Borderland Festival to highlight music, art and community
With 32 bands, including three Grammy-award winners, on stage over two days at Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora, music stands at the center of the Borderland Festival. For founder Jenn Brazill, the music important, though not the entire point.
"I think everybody I know that works and produces festivals are super passionate about music. I think you have to be because it’s such a high-risk, stress job," Brazill says while letting out a hearty laugh that punctuates much of a recent conversation with WBFO.
"It’s not always highly profitable. It’s like you really have to be passionate about what you’re doing and you really have to love it and want to create the community and love the music. So, yeah, it’s definitely about the vibe. That’s what we try to create here.”
That atmosphere was already present as Brazill, staff members and contractors scampered around the picturesque grounds piecing together their final preparations. Tent stakes were being pounded as trucks moved about. The many questions that sought answers eventually found their destination with Brazill. From children's activities to the makeshift dressing rooms in the former farm's stable house to what seem to be hundreds of details, her touch is present everywhere.
"We have hay bales. And corn hole. And whiskey tents. We are really just trying to create this vibe that’s supper chill and super cool." Gates open at 10:30 Saturday and Sunday, with the music starting at 11. It runs all day on three different stages.
"Kids ten and under are free. So we love to create a family environment. We have a kids area. A lot of space. Tons of land as you’ll see here. There will be musical instruments over there and Hula Hoops and face painting and fun things for kids," Brazill said.
"We support a lot of different non-profits. We just gave $10,000 back to the park through our partner Tito’s Vodka, which is amazing."
Brazill grew up in East Aurora and returned after building her business acumen in the music industry and organizing events. Borderland drew 12,000 in 2019 and she believes it has helped to open the region's eyes to the jewel that is Knox Farm State Park.
After gently directing one contractor to properly dispose of his cigarette, Brazill discussed Borderland's commitment to sustainability.
"We have water stations so fans can bring in reusable water bottles and fill up water so they don’t have to spend money on bottled water. It’s free. And we also don’t sell any plastic water bottles because we really want to decrease our footprint as much as we can."
We’re working with a local composting center to make sure that they (products sold at the festival) really are compostable and then we divert about 89 percent of our waste away from the landfill. So, we either get it into composting or recycling because we have a ‘green team’ that hand sorts all of the different trash to make sure it’s going into the right place.”