Summoning The Lore Of  Eden


We first started touring outside of Burlington in 1994 it was exciting beyond belief even just to play other towns in Vermont.  They were days filled with unbelievably rich excitement and unbelievably poor housing conditions.  Bohemian bliss.

In those first days each gig was like a test, can we get someone, anyone to connect and we came out swinging.  We had some comedic “dogs” in regards to some of the venues we played and the turn out in those days was touch and go but by and large if there was someone in the audience we found them or at least some of them and they found us. As an aside, those early escapades are the topic for another blog post if not an entire book.


I can’t recall where we were when it happened but I remember the first time I had a hint of the notion that “something” was brewing.  My buddy from Boston College had arranged a gig for us at the Lizard Lounge and a couple months later we were at some other gig, a few states over (can’t remember where) and some dude came up to me and said “yeah my friend saw you guys in Boston a couple months ago”. Lightening

Strangefolk’s Garden of Eden was the brainchild of our manager Brett Fairbrother (best last name ever) He was a massive Phish fan and had been to Amy’s farm and other Phish extravaganzas and he understood the power of a gathering of this sort.  Of course, the origins of the name came from the fact that the first Eden was in Eden Vermont.  What I remember best about it was that the folks that showed up to that first Eden were had come from every corner of the northeast.  They were the brightest of personalities, the kernel of the seed we were sowing, those who had answered our call and in turn “Came to Burlington body soul and mind”. 

From that first homegrown "Sanford and Son" sunny weekend in 1996 to this day Eden lives on as the heart of an organism composed of band, songs, fans, friends, families and indelible memories.  We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Eden in the meantime here are some awesome memories and photos contributed by you the  Strangefolk community. Be Good To Each Other - See you At Eden



Reflections From Luke Smith (LPS)


For me, Strangefolk's Garden of Eden has always been about Home Coming and Preparation. I think of Brett Fairbrother's enthusiasm for the beautiful spot he'd secured for the first festival in Eden, Vermont; then Mad River Glen for the second, then Addison Field Days, and so on... The energy and excitement Brett put into the event was contagious. It's always been about Going Home, the long Journey Home. 


Each year, we have a "runway" that extends from far away places back "Home" to the Garden. In '96, our Journey started at High Sierra, way out in California. We trekked across country, preparing ourselves with gig after gig on the way home to Vermont.  

Over time, the venues have changed and the compositions varied. Just as our family and friends grow and evolve, so too do each of the band members. The annual return to Eden is a sacred process. We may not be touring back to Eden as a group this year, but individually, we prepare with intention to participate in the collective experience.

This year, like the past few years, I circled the weekend on my calendar and chart my practice and preparation for Coming Home. When I arrive "Home” with my bandmates, family and friends at Jay Peak during the second weekend of August, I aim to be Ready, which of course means Practice, Practice, Practice! 

I look forward to seeing you Back Home — I hope you’re getting ready too! Until then, as Dre says, be good to each other! 



A Word or 3 From Trafton & Glock


I particularly remember Eden 1999 when Gordon Stone joined us for Whatever, Speculator, and Sad. I always loved how pedal steel fit with those songs. I also fondly remember the ‘strange’ encore set we did. Another thing I've always remembered fondly was having Bread & Puppet. It felt like we created our own little world for the weekend. If I could go back in time I'd sing Madonna's Beautiful Stranger in a key I can actually sing in! - Jon



The thing I remember most about the first Eden in 1996 was looking around and thinking - wow someone actually cares about what we're doing.  I guess I kind of knew it but it was like a wake-up call. It's always been so awesome to see friends from different parts of the country, childhood friends and family all in one place.  Looking back at it now I can't imagine how Brett, Andre, Sam and Russ pulled it off all those years.  Good job fellas! - Erik




Fan2Fan 2018

Through much of the late 90s and early 2000s we had a fan message board called the Fan2Fan. It was a great way for the Strangefolk community to keep in touch.  Yes indeed, on occasion passions got heated and we came to endearingly call it the fang2fang. Today you can join the conversation in the Fans of Strangefolk Facebook Group.  The keyword here is passion and below are some words and memories from passionate Folks about Eden and days of yore.


Shawn Wood At last years Eden. I didn’t wanna go solo so I invited this guy Matt to go with me. We knew each other from high school and crossed paths once in awhile at a party etc. but never hung out in the same group. He’s a chef and is cooking up morels that he harvested himself locally near Keene NH. Awesome dinner before the 2nd night of face melting soft rock. He said that weekend was the highlight of his summer. Good times. Hazy memories. Cheers

Dwight Balaun First time i saw you guys and was completely blown away ! Plus it was only a mile from my camp ! I remember the board hitting you Reid and you took a short break but came right back like the trooper you are ! Hard to believe its been 22 years, can't wait for Jay Peak !


Keith Martin My favorite memory is probably the epic closing jam on Sat night in 2000(?) which resulted in a power failure and the sing along Lines and Circles encore.

 Chris Boulton Let's see it's either getting engaged.....or the divorce party.....Karl Vitols A car exploding in Addison! Which year was that, ‘98? Mike Popovitch Reubens Place Addison 98 - GOT TRAFTON?? Jim Ratner Morning Dew in Jay a year or 2 ago....killer!

Eddie Joyce My first fest. Had an officer ride his bike past my site while using a large glass device just purchased. I look up, see him, seeing me, seeing him. Put the device behind my chair as I exhaled. He chuckled, shook his head, and peddled away. Walked over to the concert and hear Speculator for my first time and realized I belong here. No pics, just memories. memories.

 Sarah Marie When the power went out (99 or 2000) and you guys kept playing...ending with bid you goodnight.


