Four years and going strong…
Imagine the dusty corners of our nation’s heartland awash in chiming guitars and ringing cymbals. Imagine the time-worn monuments of an agrarian history repurposed and heaving with spectators, young and old, engaging in a celebration of melody and rhythm and DIY determination. Imagine this and you’re on your way to the Barnstormer experience, transforming actual barns into pop-up venues for a rock ‘n’ roll revival.
Barn on The 4th 2
Says Adam Duritz - "Playing a Barnstormer 4th of July gig at the Codfish Hollow Barn was better than I ever imagined. And I imagined a lot. I watched Barnstormer tour films of other bands on Daytrotter for years and dreamed of playing one ourselves but nothing prepared me for what it was really going to be like.
Wow. Best. Night. Ever. I'm still tired."…
"I drove up to Maquoketa the night before with Foreign Fields, slept in the farmhouse, woke up early the next morning, and spent the whole day down at the Barn, ending in an unreal 7hr concert. Best night ever. Dave Godowsky, Field Report, Foreign Fields, Filligar, and Counting Crows."
Nestled between a few burning to death fields of Iowa corn, a dilapidated old farm house and down a dusty gravel road was a barn and the most unlikely place that you could have ever expected to find Counting Crows on this Independence Day. It was the 2nd Barn on the 4th event that we staged in Maquoketa, Iowa, at the now legendary Codfish Hollow barn and a sold out crowd of 600 people braved 100-plus degree temperatures to witness what has to be the most epic concert that one of America's most lasting and appreciated contemporary rock and roll bands has ever played. It lasted three hours - with one 5-minute break before an encore - after which Duritz asked a crew member what time it was. Upon hearing that it was just after 1 am on July 5th, he collapsed into the country green on the backside of the barn, gleefully saying, "Three hours," with a big smile on his face.
See Barn on The 4th 2
Our final Barnstormer tour of 2011 got ambitious. We took it out of the Midwest for the first time and began the run of 8 dates on the east coast. Little did we know that Hurricane Irene wanted to pay a visit. The tour was originally supposed to be nine days, but Irene hit the area we were going right at the worst possible time. We played the first show in Maine, just across the New Hampshire… border to a receptive crowd, though the night was full of oddities that we couldn’t wait to never think about or have to deal with again. We performed in a Dance Hall there after some last minute shuffling. Doug Paisley, We Are Augustines, Deer Tick and Guards all performed, but the night was soured with strange power outages and menacing cops that caused a shut down of the show before White Rabbits could play. We were all steamed and this was the day that we got the call that our show the following night at the Brooklyn Bowl was canceled because that part of the city was located in a mandatory evacuation zone.
We were riding low at this point, but we drove on to Burlington, Vermont, on a beautiful day. We slept there and awoke in the morning to Irene ripping the city and -- we would learn the following day-- the state a new one. In the teeth of the hurricane we had one of those shows that you couldn’t possibly dream of. It was magic. Huge crowd, beautiful barn called the Old Lantern, bending trees, unbelievable wind and rain and the bands all killing it. Paisley got trapped in New Hampshire and didn’t make the show so it was a four-band bill of White Rabbits, Guards, We Are Augustines and Deer Tick. Watch these videos for the shenanigans. It’s the only thing we can tell you. We headed to NYC for a club show at The Living Room the next night, joined by Princeton for the first time. It was the last night for Guards and We Are Augustines.
We then made the long haul to New Wilmington, PA, where Chaseland treated most of us really well. Princeton, Wildlife (after getting sorted out at the Canadian border), White Rabbits, Doug Paisley and Hacienda played before a crowd of Slippery Rock folks in a gorgeous old barn in Amish Country, with horses and buggies literally driving past while the show was happening 10-feet away. There was a beautiful outdoor pool, pool house and mansion here and we felt very welcome. The next night took the rolling tour to Akron, Ohio, which was a killer barn in the middle of a National Forest. We then got to familiar territory where we stopped in Dexter, MI, where Jack’s apples were right and the mosquitoes were hungry. It was warm night and the barn once again treated us well.
On to Monticello, Ill. where the night got crazy. We added Psychic Twin and Hundred Visions for the night and the Kalyx Center went NUTS. The springy floor got bent out of shape during Princeton and Wildlife sets and we had to partition off the center of the dance floor less someone should crack through the center. The show turned out to be amazing though and we all got sleep before the grand finale at Codfish Hollow, where we had the largest bill we’ve ever had there, adding Madi Diaz, Keegan DeWitt and Nona Marie & Her Choir. It was a wet day and wet night, with everything but the inside of the barn covered in mud. We had a dedication of some Neil Young to the patriarch of the farm, who passed away earlier in the week and the bands were tremendous to end the tour once again. These 8 days of recordings are as fine as any Barnstormer collections go. Expand
See Barnstormer 5
Our spring of 2011 Barnstormer got unlucky for three of its five days, as cold temperatures really made things tough. We saw snow and a lot of white breath the first night as we played the Free Range Film Festival Barn in Wrenshall, Minn., up near Duluth. We were in the middle of nowhere and we caught an amazingly crappy day of weather. Keegan DeWitt's van got royally stuck in the mud and yet,… the night was a pretty one with some incredible performances by Guards, DeWitt, Sondre Lerche, Hellogoodbye and The Romany Rye. We next hauled to Chicago, to play in a barn owned by the city of Streamwood. It was a great place and it was here that Hellogoodbye brought out an old chestnut that floored everyone.
