[ HISTORY ]
For those of you new to the festival, welcome. ProgDay is curated by a group of dedicated volunteers via committee, bringing you a grassroots festival… on the grass of Storybook Farm! Despite all the work involved for the organizers, nothing can make that effort more worthwhile than having all the people who come and enjoy the event and its unique spirit every year.
An annual festival of international progressive music, ProgDay has taken place every year since 1995, almost always falling on Labor Day weekend. For the first six years, festival founder Peter Renfro more or less ran it alone. After another artistically successful yet financially draining event in 2000, a call for volunteers was put out to the various Internet mailing lists that supported ProgDay. This call to action brought forth a number of volunteers, as well as the underwriters who would provide the capital necessary to get ProgDay back on its feet. Since then, the organization has run by consensus, with a band committee responsible for choosing the artists, and a budget committee overseeing the financials. This year has seen even more volunteers step forward, exemplifying the community spirit of the event.
After a year's worth of planning, hard work and getting to know each other, ProgDay 2001 finally came to fruition on September 1st. Despite some minor drizzle and rain in the morning, the show went on as planned at Storybook Farm. YETI, Sigmund Snopek III, the Muffins and the Flower Kings all played to an appreciative audience happy to see the sun come out mid-day. Polydactyl, Azigza, Ars Nova and Pain of Salvation rocked out on a beautiful end-of-summer Sunday. Excellent audience turnout lead to ecstatic realization that not only did the event break even, but that it was the most successful ProgDay to date.
Riding high on the success of 2001, work immediately began on the next installment of ProgDay. After a somewhat tumultuous year, including a last minute cancellation, heavy rain in North Carolina forced us inside for the weekend. Nonetheless, ProgDay 2002 finally began on Saturday, with Thieves' Kitchen, IZZ, the Muffins and Kraan all delivering stunning performances. Sunday was no different, with Avant Garden, Tempano, Djam Karet and Happy the Man all easily pleasing the crowd. Indeed, the heavy rain hardly dampened spirits, as the ProgDay spirit was more than evident indoors as well. 2002 also boasted the largest attendance in festival history, and as many voted in the post-ProgDay feedback poll, the best overall lineup the fest ever had.
The weather gods gave their blessing to the opening day of ProgDay 2003, and we were back out on the farm under a beautiful late summer sky. Krakatoa, Bubblemath, Clearlight Infinite Symphony and Samla Mammas Manna delivered what could be considered by many to be the best individual day of music ever at Storybook Farm! The rain showers that came on Sunday dampened the grass, but not the spirit of the event! Forever Einstein and Cast opened the day with the sunshine, and Wishbone Ash soldiered on through the rain. The sun came back out again for the start of Arti e Mestieri who closed the festival with a bang.
Over these last three years, ProgDay has set the stage for many a memorable performance, not only because of the incredible music that was played, but because of the historical significance of more than a few of the sets. For example, 2001 saw the first major US appearance of the Muffins after their reunion in 1998. 2002 saw an even more important trend in the first US appearances of Kraan and Tempano: two bands that formed over twenty-five years ago were finally given a chance to play for an appreciative American audience. That trend continued into 2003 with the headlining acts; both Arti e Mestieri and Samla Mammas Manna made their first trip to the states and did not disappoint!
In addition to landing bands with international clout, ProgDay prides itself on being able to provide a proving ground for new and lesser-known acts. 2001 saw break out performances from YETI, Polydactly and Azigza, while 2002 afforded the first American appearance of Thieves' Kitchen, as well as sets from such up-and-comers as IZZ and Avant Garden. 2003's rookie class included Krakatoa and Bubblemath, who both made a big splash.
As you're reading this, work has already begun on the 2005 event, which will be the 11th annual event. Keep a lookout on the website and Internet forums for the latest news. Better yet, sign up for our very own mailing list and get the news first. We hope to see you in Chapel Hill this Labor Day weekend.