I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of place.

Place is physical, mental, emotional. “Where are you at?” can be answered with an exact physical location, a simple description, or a prolonged self-analysis. Places can be crammed with so many memories and emotions that every time we exist in a physical location it evokes a certain incomprehensible feeling. We communicate and understand art through these conceptualizations of place.

Additionally, there are people that color and contextualize our sense of place (among other things). Music and arts festivals such as the one you are reading about currently are a confluence of different people in different places in their lives. It’s important to understand that. It’s also important to accept that. Place is subjective—just like art.

Personally, I haven’t figured out what my next move is. I’m in between places. Just like most of the people you’ll find at this festival. I purposely enforced an age limit (25 and under) on our artists because I believe these ages are the busiest, yet most pivotal times in our lives. Even still, everyone involved in ROCKchester chooses to create art.

They choose to pursue subjectivity rather than concreteness.

They choose to spend a life attempting to evoke emotion from others.

They all choose art.

Rochester, for this festival and for myself, is the ultimate place—a home. As this festival’s roots have continued to grow for just over 2 years, Rochester has been sturdy soil. Our people are as supportive as they are stoic.

In our third year, we are growing out past the city limits following a two hour radius—stretching north to the Twin Cities, east beyond the Mississippi to La Crosse and Eau Claire, west across the plains to Mankato, and south to our neighboring cities and the Iowan border.

Rochester is the convergence: a central point—a home base. A place steady enough to relax your doubt and changing fast enough to peak your curiosity.  

So relax, connect, interact, and enjoy. As my mentor, Ryan Utterback (owner of Pure Rock Studios), said to me upon arriving back at the studio,

Welcome home.