We moved on to our first experience with Dexter, MI, and we weren't prepared for how wonderful it was going to be. We had the first ever pre-sale sell out of a Barnstormer show and the audience was electric. It was the last night of the tour for Hellogoodbye, who jumped up on stage and played a song with Sondre. This night couldn't have been any better. Once again, we get to Monticello, Ill., and things continued on their hot streak. We added Mike & The Moonpies, who were playing their first show ever outside the state of Texas, and ARMS, from Brooklyn. Everything that happened this night was special. The last night of the tour in Maquoketa once again exceeded expectations. It was another huge crowd of nearly 500 people and there were more moments of chilling, arm-hair-raising that you'd imagine. It was the lone show that Los Angeles band HANDS played, performing right before ARMS. Expand
Barn on the 4th
We staged this one-day Barnstormer show on 4th of July, 2010. It was the same weekend as the 80/35 Fest in Des Moines and because of contractual obligations, we had to keep quiet about our secret headliner because they were also playing that festival. So no one knew that The Walkmen were playing until they showed up. At the time, this was the… biggest crowd that we’d ever had for a Barnstormer event. Dawes, Justin Townes Earle, Jonny Corndawg, These United States and Young Man all played and we decorated Codfish Hollow with red, white and blue bunting. There was a big and short thunderstorm that struck in the middle of the show, but otherwise a great, hot day and night that forced Corndawg to shave his head.Expand
This was a very special collection of bands -- Delta Spirit and Ra Ra Riot (who traded headlining spots all week), Nathaniel Rateliff, Free Energy and Pearly Gate Music -- and the only Barnstormer tour… that kept the same lineup every night of the tour. It was filled with old friends and a couple of bands who had been buddies for a while as well.
We started the tour in West Liberty, Iowa, on a pretty perfect late spring night and then moved on to the first tour show we ever did in a legitimate venue, the always great Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee. From there we ran into a strange snag, with the venue we were supposed to be using in Wisconsin pulled out from beneath us the night before the show by local authorities who had previously granted us permission to but the show on. We moved the show to the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn, WI in the 11th hour and had a great night there -- playing Whiffle ball on the grounds pre-show. We then traveled to what became our favorite new barn in Monticello, Ill., just outside of Champaign. Definitely the best night of the tour thus far and it’s evident in the recordings that the bands were on fire. The final night in Maquoketa, IA, site of Codfish Hollow, the energy and performances were doubled from the night before, with numerous sing-a-longs and guest appearances in sets. This was the first tour that we ended here and now it’s the rule for a reason.Expand
The most telling aspect of the second Barnstormer tour was that as lucky as we got with kind summertime temperatures in July, we got blindsided by dastardly cold weather the first week… in October. Instead of what should have been prime and mild autumn conditions, Dawes, Maritime, Suckers, Christopher Denny and the Natives, Snowblink, Paleo, and Brooks Strause were greeted with frigid temperatures, some 30 degrees below normal, with highs never getting out of the low 40s. Bands played in these open-air barns wearing as much as they possibly could, drinking whiskey and hot cocoa faster than they normally would have.
We started the 6-day tour in Milwaukee, Wisc., at the Turner Hall Ballroom, the only non-barn, but the result of a kind offer from our friend Ryan Matteson of Muzzle of Bees. It was one of only two nights in warmth, though the show happened on a rainy evening. Night two saw the caravan take us to Lodi, Wisc., and the Treinen Farm Pumpkin Patch, which was a playground of fall delights, including a corn maze, pumpkin launches and plenty of goats and horses. Night three took us back to Maquoketa, Iowa, where the Biehl family had erected a stage for Barnstormer. There was an ice cream cake and crock pot after crock pot of soup and chili to eat the morning after. Then it was a short drive north to Bellevue for a return to the Mooney Hollow Saloon, where heat was had once again and the bed & breakfast was fantastic. We returned to West Liberty on the following day and ended the tour in Johnston, Iowa, with an ice storm closing out the night.Expand
The idea for this first Barnstormer tour was born in the late spring on 2009 as Local Natives were driving straight across America to begin a tour on the east coast. They stopped in for a… mid-afternoon BBQ of pork chops on the grill. The idea had been floating around and it was discussed and solidified that day. They piled back into the van and we began looking for the barns across Iowa and Wisconsin that we’d bring them, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Catfish Haven, Snowblink, Dri, Mac Lethal, Stranger Waves, Paleo and Caleb Engstrom to play over the course of five days.
The weather was ideal for late July in the Midwest, many degrees below normal, with highs in the high 70s, low 80s. We saw sunshine every day except for the final night in Coon Rapids, Iowa (about an hour northwest of Des Moines). The tour started in Maquoketa, Iowa, moved on to Bellevue, Iowa (Day 2), then a scorching hot attic party in Madison, Wisc. (Day 3 -- severely disrupted and delayed by a major bus malfunction and abandonment), then our first stop at the 1883 Secrest Octagonal Barn in West Liberty, Iowa (Day 4) and finally to Coon Rapids, Iowa (Day 5 -- with the show beginning after a potluck and an author reading). Please enjoy these moments as this is where the legend of the Barnstormer began.Expand