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A Light in the Woods

This weekend head to Sherman for the Fall Night Lights Music Festival

After just over an hour’s drive, you enter a place that has been transformed into a living, breathing work of art. The forest is deep, lights cascade as you walk the trails, and shadows set the backdrop. As the sea of green is swept away by the vibrance of fall’s various hues, the natural beauty becomes fully enhanced. Welcome to the Fall Night Lights Music Festival.

On Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14, the festival will take place at The Heron, an organic farm located in Sherman, New York. Now in its third year, the event’s organizers are hitting their stride and bringing the complete experience. The woods have been illuminated, trails carved, and an incredible group of musicians will play two stages. The winding paths through the scenery are colorfully lit and provide sounds that heighten the senses.

Headlining the event is Marco Benevento, who brings an eclectic mix of jazz and rock, colored by experimentation and virtuosity. The talent doesn’t let up, as other top acts include the Heavy Pets, Jimkata, Aqueous, Schleigho, the Manhattan Project, Lazlo Hollyfeld, Smackdab, Funktional Flow, Universe Shark, and so many other talented bands that span multiple styles and sounds.

As a returning act, Schleigho is excited for the small festival to begin in a week. Drummer Erik Ergo says, “Independent festivals are the most important ones; we want the money to stay in the local music scene.”

This particular show has an immense importance to the band, though Ergo says, “This is a bittersweet gig for me. I just moved to the San Francisco area after 40 years in the Northeast and 20 years with Schleigho, and this is the last gig we have on the books. I’ll be seeing fans and friends and playing tunes for the last time in some cases. I really look forward to enjoying every second to the fullest.” The inspiration will be flowing through their instruments and leaving a lasting impression in the woods.

Lazlo Hollyfeld, another returning veteran band, has had their hand in not only organizing the weekend but also playing all three years. Remembering back, lead singer Scott Molloy says, “Year one was a smaller adventure, inviting friends and bands we had known and worked with for years as part of the music scene in the Western New York area.” Fast-forward to this year, and Molloy says, “The lineup has grown, the scope has grown, the vendors have grown, and the lights have grown. On-site food is a great new addition, with a fully organic menu provided directly from the Heron farm itself.”

It’s hard to imagine a better way to spend an autumn weekend in our area. The festival has been well thought out, with all aspects taken into consideration. Local band Aqueous, fresh off of their opening performance for Lotus in Buffalo, is coming back for a second time. Their manager, Josh Holtzman, has attended the festival in the past. “What’s really unique about the Night Lights festival are the lights themselves,” he says. “They do an unbelievable job at building an exhibit throughout the campgrounds and it’s truly a sight to see. I first fell in love with their work at the Botanical Gardens lights showcase and try to visit every year.”

As winter approaches, this might be your last chance to get out and enjoy nature before the harsh cold keeps us inside. As the farm sits in the middle of a picture-perfect setting, you can squeeze the last drop out of the area in its most beautiful season.

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