Trumansburg, N.Y. — When Tony Orlow first came to GrassRoots in 1991, the Internet was in its infancy, George H.W. Bush was president and some of this year’s leading musicians were toddlers or younger.
Orlow said he has come to nearly every single festival since then.
“Music, friends and sharing,” he said with a grin.
Orlow, like thousands of other volunteers and thousands more concert-goers, has developed an attachment and commitment to the four-day music festival in Trumansburg that may sometimes seem hard to understand.
So we asked festival-goers to ask themselves what keeps them coming back.
(What keeps you coming back to GrassRoots? Weigh in below in the comments section.)
Here’s a sampling from what they said:
— GrassRoots is all about cooperation, said Jack Katz, a resident of Trumansburg and a volunteer for the lost and found station.
Throughout the day, Katz — who has been volunteering at GrassRoots for almost 15 years — said people walk up to his station where he interacts with a variety of festival-goers, helping them find their way, giving out water to children and helping individuals find their missing belongings.
“If you give someone something they lost, it’s a good feeling. They’re very happy if it’s a phone or wallet,” Katz said minutes before an attendee asked him if a missing phone was given to lost and found.
— EMT Kevin Maley has volunteered at GrassRoots for the past eight years. Last year, his parents attended the festival. This year, his whole family is in attendance.
He said throughout the festival he’s seen kids having fun, and that it is “not a bunch of drunk, rowdy college students.”
“It just seems like a really fun loving group of people,” he said.
— Steven Merwin has attended GrassRoots for almost a dozen years and says that he thinks it is a commitment for each volunteer to help the music festival run smoothly.
“They’re here out of the goodness of their hearts helping others,” he said of the “wonderful” volunteers.
As a volunteer for the healing arts station, where individuals help each other through their problems, Merwin said he is surprised by the amount of good that comes out of station.
“It amazes me the variety of healers that show up and the good that comes out of it,” he said.
While Merwin said that some are skeptical of the benefits of the station, he claims that people who participate in the healing arts leave the festival feeling “healthier and happier.”
Additionally, here’s what some festival-goers had to say about GrassRoots on Twitter: