Late last month The Mantras announced on Facebook that their beloved annual music festival, Mantrabash, will not be taking place this year. The post read that “Due to circumstances well beyond our control, Mantrabash will be taking this year off. Look for us back, better than ever, in 2017… We love you all!”. It was a disheartening blow for many fans who have come to cherish the groovy party that has graced the mountains of Ferguson, North Carolina for the past four years.
The Bash has certainly been a labor of love by the band itself. Along with a handful of core group members and minimal volunteer staff, The Mantras take on all of the logistical, production, and infinite nitty-gritty details that come with putting on a festival. When they are not playing one of their four sets of the weekend, The Mantras can usually be seen down in the trenches, zipping around on ATVs, talking into Walkie Talkies, or otherwise frantically taking care of business in the midst of the chaos that comes with putting on such an event. Before guests arrive and long after they leave, the band hustles to set up, break down, and take out heaps of materials that make up Mantrabash. Last year saw all of this work taking place in 72+ hours of rain, which barely ceased the entire festival. The inexplicable weather was enough that the on-site river (and beloved Bash feature) spilled her banks and flooded the field the day after the festival, chasing away the remaining clean up crew (mostly consisting of the band at this point) just as they finished up.
The atmosphere at Mantrabash generally reflects both the dedication and hard work put into the event, as well as the humor and infectious positivity embodied by The Mantras. The mood may run the gambit from silly, to reverent, to RAWKous, as memorable moments like jean shorts contests, giant yard games, and an actual wedding add an endearing charm to the amazing collection of talent which is always assembled. Production and artwork are ever on point, but it’s the music that is the biggest draw for most attendees. With previous acts including ringers like Particle, Eoto, Ozric Tentacles, and Bernie Worrell, it is easy to see why.
But don’t fear! If lack-of-bash blues has you down, there are a few notable consolations that might perk you up. First off, The Mantras will once again be in all out tour-mode this summer, with a schedule jam-packed with other great festivals worth checking out, big and small, and all over the East Coast. The band also has a new album in the works, and although its name, release date, and most other aspects are shrouded in mystery, it is anticipated to drop sometime this spring or summer. Being the first album to feature the current line-up, it’s sure to be something special.
And if there’s still a Bash-shaped hole in your heart, talk of a “Minibash” has surfaced amongst The Mantras community, formed by a few Mantra-faithful. Exciting details in the making. For now, reminisce with our gallery from this year’s Mantrabash below.