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2024 Acorn Music Festival Reflections

Anne Harris playing at the 2024 Acorn Music Festival
Anne Harris

Three nights of music filled the theater and the streets as the Acorn in Three Oaks hosted their second Acorn Music Festival this past weekend.

Performers at the festival included Red Wanting Blue, Chicago Farmer & The Fieldnotes, Christina Eltrevoog and Reilly Downes, Joe Pug, Fox Crossing Stringband, Gerald Dowd, Eric O'Daly and Naomi Ashley & Jon Williams, Bowmanville, and Anne Harris.

Abbie Thomas & The Crazy Hearts playing at the 2024 Acorn Music Festival
Abbie Thomas & The Crazy Hearts

Goshen’s Abbie Thomas and the Crazy Hearts kicked off the event on Friday, playing original music and a few choice covers, emphasizing tracks from their upcoming album, “Not Gonna Lie”. From there, the pattern began, with fans enjoying larger acts on the stage inside the theater and then moving outdoors where duets and soloists performed under the tent in front of the theater. Each night brought four to six hours of live music, with fans mingling with musicians over merchandise tables in the lobby after performances. Many musicians also found their ways out into the audience before or after their shows to take in their colleagues' talents.

The range of artists varied in genre and level of influence, with local acts such as Thomas and Mike Struwin sharing space with names such as Lilly Hiatt, Bee Taylor, Chuck Prophet, and The Verve Pipe. Heartless Bastards closed the event with a stellar string of cacophonous rock songs.

Moments of magic were threaded throughout the weekend.

When an intense storm threatened the outdoor performance of musician ​​Nikki Morgan, Acorn volunteers and staff, as well as Morgan and bandmates, shifted equipment inside the building under the cover of plastic sheeting, setting up an impromptu jam just inside the outer doors. Audience members gathered in a semicircle, standing in awe as Morgan and company built a performance not only in spite of the circumstances, but leaning into the intimacy and atmosphere.

The Verve Pipe adapted similarly, reading the energy of the room partway into their performance. Bandleader Brian Vander Ark temporarily sent most of the band backstage and moved the performance to the floor of the theater, creating a magical moment for all present.

Father and daughter, Ken and Moiraey Bair, were present for most of the festival. The duo moved back and forth between stages through the weekend, the younger taking in the music both as a fan and as a fellow performer. Moiraey herself had previously performed at the Acorn during open mic events.

“Sharing these experiences is part of my responsibility as a parent,” said Ken.

Information on future Acorn events can be found at

Justin Flagel is the founder of Red Chuck Productions, where he writes, tells stories, and creates new media. Follow his work at Feedback can be directed to


Jun 20

You captured the spirit of the festival!

Jun 20
Replying to

Thank you!!

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