A Controlled Accident Festival Review

Festival Review


Sterling Stage Kampitheater in Sterling NY has been home to countless Music Festivals throughout the years. While there is never a shortage of large music festivals to attend, Sterling was home to a smaller more intimate experience this past weekend. A controlled Accident began as a dream in the mind of Ian LaRochelle. Ian is most notably known for his brand Brutal By Design. When he isn’t creating bad ass clothing he can be found constantly supporting the local Syracuse music scene. He wanted to take his love of music and combine it with the growing local music scene and create something to give back to the people of this area.So, after many months of planning and organization, Ian had everything in order for what would become one the coolest shows this summer.

The day began with the music of Bess Greenberg, Binghampton NY based singer-songwriter. Bess eased the crowd into the day with her beautiful voice and powerful songs. Her music rang out into the woods and campers began to make their way to the stage, many including myself finding themselves new fans of her wonderful musical stylings. The mood would quickly change from tranquil to full blown dance floor chaos as Joe Driscoll took the stage next. Joe would have the crowd moving the moment he began looping his beats and spitting his rhymes. A true musical virtuoso Joe was one of my personal favorites for the day. I felt my feet already begin to start aching as his set came to a close, I knew I might have expended my days worth of energy on him but it was totally worth it, Joe Driscoll absolutely rules.

Next up to hit the Sinatra stage was Big Sexy and The Scrambled Eggs. This psychedelic funk jam band has quickly been gaining a following in Syracuse and it didn’t take long for them to show people at Sterling why. Encouraging fans to get close to the stage, lead singer Austin Rheinbolt proved to be one of the most energetic and charismatic front men of the day. In between set changes, Event MC Eric Thomas treated the festival goers to special acoustic performances around the fire. These included special guest appearances by local Syracuse musicians Ben Blujus, Destiny Raines and Elaine Dermady. This allowed for the music to transition harmoniously without a lot of standing around down time in between sets. 

The next two performances of the day I had been looking forward to since the lineup was announced. The first being Timothy J, while some would at one time simply refer to him as a “Rapper” he is more like a musical poet. Tim had taken a long hiatus from music and thankfully he decided to choose Sterling for his re emergence. He began his set doing something he had not previously done before, playing acoustic guitar while singing. While this may have been new territory musically for him, you couldn’t tell as he flowed through his set with ease, I certainly hope this won’t be the last time we see him on the Sterling Stage. 


Yes, Darling is a side project of sorts for the musical team of Ryan Montbleau and Hayley Jane. These two story tellers spent the night performing in the vein of old school Johnny and June Carter Cash. The two performed songs that covered the spectrum of relationship emotions. My personal favorite being “Stop taking it all out on me” a beautiful song and at times funny song about baggage from previous relationships.  They even covered “Let’s Duet” from the film Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story. If you ever have the opportunity to catch this unique show I highly recommend it. 


The remainder of the night was what can only be described as a party in the woods. Syracuse native sons BSG and Spring Street Family followed Yes, Darling and they rocked the crowd for the next few hours. Unless you have been living under a rock in Syracuse New York, you know when these two bands hit the stage it will be always be a great show. Primus cover band Kansas wine and Liverpool based psychedelic jam band Astro Collective  closed out the nights festivities much to the dismay of the music hungry crowd. While this initial run was  intended to be an intimate small scale show, I can definitely see future “Controlled Accidents” growing as large as any of the other great regional festivals. Ian and his dedicated crew of friends and family pulled off one of the most unique and fun shows I have personally seen all year. I think I can speak for almost everyone in attendance that this was a great day and we can only hope for many more to come. 

  • Derek Jones