Marshall Perfetto The worst thing would be if the venue gets moved to top cats in Cincinnati on vine street. I think I almost died twice that night in 99. Was I awake or was I dreaming was i alive or dead how will I know?  Sarah Clark Paradis 1999 Garden of Eden..! '97 Eden <3 Incredible

Skeets Tybursky So, remember the old Strangefolk Fan2Fan Digest Mailing List. We would all chat on there about all things Strangefolk. It was also the go to source for Strangefolk News back in the day. So Tina Kelleher and Kat Antonioli super fans/Strangers Helping Strangers, etc. organized this meet up for us at the Garden of Eden 1998. It was either Tina or Kat who took this picture. I'm in the middle with the boonie hat on.Shaun Keegan is the back right there....Laura is next to me...can' remember her last name...ahhhhh it's been too :) It was special times though for sure!!! A great feeling of being connected to a special community. Pure magic.



Brandon Smith I have so few photos from back in the day, tapers right? My first Eden was MRG in 97 and it was amazing. Just remember showing up and setting our tent up on the hill behind the little SBD tent and we could see the show from there if we wanted too. Perfect weather and just a chill day. And then Luke busts out singing Go the Extra Mile! Plus Eden 2017...Mark Van Blunk and I still taping next to each other 20 years later!



Patrick Price, Jeff Mahoney and a group of us caravanned up to Eden 2000. I remember we got there and set up in like the farthest corner of the field and it started to downpour. Jeff and I were setting up our tent and the rain guard ripped so the tent was flooded. We ended up sleeping in his car with the seats reclined all weekend! Just remembered after we left MRG the next morning, it was such a nice day that we pulled over on the side of the road, scrambled down the embankment and went swimming in the Mad River. It was a perfect ending to the trip!

Patrick Price

Tina Kelleher So many memories, so many stories. I may have to come back a few times, as free time (ha!) allows. Here's one of the first that came to mind... Eden '97 at Mad River Glen. I was 21 years old and, like many early 20-somethings who're venturing out on their own, found that my world had begun to split in two. I had the friends from home that I'd known for years and had gone through all the formative high school stuff with, and I had new friends I had met through either college, Strangefolk, or both. Those 2 spheres never intersected because all of my hometown pals were still pretty much where I was in high school, as far as musical tastes go: classic rock, hard rock, punk, metal, etc. They had absolutely no use for jambands and there was no convincing them to give it a try. There was one friend, however, that I was fairly certain might be open-minded enough to. Mike was 2 years my junior -- we'd met in high school when an ex's little brother introduced us at the bus stop. For whatever reason, we clicked and became fast friends... but not the type of casual, hang out at parties kind of friends. The kind of friends where you'd get a call at 2am from a payphone because your friend just got into a fist fight with his drunk father in an attempt to keep him from going after his mother type of friends (being older, I had my driver's license and could come pick him up). I often referred to Mike as the little brother I never had. I had convinced him to come with us to he Gathering of the Vibes that year, and he must have had a decent enough time, because I managed to talk him into Eden too.

We arrived a bit later than we planned and did our best to set up camp in the dark, without a flashlight (we were laughably unprepared) on a steep slope. As we lay there in our tent, staring up at the stars -- we'd left the rainfly off -- we started reminiscing on days gone by. At one point, after a long silence, Mike said, "You know... if we hadn't met, my life would be way different now. And I actually love my life, and I can see what parts of it went the way they did because of you. You played a huge role in who I am today, and I appreciate that you gave a shit when no one else seemed to... so, thank you." I was floored. I mean, you know that being someone's friend has the potential to have that kind of impact, but it's rare that it's confirmed by that friend coming right out and saying so. That was one of the last times Mike and I ever hung out for more than an hour or two. We're still friends and keep up with each other here on FB, but it's just one of those things where one chapter closes as another opens... his life took him in one direction -- still in MA -- mine took me in another (to VT, followed by WA for the past 11 years).

Although Eden isn't in the cards for us anymore, now that we're out west, to this day, I still look at multiple-day music festivals as a rare opportunity to spend quality time with the people we love, which seems to get more difficult during the typical day-to-day with all the other demands on our time that pull us in different directions. Bill and I have brought newbies out to Phish at the Gorge every year since we've been here for that exact reason. This year, it will be my bestie here in WA, her hubby and their 13 and 15yr old kids... neither of which have ever been to a concert before.  We can't wait. )


Annabel Lukins Stelling Sorry! Here’s 3 pics - firstly I can’t believe how high quality those “lot magnet”s are! After 18 years it’s still on my fridge!  This is Justin Bologino, Alex Crothers, Jason Pinsky and Johnny Beach in the field. I think they were playing hacky sack.

Scott Mizner The year you opened with People are Strange and closed the set with it…  Jennifer Smith-Foster Bread& Puppet. Can we get a repeat? Also, Niles Rodgers and Lukes Rappers Delight…

Tennille Hervieux Eden 98. My first Eden and will always be my favorite festival no matter how many I’ve been to or will go to. The whole weekend was magical! The blood moon, the smiles everywhere and the friends I made and still have to this day. Although I think I made more friends in 99 but who is counting? Oh and the epic set list that just perfect from start to finish. Oh and when I am getting isle of ease again? Cause I truly miss that song! One night I literally lost my copilot and my tent. Couldn’t find either for anything even in the bright full moon night. After what seemed like forever we both found the tent at the same time. Slept under the stars cause it was just a perfect night and wasn’t going to be wasted in a tent. Woke up with first light to a quite magical morning with the dew glistening on the grass. I swear that show has gotten me through some pretty tough times. All I have to do is think back and take a listen and I am right back there


Strange Ranger Photo Gallery

Reid Genauer