The Valley of the Vapors returns to its normal schedule later this week when the music festival takes over Cedar Glades Park for three days.
Traditionally held in late winter or early spring, the event was forced to move to October last year. Sonny Kay, executive director of Low Key Arts, which hosts the festival, said he is looking forward to the first springtime show since 2019.
The festival will be a three-day event, March 18-20, while last year's festival was only a two-day event.
"Generally in the past, VOV was always four or five days, so we're kind of gradually inching back to where it was," Kay said.
"The last one was a little bit bittersweet because there was so much anticipation, so much buildup for it and then to have it all be over in 48 hours, it was just -- by the time we were settling in and getting to enjoy it, it was winding down," he said.
This year's festival will have "somewhere in the neighborhood" of 15 to 20 live bands performing from all over the U.S. and Canada, Kay said.
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Bands Kay highlighted include "a couple of returning bands who have performed at VOV in the past," such as Begonia, Carinae and "the biggest band ... with the longest track record and the most releases is a group from Oxford, Miss., called Bass Drum of Death."
"Gosh, it's really something for everyone," he said. "The nature of the festival, Valley of the Vapors, has always been pretty squarely built on the foundation of what some people call alternative music, what I prefer to call underground music because I think alternative is a little vague."
As the festival is being held at Cedar Glades Park, "there will be camping and hiking and all the outdoor activities that the park offers," Kay said, noting, "The location is really ideal for our purposes."
The size of the venue "could not be more dialed in and suitable, and is a nice spacious change to what we've been accustomed to for the decade and a half that the festival's been going already, but it's manageable," Kay said.
The change to the park has been a positive move, he said, noting the first festival held there last year "went great. It was an overwhelming success."
He said their goal "is to make it feel like a traditional music festival in the kind of more global sense."
Prior to the pandemic, the festival was held in the old LKA building off Park Avenue.
While Kay didn't have exact numbers of the October attendance, he said that around 300 people attended the first day and around 500 people attended the second day.
"Which is, for us, enormous. An average night at VOV, when it was here in town on Arbor Street would be around 150 people," he said. "So we're thrilled with this trend towards a bigger crowd, bigger audience and again, more of a festival atmosphere."