Over the weekend of September 24, 2021 I made the journey to Nelson Ledges in Garrettsville, Ohio for the 2021 Fall Badfish Music Festival for the first time. I seemed to always have a reason not to go but this year I was determined. I met up with my friend Chad in Washington, PA were I parked my truck and loaded my stuff up into the RV. Chads son Caiden and his friend Preston would also be going with us. The trip normally takes about 4 hours and the drive was pleasant until we reached construction which forced us over an hour out of the way because we were in the wrong lane and missed the exit. This irritated the hell out of us because we were trying to get there before sunset to setup camp. Chad and I got at each other a little over the failure to navigate the detour but laughed about it later as friends do. Once we eventually got to the campsite at dusk our friend Mario had already setup the day before and saved us a nice spot in the family camping area.
The campgrounds at Nelson Ledges are primitive but nice and have everything you need for a weekend camping trip and plenty of shade and services. They have family camping and if you want to party all night during music festivals you can camp deep in the woods. Once we got the RV parked, leveled, and setup we relaxed by the campfire and talked until we decided to walk around. Nelson ledges is a natural rock quarry with a beach surrounded by woods and a stage. It is utilized both for typical family camping and on some weekends for music festivals of all varieties. After walking around we headed to shakedown were the vendors were setting up for the weekends events. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back to the RV to get some rest after checking out the beach and lake but it was dark and head to see.
The next morning we got up and enjoyed the morning with conversation and the arrival of two more friends RC and Bruce of whom the later has an affinity for the drink White Claw. These two guys are always up for a music festival and bring a fun energy to the atmosphere. Mario along with some other friends headed to the stage to save a table which were made of giant wire spools. It is such a beautiful venue and the weather was warm during the day but chilly at night. During the summer people can swim, jump off the ledges, and you can even take scuba lessons to get certified. As we explored the park we all appreciated being out enjoying mother nature. I must have sat down by the lakes edge for a couple hours just soaking in the sun and atmosphere. As we walked around the park and campground I could see how easy it would be to get lost at night and heard stories of friends experiencing that same thing. The campgrounds deep in the woods are full of all kinds of interesting characters from all walks of life which I can appreciate. As we walked around I contemplated my bearings and got the lay of the land in preparation for the possibility of getting lost at night. We continued to walk around until we returned to the campsite to get ready for the music.
The first evening I looked forward to hearing Fayuca https://www.fayuca-music.com a Latin American Reggae band from Phoenix, Arizona and Badfish https://www.badfish.com a Sublime tribute band from Rhode Island. We relaxed at the campsite and talked for awhile until we heard the music start playing. W then walked up through shakedown toward the stage which was now alive with energy and people dancing. We went to the table were our friends had been sitting and listened to the music for awhile. Fayuca put on a good performance but the music seemed a little repetitive and I discovered the horns saved it. After Fayuca played I explored for awhile and by that time the woods had become a glowing techno extravaganza full of lights and bass that hit every sense with a punch. We continued deeper into the woods as the lights and music got more intense with people dancing and partying. We walked around for awhile longer following the path lit by thousands of glow sticks, seeing people we knew and visiting different campsites until we circled around the lake and returned to the concert by which time Badfish was getting ready to play.
Badfish put on an amazing performance and everyone was having a great time all in there own unique way, some dancing, some juggling fire sticks, others just enjoying the music, and some having had a little too much fun. After the show we headed back into the woods were the party continued and was even more alive with energy, lights, and music; A variety of techno dance, reggae, rock, and hip hop. At this point I lost my bearings and ended up walking around for an hour or so following the glow stick path until eventually I made my way back to our campground were we hung out around the campfire before heading to the RV to relax and get some sleep.
