The magic onstage at Pickathon (and any event) is but a fraction of the work it takes to build, host, and maintain the festival from year to year. Our People of Pickathon this week is an outstanding example of this. We’re proud to introduce you to Keith Bidwell, Crew Chief for Farm Food & Hospitality.
Sometimes starting as early as 3-4 weeks before the festival, Keith and crew mates are onsite at Pendarvis Farm preparing food for the hundreds of people helping build infrastructure- Sky Crew, Site Setup, Stage Crew, Audio, Lighting, Film, Brew Crew, Showers, Wellness, Vendors, and more. Once the festival starts, that number goes into the thousands with the addition of artists, managers, more Pickathon staff and guests!
These aren’t just iceberg lettuce salads with a tomato slice, either. Keith and the Farm Food team prepare colorful, delicious, and wholly nourishing meals to help keep everyone going into the wee hours of the morning. Salmon, pizzas, burritos, BBQ… Farmers and ranchers from all over the community lovingly contribute pounds upon pounds of fresh vegetables, dairy, and animal provisions to feed Pickathon’s hungry, busy bodies. Keith has poured a lot of heart and soul into developing these relationships so that he can, in turn, lovingly create rainbow meals from these locally-sourced, primarily organic ingredients.
We asked Keith to share a bit about his role:
“I am proud to call Pickathon my family. Seven years ago I was fortunate enough to volunteer with a friend and his wood-fired pizza oven supporting the development of a backstage hospitality crew. The following year I was given the privilege of taking over and running this operation and I am damn proud of what it has grown into today: Farm Food! Most festival goers do not get the chance to see what we do backstage. This is ok because I feel our contribution is one of many small parts in making Pickathon the magical and unique place that it is by ensuring the artists and crews are all properly nourished with local eats.
Pickathon has allowed me to grow as an artist in my own right with the food I source, the people I get to work with, and the overall creativity that Pendarvis Farm cultivates. Pickathon’s claim of sustainability is real and truly a highlight of the work I am able to do. I am proud to say that going into my 7th year I have close and personal relationships with all the local farmers, ranchers, and producers that supply Farm Food over the course of the build and throughout the festival weekend. These folks are as much rockstars as the musical rockstars and I could not do it without them and the trust Pickathon has placed in me to build these relationships.
Pickathon is a community, and I am humbled to be a part of it.”
Thank you, Keith, for feeding us in countless ways beyond the delicious, nutritious meals you and your team provide! It is a huge undertaking and one that is obviously infused with passion and truckloads of love. We all get to experience and enjoy your art, whether directly or indirectly, with the outstanding performances you help fuel!
We love and appreciate you so much, Keith, and the entire Farm Food team!