Earth Day Jam changing sites, becoming three-day event

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 6, 2015

By Mark Wineka

SALISBURY — Change is good, and the 4th Annual Natty Greene’s Earth Day Jam will have a couple of big changes this spring.

First, there’s a new location. This year’s Earth Day Jam will take place on Susan Cloninger’s 16-acre Dawn Before Dark Farm at 2100 Seventh St. Extension, just outside of Spencer.

Second, Earth Day Jam will actually cover three days, April 17-19.

There will be a Friday night of music from 5-11:30 p.m. April 17.

What everybody has come to look forward to as the actual Earth Day Jam will go from 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. April 18, a Saturday.

Then a “Sunday Morning Acoustic Coffeehouse” will follow from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 19.

There are several different ticket packages available, covering one day or all three days, including less expensive early-bird tickets through March 31. People are being encouraged to visit the  event’s website at for information and to order tickets in advance.

The website also has information for vendors and educators and the different levels of sponsorship available. The event is a major fundraiser for the LandTrust for Central North Carolina.

As it did last year, featured sponsor Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. of Greensboro will be running a special promotion a week or so prior to the festival by including a sticker on six-pack cartons of Natty Greene’s beer.

The stickers provide $10 off the general admission price for the Saturday of Earth Day Jam, when Natty Greene’s is sold exclusively.

On Friday night, beers from local brewers such as Morgan Ridge and New Sarum will be featured.

Co-founders Stacey Carter and Ashley Honbarrier have seen Earth Day Jam grow each year, In 2014, some 1,000 people attended the one-day event at Saving Grace Farm.

“We have more than stepped it up this year, considering the acts and adding on the full weekend,” Honbarrier said.

So far, some 20 bands are lined up for the three days, including several headliners such as two-time Grammy nominee Jeff Sipe Trio, The Lee Boys, Big Daddy Love and Dangermuffin.

Other bands or acts lined up include Dark Water Rising, the David Blackmon Band, Jahman Brahman, Stolen Hearts, Coddle Creek, Camel City Collective, The Goodnight Brothers, Dirty Grass Soul, Jeremy and Jessica Vess, Neil Cribbs, Abe Reid and the Spikedrivers, No. 9 Coal, Big Break, Extended Pleasures, Goof Troupe, Elephant Convoy and Life Size.

Negotiations continue with some other musicians. As with past Earth Day Jams, two stages will be set up.

The annual festival’s mission is to bring people together “to celebrate Mother Earth.” It aims to raise awareness for environmental issues and provide educational opportunities — a chance to meet experts in areas of sustainable farming, local foods, wildlife, recycling, solar energy, beekeeping, medicinal herbs, nutrition and natural healing.

The festival especially looks to showcase the wares of many local artists and craftspeople.

Last year’s festival had 40 vendors and educators. “This year we’d like to add 20 more if we can,” Nancy Gaines said.

As usual, many children’s activities and field games will be offered.

The musical offerings promise to be diversified, said Joe Morris, development director for the land trust. The Lee Boys are, for example, an African-American group, and Dark Water Rising has kinship to Native Americans.

Noting the residential areas around the Dark Before Dawn Farm, Morris said organizers plan for amplified music to end the nights of April 17 and April 18 at 11:30, though there will be one acoustic act to follow each of those evenings.

Letters to surrounding property owners went out Thursday informing them of the Earth Day Jam plans, Morris said.

This year’s festival marks the 20th anniversary of the land trust. A longtime supporter of the land trust, Cloninger has donated the use of her farm.

The land trust’s efforts, which encompass 10 counties, have conserved 24,000 acres of farms, forests, lakes and streams, natural areas, open spaces, wildlife habitat and historic places in the Piedmont.

Honbarrier and Carter said the event would not be possible without the donations of sponsors and the contributions of many individuals. The website includes the various sponsorship levels available and what benefits come with each level.

In-kind donations also are welcome. Donations can be made at, or by sending a check to the LandTrust for Central NC, 204 E. Innes St., Suite 280, Salisbury, NC 28144.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.