It’s More Than Just a Festival – Jessica Shvarts

Your vibes attracts your tribe.

Irie times and good vibes.

Positive mind. Positive vibe. Positive life.

You attract the energy you give off.

Good Vibes Only.

…Ugh. So many clichés.

With the explosion of festivals nationwide, and even internationally, the stereotypes and generalizations are innumerable-both from event-goers and from outsiders looking in. And, in most cases, they’re not wrong. More about fashion and Instagrammable “candids,” music and experience take a back seat at many of the leading mainstream events.

However, at times, these clichés aren’t just clichés. When it comes to the reggae rock scene, there is something differentiating. So much so that I know multiple people who were “burnt out” on concerts or “sick of dealing with crowds” until they found themselves at a Passafire show, or similar. Not only does that reggae offbeat inexplicably instill feelings of positivity (what is up with that?), but there is also a unique sense of community derived from this scene. One that enables the instantaneously formation of new-and perhaps lifelong-friendships. Good vibes? Positive mind? Finding your tribe? Yeah. If the shoe fits, I guess.

And somehow there have been few places or events that bring that feeling of community to life…and they all seem to be grassroots music festivals. And Surrounded By The Sound Music and Arts Festival has been at the forefront of that list. Welcome to Long Creek, South Carolina. You probably won’t have any data coverage while you’re here, and that’s OK. The physical manifestation of the Sun-Dried Vibes and Treehouse! collaborative track “Young One,” this event was a perfect balance between showcasing the best musicians representing East Coast Reggae Rock and bringing together a group of like-minded individuals with common interests…including the aforementioned music, of course.


Photo By Mike Clare


When I randomly asked people I know who have attended to describe Surrounded By The Sound in one sentence, the answers were quite varied. Stalling and never getting back to me (I get it, words are hard), commenting on the long, dark, treacherous path between camping and music (pro tip: always bring a light when you’re camping in the woods) and sharing a memory of reassuring Zach – the mastermind behind it all – that if he screwed this whole thing up, he’s still family (that you are, good sir!) were among the responses. A good friend may have given the best response, however. And by good friend, I mean someone I met once at Surrounded By The Sound by way of living in allegedly waterproof shelters in a field within close proximity of each other. Camping is a rather weird concept, don’t you think? But, I digress.

Anyways, his response was: “Surrounded By The Sound turned out to be a collective of like-minded spirits experiencing positivity through culture.” In any other context, this description may and may not make me roll my eyes, but that pretty much sums it up. And it holds true for many of these home-grown festivals popping up all over country. See for yourself. Keep an eye on your favorite band. They may have something amazing in store for you next summer.



Photo By Mike Clare




  1. Awesome Really ENJOYED That.

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