Our car of KHDX staffers arrived at the Nebo Jam Music Festival at noon on Saturday and, probably like many other attendees, made a few wrong turns along the way. The festival grounds are located on what used to be Ashar Farm, a plot of land at the foot of Mt. Nebo accessible only by a narrow side road. We felt a little bit intrusive turning where the sign pointed, with the resident horse peeking out of its small stable to inspect the strange visitors.
But as we drove on to the entrance gate, it became clear that Nebo Jam is supposed to feel like entering someone’s private land, like you’re welcomed into their home. We were greeted by Cody Belew (of The Voice fame), one of the festival coordinator as well as performer, along with his mother who manned the wristband table. They then summoned Cody’s niece and nephew to bring over “the shuttle,” a trailer full of hay pulled by their four-wheeler, which they drove from the front gate back to our car so I could grab my cooler (yeah, it’s BYOB) then all the way up to the stage. As a person above the age of ten, your hay ride opportunities are depressingly slim, so you must be thankful and literally hop on it when the chance arises. As you bask in sunlight and a cool autumn breeze, the ride will not disappoint. But in all seriousness: the attention and warmth Cody (and family) put into the attendee experience is remarkable.
What followed our lovely entrée was a pleasant, full day of performances. Though we were at the festival for twelve straight hours, the music never felt monotonous. The festival organizers made a clear effort for variety in the line-up, which switched from a full band or electric performance to a shorter acoustic, often solo, set every hour. We saw a diversity in genres, too, from the indie pop of Knox Hamilton to the hard-hitting blues of Zakk and Big Papa Binns.
Even walking away from the stage and back towards our car, we were welcomed again by Cody at the gate, this time a welcoming back: “See yall next year!”