Photo Credit: Katie Martin

The Valley Reporter got a first-hand look inside the Frendly Gathering festival held at Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen on June 28-30.

On top of Mt. Ellen, surrounded by people from every corner of New England and farther, paired with the high temperatures that late June and early July often see, the sun-filled day was a blast. As individuals were finding parking spots, the multicolored license plates showed how well known and appreciated the event was.

“It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had,” said Tyler Pelletier, who traveled from Westport, MA, to help with the event. “Being a part of the team that makes the festival happen was amazing to help put it together. It was really eye-opening. Everyone who comes to Frendly is happy to be there and to be alive. It’s a huge judge-free zone; it was a wonderful week with amazing people and music. I’m definitely coming back next year.”


Music was playing all day with different artists on two different stages. There was the Burton stage by the chairlifts in a gated-off community with food trucks lined up and down the pathways. Ben & Jerry’s was there handing out free ice cream all day long too cool off the crowds as the temperatures rose.

Outside the food vendors, there was a beer tent with Cerveza Pacífico Clara, another thirst quencher for those old enough to partake. Near it was the Pacifico stage, where next to it there were other vendors selling apparel, jewelry and knickknacks. There were also flower crowns, face painting and bubbles that would drift through the air.

“At Frendly, you get a strong sense of community and a taste of Vermont’s culture through diversity,” said Molly Henne, a photographer who came for the event from South Reading, Vermont. “The fun people of all ages that show up made the event so awesome and welcoming.”

The crowds along with the tents looked like a rainbow multi-stitched blanket as it spread up the mountain on the ski runs, with happy faces and friends in its seams. At one point while walking up the mountain, a rollerblading individual, coasting down the mountain, dodging people and tents flew by.

The lineup of singers on Friday included Strange Machines, Juptr, Satsang, Smalltalker, Upstate Rubdown, Kevin Morby, White Denim, Kat Wright, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Kamasi Washington, Twiddle and Disco Phantom. Music seekers were able to get a variety of music as well as scenery throughout the day between the different styles of music, food, activities and people.