STARKS – A few hundred laid-back people of all ages and some jammin’ jazz, funk, reggae and rock ‘n’ roll bands kept the rain gods at bay through midday Saturday during Harry’s Hoe-Down at Harry Brown’s Farm.

Sited on the downslope of Harry’s Hill, the three-day music, theater, art and pro-marijuana festival debut was a success despite Friday’s drenching downpours, according to emcee and performance artist DA Butcha of Lawrence, Mass.

“This whole weekend has been phenomenal,” he said, gyrating barefoot to the heavy rock ‘n’ roll, and the thumpin’, bluesy sound of Boston band State Your Mind.

“We’ll have a couple thousand people passing through here this weekend,” Cow Pasture Productions promoter Jonathan Leavitt of Sumner said.

Describing the festival, DA Butcha, 47, said, “It’s a combination music festival and a gathering of folks who want to legalize marijuana. A lot of people here like smoking pot.”

“It’s an experiment in temporary community,” he said.

Many, who camped overnight in dome tents after Friday night’s music ended at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, had yet to awaken by noon, DA Butcha said.

However, they were probably rudely rousted when the hard-hitting, booty-shaking, soulful hip-hop band Re-Up of Boston took the stage.

“WAKE UP! WAAKKE UP! WE ARE RE-UP,” vocalist Cliff “Spliff” Kuhn-Lloyd screamed into the microphone just after noon before the band launched into a rowdy, rhythmic beat that induced impromptu dancing among the spread-out crowd.

Campfire smoke mingled with marijuana smoke around the edges of the hill, joining the heavier and pleasantly intoxicating scent of incense and oils burning around and in some of the homemade crafts and clothing vendor booths.

Unlike previous HempStock festivals held on the site, this weekend’s event attracted more families and children. Sean Donahue of Sumner, who provided herbal medicine to those needing it in the first-aid tent, said the crowd’s average age was 27.

“I’ve never seen this many kids here, from infants up to teenagers,” said Twisted Sisters Crafts vendor Julie Gadapee of East Corinth, Vt. “It’s nice to see this, because if you want to see the next younger generation grow, you’ve got to teach them.”

As Re-Up jammed, a quartet of young women dressed in 1920s-era clothing gyrated cabaret-style to the music.

Donahue summed up the hoe-down as a “celebration of the living Earth.”

“We’re trying to create artistic free space for people to express themselves,” Brown’s daughter, Elizabeth Smedberg, said.

Corvax O’Reilly of Union was doing that in a bright green shirt, red shin-length pants, black lace-up boots and an orange lei.

“I think it’s the place to be at, because of the sort of magical unity and oneness of everybody together,” O’Reilly said.


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