Nevis Muskie Days Festival continuing to grow
By Nick Longworth
“It’s like an addiction,” said Brian Skinness, the current organizer for Nevis’ Muskie Days.
Skinness (who also owns Terrapin Station in Nevis) partnered with the Chamber of Commerce that has organized the event for 64 years to organize the event for the past six years. This year’s event was Friday and Saturday, July 25-26.
Under his direction, the festival has grown in popularity and brought bands of numerous musical styles together during the annual two-day event.
Skinness likens the event coming together as being like a drug.
“The week leading up there is super highs and lows, and you get a real anxiety because you can’t predict everything that’s going to happen,” Skinness explained, “But when it starts to come together, the organization becomes like an organism and it starts working. Once you start feeling that vibe, and the pieces start falling into shape, you can just feel that energy build and then it’s like a drug.”
In total, Muskie Days this year had 34 bands grace three separate stages throughout Nevis. Multiple food trucks and vendors were present during both days, along with a beer tent.
Bruce Babler has been a “brother” (through music, in their band Terrapin Brothers) with Skinness for over a decade. He is visibly proud of what he’s watched his partner create with the festival’s overall evolution.
“I’ve kind of watched this evolution happen with Brian being the brainchild and trying to bring together a lot of different entities; not only one specific type of music, but a lot of different music like country, folk and rock so everybody can enjoy it,” said Babler, referring to himself as “only a co-captain.”
“We’ve been playing together and I’ve just been a part of the ride. I help set up stuff, but Brian and the Chamber (of Commerce) set most everything up months in advance, booking bands and setting up logistics,” Babler said, “There’s a huge tradition already here and the music has just expanded on it exponentially. It’s something for everybody.”
Skinness agrees that hopefully Muskie Days offers something that everyone can enjoy – not just for music and food – but also for the arts and crafts vendors as well as games for kids and families.
The newly painted Big Muskie Stage debuted last year. This year it received a psychedelic paint job and painted crates for two mammoth speakers.
Games, a fishing contest, a mini golf tournament, a watermelon spitting contest, horseshoes, fun run, yoga, an ice cream eating contest and giant inflatables led up to a parade Saturday night – actually two parades, one for kids and one for adults; “Cinderella” the youth musical, was performed both days.
An outdoor beer garden and street dance ended the festivities Saturday night. For the first year ever, a third stage was set up to accommodate Christian music. All three stages were crowded.
“It’s a fun gathering for people, with a lot of stuff that stimulates your ears, eyes, nose and mouth,” Skinness said.
“It’s a gathering of people doing fun stuff that they love.”
Reporter Sarah Smith contributed to this story.