Eastbound Throwdown Sells Out 2021 Music Festival in Salem, NY
Photos: Frankie Cavone
After being forced to take a year off, Eastbound Throwdown returned to the Irwin Family Farm in Salem, NY over the weekend with a stellar lineup and all the same great vibes that this festival provides. This home-grown music festival started roughly 5 years ago growing in size each year. It all started when Eastbound Jesus approached the Irwin Family about building a stage on their property. As they say, “If you build it, they will come.”
This statement has never been more true either. With the combined help of the band, the Irwin Family, Guthrie Bell Productions and the staff, Eastbound Throwdown 2021 sold out with roughly 1,100 tickets sold. It takes more than a lineup to put together a great festival and these folks knew that. First off, lets talk about the land. The main stage sits at the bottom of the hill creating a natural amphitheater where you sit back and relax or get right to the front of the stage and dance your feet off. At the top of the hill lies a variety of food and craft vendors. General admission camping is spacious and clean sitting in the valley on the other side of the hill. For festival veterans, there was also an option for RV camping.
The music was spread out over the two days ending roughly around 1am each night. The lineup was handpicked by band and staff featuring new and returning acts. Friday kicked off with The Laura Leigh Band, The North and South Dakotas, Saints & Liars and a headlining set from Eastbound Jesus. No Eastbound Jesus set can officially start unless it has a nice big howl and intro from Greg Bell. This was the first show Eastbound Jesus played with their new guitarist Andrew Lynch. It was apparent there was a lot of practice put in prior to the festival because not only was the band on fire, Lynch was in the pocket the whole time adding a nice touch to already great music.
This leaves me to my next point, Eastbound Jesus has a stronger following now more than ever. From the outside looking, it was incredible to see their fans screaming along the lyrics to every song. The band was having fun, the crowd was eating it up, what else could you ask for? Simply just “Dark Star” everything.
What made this set one of the most refreshing stand-out sets I’ve seen the whole year was that the band kicked off the show with the beginning of Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star” and segued back into it after each song. It was a magical moment leaving deadheads with their jaws dropped. Paying homage to the man himself, the group encored with “Grapplin’ Greg,” a song about Bell. Late night featured North country legends, Lucid keeping the party going the rest of the night.
Day 2 of the festival kicked off with a campground acoustic set from Country Push. The main stage featured Dan Johnson, The Saratoga Strings Band, The Dirty Grass Players, Mikaela Davis and Southern Star, Driftwood, Eastbound Jesus and The Blind Owl Band. There was even a hidden set from Throwdown regular, Turf N’ Turf!
All in all, Eastbound Throwdown reached new heights with this year’s festival with plenty of room to grow. The fact that this festival sold out right after the COVID pandemic says enough. Cheers to the staff, band and Irwin Family for continuing the tradition for another year. Check out our photo gallery from Easbound Throwdown 2021 below: