the locations have been wonderful so far, but moving has allowed every year to be a new and exciting environment for everyone and allowed us pick up new fans. With our team in place, we plan to expand the number and size of events that we participate in, but we do plan to keep Irie Vibes at one location.
The Kaya: How would you compare this year's line-up to past years?
Allison: This year's lineup features several staple Irie Vibes bands and lots of newcomers that we are extremely excited to have! We are always happy to grow our reggae family and I am more than pleased with the bands that have come to Irie Vibes in the past and with those that will be here this year! It's an amazing experience to work with these bands because they aren't just talented musicians, they're some of the best people I've had the pleasure of meeting. Their love for their fans, dedication to pursue their dreams, and ultimate goal of making this world a better place through the music they share is inspiring and we are so glad to showcase some of them on our stages every year!
The Kaya: How has your outlook of Irie Vibes changed in the past 4 years of the event?
Allison: My outlook on Irie Vibes has changed in so many ways over the past four years. It's a fully grassroots music festival. None of us are paid employees, at this point. We do it all out of love. Our business model has changed slightly, but we always try to work with other local, like-minded businesses in whatever way we can. We have some awesome sponsors this year including Earthship AZ, Infamous Ink, Resound Media Group, Tiger Print Shop, and The Kaya Magazine, of course. Pepperland Music Camp is our nonprofit partner and Love Hope Strength Foundation will be on the grounds, as well! As I mentioned before, we do plan to expand. We have a business and recently started making steps toward establishing ourselves as a nonprofit to allow us to not only hold events, but to also give back to the community. Over the years, we have learned so much and have gotten to a point where I believe we can accomplish all of our goals. It's really exciting!
The Kaya: Whats your favorite part about Irie Vibes?
Allison: My favorite thing about Irie Vibes... That is a tough one for me. There are so many things that I love about it. Walking through the festival and seeing people smile, seeing the bands collaborate on stage, having so many people willing to help one another, and people truly loving one another. People get an opportunity to see old friends and meet new family. As one of the coordinators, my family has grown exponentially over the years and this one will be no different!
The Kaya: Is there anything we didn't cover that everyone should know?
Allison: I suggest getting your tickets now and getting to the grounds as early as possible on Friday. We are very close to selling out this year, but we will have about 150 tickets available at the gate. Gates open at 12pm Friday afternoon and although there are a lot of really amazing campsites, they are filled on a first come, first served basis. Unfortunately, we don't have any RV sites left. Any additional information can be found at our website: irievibesfest.com or by following us on social media sites. I can't wait to see everyone! It's going to be an epic weekend!
Thanks, Allison, for giving us the lowdown on what to expect at Irie Vibes this year! We're extremely excited to be apart of this experience and festival. Don't forget to stop by The Kaya booth to say "hello" to your favorite artists!