This July 5th and 6th mark the third annual Liberty Fest, a music festival that has been growing each year since its founders Tim Harer and Joe Jaser started it in 2011. The number and caliber of the bands on the lineup and the fact that the festival will be held on the Friday and Saturday following the Fourth of July could result in the biggest Liberty Fest yet.
"A lot people have off from work because of the holiday which makes Liberty Fest a great destination for the weekend," Harer said.
In organizing and promoting the festival, Jaser and Harer partner with Blaze Webb, whose Fourth of July birthday is at the heart of Liberty Fest's origin story.
"[We] usually celebrated at my parents' farm in Liberty," Harer said. "We would camp, cookout and just relax. After a couple years of this, it started to get a little bigger and that kind of spurred us on to make a production out of it."
The friends invited a few bands and set Old School Pizza up under a tent for the weekend and the first Liberty Fest was official.
This year, Harer knows they have something special.
"Our lineup is loaded with great performers and bands. It would be hard to find a better collection of music on this year's local festival scene," he said. "Plus the vibe of our festival differs from others in ... that we want everyone to come in, enjoy the music and have fun. The grounds are beautiful, peaceful and secluded and provide the perfect backdrop for the weekend."
2013's lineup includes: Sol Driven Train, Double Deuce Feat. Mark Karen of Ratdog, Papa Mali of 7 Walkers, Matt Hubbard of 7 Walkers and Willie Nelson, Bobby Vega of Zero and Sly & the Family Stone, Robb Kidd of 8 1/2 Souvenirs and Papa Mali, Royal Benson, Dr. Slothclaw, Moxie & Rebel, Treehouse, Mystery Fyre, The Captives, Willie Jack & The Northern Light, Backwoods Experiment, The Pitch Blak Brass Band, Daniel Miles & Happy Hour, Center City Villains, Tyler Spooner, Maitland, Native Maze, Duck Duck Goose, 44 Mag, Eugene Beauty, Clouds Make Sounds, Jaw Horse, Dream Catcher, PsyEntz, Mike Steppe, Keystone Ska Exchange, Sauce and Telescope Casual.
"We pride ourselves on being innovative with our band selections," Harer said, adding, "We love music, [and] what it allows us to feel and experience with each genre. Liberty Fest allows for more exposure to different types of musical experiences for our patrons."
The promoters and their friends aren't looking forward to just one band or even a select few.
"Double Deuce [has] an insane lineup of great musicians. Sol Driven Train brings great energy with their music and people in Williamsport love them," Harer said. "The Pitch Blak Brass Band is coming from New York with an extremely unique vibe, and I, personally, am excited for Mystery Frye."
Harer also attributed the success of the festival each year to a select and very dedicated group of people.
"Joe and Blaze work extremely hard all year long to make this happen. [I'm grateful to] my dad Ron for allowing us to rent the land and being cool with hundreds of people in his backyard. We have also been very lucky to have understanding friends and family that back us one-hundred percent," Harer said.
Liberty Fest will be held July 5 and 6 at the Liberty Festival Grounds, 173 Taylor Run Road in Roaring Branch. Its about 25 to 30 minutes north of Williamsport on Route 15, just outside of Liberty. Detailed directions may be found on the official Liberty Fest website: www.libertymusicfestival.com under the "About" page.
All routes will be marked on the weekend of the festival with "Liberty Fest" signs and directions. Tickets may be purchased at Old School Pizza, 12 E. Fourth St., or directly through the Liberty Fest website. Tickets are $50 for the whole weekend and include camping or $40 for Saturday only and also include camping. Pre-sale tickets for the whole weekend (bought at Old School Pizza) are $40. Old School Pizza may be found online at www.oldschool-pizza.com or reached at 326-1466. Music fans can find Liberty Fest on Facebook.