The next morning I woke up to music playing, ate some breakfast as we talked about the previous night and the plans for the day. Aiden, Chads son and his friend had a great time, Aiden is a talented musician and appreciates alternative rock bands like Sublime so he was excited to see Badfish. We headed out of the RV and talked with our friends at the other campsites for awhile before walking around and finally getting to eat some of the famous pizza which has a really unique crust that is rolled at the end. Nelson Ledges has a wide variety of vendors and some really good food. Some of the vendors are selling cloths, jewelry, stones, glass, musical instruments, and even a smoothie booth. I hope one day to be able to setup and sell Alpaca from our business Alpaca Trueke www.alpactruke.com once Shirley arrives in the US. So After waiting in line I finally approached the attendant who is quite a character and enjoys joking with people which is part of the experience. After being harassed in good nature I got my pizza which was delicious, it totally lived up to the expectations, and I would find myself eating 6 slices that weekend. While eating the pizza we sat at a picnic tables on the beach and I pulled up my pants and walked around in the shallows of the lake for awhile. We then walked out onto a long natural peer which gives a nice perspective of the beach and stage. After contemplating the spirituality of the universe we headed back to shakedown to check out some vendors and pick up some merchandise. After exploring a bit longer we headed back to the campsite to get ready for the final night of music and I was looking forward to hearing the Elovators and Badfish who would be playing again the second night.
At the campsite we relaxed with RC and Bruce listening to music and talking about life and telling stories, when Bruce while drinking White Claw told a story from his younger wilder days about a buddy and him driving around drinking whiskey and playing a road signs shooting game in Cameron, West Virginia when they picked up a hitchhiker whom did not realize what they were up to that night until they pulled out there pistols and continued shooting signs with him in the backseat. Having a laugh knowing Bruces good nature and after picturing the situation in our heads we headed to the stage as we heard the music start.
As we got to the stage the Elovators were getting ready to perform and we had a nice wire spool table under the pavilion. One of Chads friends who is also friends with the Elovators came to say hello with the bassist Matt who was a nice guy. The Elevators have an amazing sound and the band formed on 2014 in their hometown of Marshfield, Massachusetts, The Elovaters were formally The Cornerstone, a 7-piece reggae rock band who performed on the Boston concert scene. Everyone enjoyed the unique sound they orchestrate with a strong bass and brass section along with melodic lyrics. After the Elovators played we took a walk to the beach and got another slice of that amazing pizza before heading back to the show to see Badfish play a lot of classic sublime songs like “What I got” before closing out the festival “Badfish”.
After the music ended we walked to the beach where all of the fire and glow stick jugglers had gathered to put on a performance. The skill and precision that the fire jugglers perform is mesmorizing and everyone was in awww of the show they were putting on. We watched as they performed to the beat of the music and relaxed in the sand until we decided to make our way back out onto the natural peer. From the peer we could see from a distance the fire jugglers and slightly hear the music in the background. I looked up at the stars, thanked god for the opportunity to enjoy such an amazing event. We were the only ones on the natural peer and it was a very peaceful moment. We left the peer and headed into the woods for one last time to enjoy the spectacle before heading back to the RV to get some sleep.
The next morning Chads friend woke us up and said he had tried to get us up the previous night but we had fell asleep. They ended up walking around the fungus forest all night with the Elovators along with RC and Bruce. We regretted not waking up but none of us remembered anyone knocking on the RV and trying to wake us up. After getting a bite to eat and some coffee we walked around the ledges one last time as we watched people pack up and head out to there perspective destinations. We decided to hang out for most of the day enjoying the atmosphere before leaving. We walked back to shakedown, took one last look around at the vendors before getting one more slice of that delicious pizza and then wading by the beach while eating it.
After finishing the pizza we reminisced about the weekends events, had a few laughs, and then decided to walk around Nelson Ledges one last time before returning to the campsite to pack up to return home. When we got back the campsite Mario along with some of our other friends were getting ready to leave so we said goodbye as they headed off. We then decided to pack-up the RV and head out ourselves. It was an amazing weekend and I definitely intend on returning. If you enjoy outdoor music festivals or camping you should check out Nelsons Ledges. https://nlqp.com
2021 Fall Badfish Music Festival @ Nelson Ledges on Weighing The Heart Youtube Channel: