White Trash Bash: Can music and mud save the farm?

PHOTO PROVIDED
Theo Hubbard III shows off his White Trash Bash t-shirt next to some actual trash at the site of the upcoming mud truck and music festival.

By George V. Nostrand
Staff writer

Theo Hubbard III is unabashed by the name of his annual outdoor event.

“I was hoping you would ask that question,” Hubbard said as he stood in his family’s farm stand, The Bald Mountain Farm and Farmers Market, by the side of Cold River Road in Rutland Town.

“I get a lot of attention on behalf of the name. If it’s derogatory, it’s derogatory towards white, low-income people, who are 90 percent of my crowd here.

“There are people who don’t make a lot of money, but want to have some fun,” he said. “If that’s white trash, I’m white trash all day long. I’m here for a good time. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be considered white trash.”

The sixth annual White Trash Bash will be held at Bald Mountain Farm on June 3 and 4. The event combines mud trucking, music and good old-fashioned partying in the outdoors.

Hubbard got the idea from visiting a friend in Ohio.

“My friend said, ‘You have to check this out.’ There were 2,500 people out in the middle of a cornfield — more people than lived in the town he lived in,” Hubbard said. “There were lights, a fire, live music and so many people having a good time.”

Hubbard came back and ran the idea by his dad.

“My mom and dad were pretty fortunate with what we have here,” he said. “They were always good at entertaining people and sharing the experience we have here with people.”

Hubbard admits that, early on, he was less enthusiastic about the music, but came to realize it was crucial to the success of his event.

His longtime friend, Phil Bowen, is a musician and promoter of live music in the area. The two worked to put together the first festival, combining Hubbard’s love of mud truck events with Bowen’s love of music festivals.

“So, it’s funny, my friend who started this all with me, we had a little falling out because I thought the mud trucks were more important than the music,” Hubbard said. “And he thought the music was more important than the mud trucks.”

One year it had rained and the mud trucks weren’t so popular. But the bands played on.

“People came for the music,” Hubbard said. “They stayed for the music. The nightlife is all about the music. When the trucks get shut down at the end of the day, the bands fire up, the stage is going. We light a bonfire and people just come alive again … it’s like a whole second wave.”

“The White Trash Bash is different and unique because most other local festivals draw in a crowd made up of one kind of person,” Bowen said. “It’s not a hippie jam-band fest or a folk fest or a bluegrass festival. At the White Trash Bash, you get a little from all walks of life — hippies, rednecks, metal heads and families all get together to enjoy the nice weather and have a good time.”

Bowen also said the name White Trash Bash does not keep the festival from being diverse.

“It takes all kinds to make the world go round, and I promise you will see all kinds at the White Trash Bash.”

While the White Trash Bash is about mud trucks, music and having fun, it has the potential to play a bigger role for Hubbard and his family.

“I’m trying to find a way to prosper here, to find a way to keep the farm going,” Hubbard said.

The family owns roughly 300 acres. While there is a working farm with traditional and nontraditional animals, the Hubbards rely on the garbage business they also run to keep the taxes paid, which are over $35,000 a year. Hubbard’s goal is to get the farm back to being self-sufficient. Currently, he’s focusing on the grass-fed beef business and is going into sugaring, but it’s not enough.

“This could be my biggest thing here,” Hubbard said. “I could pay my taxes in one weekend if I do my homework right. If I did my job right as a promoter and my fans believe in me — if I can get the people here — they just want to have a good time.”

So, trash literally saved the farm once. Hubbard hopes white trash will save it again.

Listen to an audio excerpt from the interview with Hubbard at www.vermonttoday.com/whitetrashbash.

White Trash Bash

The White Trash Bash will be at Bald Mountain Farm, 1678 Cold River Road, North Clarendon, Saturday and Sunday, June 3-4. Tickets are $20 at the door and camping is free. BYOB. Bring your truck.

George Nostrand

George Nostrand is a Vermont musician, writer and calendar editor for the Rutland Reader and Rutland Herald. You might see him around as his alter-ego, the front man for George's Back Pocket.

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