Where the Flock Comes To Roost: Exploring The Pigeon Nest – Domefest 2018

The days are growing longer, the trees are in full bloom, and the weather is finally getting warmer. This can mean only one thing — that music festival season is here! Music festivals come in all shapes and sizes and appeal to specific musical genres. They each have their own distinct character and personalities.

Did you attend Domefest 2018 this May in Bedford, PA or wish you had? DC Music Review would like to share with you some of the stories and sights of the 9th Annual Domefest.

Domefest is hosted each year by the band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and is attended by their fans — known as 'The Flock.' Those that attend are known as "Domies." This festival is powered by the love and steady stream of funk and jamband music.

What started out as a one-day event near the University of Maryland, has now become a 3-day camping music festival. This year Fort Royale Farm in Bedford, PA played host to 1500 "Domies" an even smaller subset of Pigeon Playing Ping Pong's fanbase.  Even before showing up to Fort Royale Farm attendees were reminded that, "there is no place like DOME!"

As the flock drove down scenic Bedford Valley Road on May 17, they passed countless small farms with picturesque grain silos and red barns. As cars turned off the road to Fort Royale Farm, they were greeted by an active henhouse brightly lettered in orange lettering greeting attendees with "WELCOME DOME."

Earlier that same morning, none other than "Scrambled Greg" Ormont walked out to the road to greet early arrivers and tell them that they would have to wait just a little while longer while final touches were being made to the wet festival grounds.

That anecdote alone set the tone for the festival — the band loves their dedicated fanbase and they wanted to roll up their sleeves and work their own festival. In fact, for the next three days, fans shared stories of casual run-ins with all members of the band as they freely walked, wandered, and golf-carted around the festival grounds.

After passing through the entrance of the farm, "Domers" were instructed to drive up a small unpaved road to forest camping. The drive up the hill was a bonding experience for all festival-goers. As the road accumulated loose mud, tires began to helplessly spin and cars got stuck in the mud.  A small crowd would run to the car declaring "We got you! We are going to get you up this hill! Now straighten out your wheel." The connection between driver and pusher quickly bonded all "Domers" and made for lasting friendships at campsites. Sometimes cars were held until enough room for a desperate acceleration up the hill could be made. Eventually, everyone made it to a campsite next to the road.

Many drivers and pushers would later greet each other with a smile, laugh, and hug, thanking one another for their help ascending the hill. It was this early struggle that genuinely helped solidify the camaraderie between Domefest 2018 attendees.

Over the next 3 days, members of DC Music Review walked the festival grounds. Taking in the view of campsites, performance stages, bridges, and brightly decorated pathways, we shared food and beverages with attendees in campsites. We shared walks down muddy paths and we shared moments in front of the campfire, warming ourselves and drying out our clothes.  

All-in-all we bring home memories that will last a lifetime. Take a photographic journey with us as we walk the grounds of Domefest. We hope our photos help you relive the festival and many special moments.

We look forward to seeing you all next year at the 10th Annual Domefest or as we affectionately are calling it - Dome-X!

Enjoy photos by our photographer Jason Herman of Jason Herman Photography.

Scrambled Greg  summed it up best


Companion Article

Companion Soundboard Recordings

Now that you have relived the sights of Domefest, please feel free to purchase a soundboard recording from Domefest to relive the sounds of the weekend.

About the author

Jason Herman

A 24x7 member and Photo Editor of DC Music Review. Jason has been a passionate about music since his earliest days and is especially passionate about the music scene around his adopted hometown, Washington DC. With over 35 Grateful Dead and 70+ Phish Shows under his belt, you can find him at concerts around the country but especially in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. Before turning his lens to music, Jason followed professional cyclists around the U.S. Domestic Circuit to the tallest mountains in Europe.