Freedom. As the Fourth of July has come to pass, the air is filled with the feeling of pursuing what frees us. As I have examined this for myself, two activities continually emerge; disc golf and live music. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the two are now being paired together with increasing frequency and success. This article will focus on two such endeavors; the DGPT hiring Cory Wong as their Director Of Music and a disc golf music festival entitled Highbridge Hills Disc Golf Jamboree. For this article, I interviewed Andrew Snippen, Founder and Event Coordinator of the Highbridge Hills Disc Golf Jamboree in Northern Wisconsin. He had this to say about the combination of disc golf and live music; “I think the biggest thing that the two have in common for people is that they provide a very freeing experience. When you’re on the disc golf course, you are in nature, having fun, and hanging out with friends. What could be more freeing than that? The same is true at concerts. The music takes over, and nothing else matters as you let the music move you and reach deep in your soul.”
In a world of uncertainty, we could all use more of what leads us towards freedom, both inwardly and outwardly. Let’s take a look at what the Jamboree is all about.
This event takes place over the weekend of July 21-24 and is the perfect example of how the sport is growing into new spheres, especially musically. There have been other disc golf and musical festival endeavors, but Snippen is focusing on balancing the two as Highbridge Hills boasts five world-class courses on the festival grounds. Snippen had this to say about the balance; “My mission…was to create an event that harmoniously brought disc golf and music together. These are two of my personal favorite activities, and I knew I wasn’t alone in that.
Whenever we would travel to see a band for three nights, we would spend our days checking out local disc golf courses and then spend our nights at the concerts. Bringing this concept to a single property, perfectly set up for both, where attendees never have to leave the property. It was the ideal situation to make this dream come true.”
Musically there are nine bands lined up over three evenings of music. The lineup is good old-fashioned rock n roll meets bluegrass meets jamgrass meets folk, and everything in between. There will be three bands playing each night after disc golf endeavors come to a close. As far as disc golf, there is a different tournament each day with a bonus doubles round. These are all cash entries, and none are PDGA sanctioned. The goal is to make these approachable for casual players so that the combination of disc golf and music can be enjoyed by all.
“I wanted to give attendees the opportunity to have whatever disc golf/music experience best spoke to them. Some people like to play competitive rounds of disc golf, while others like to play casually with a group of friends. And some like both. For this reason, we offer the option to play a competitive, flex-start round each day on a different course. Over the course of the four days, we play a round on each of the five courses, with individual winners and prizes for each, and crown an overall champion out of those who had it in them to play all five. For others, they chose to play casually or set up their own unique rounds within their group of friends,” said Snippen. He went on to say this about the balance between music and disc golf; “I did not want people to have to choose between golfing and music either, so the schedule is structured so you can play disc golf all day, and the music starts in the evening but does not go all night. Three bands each night seemed like the perfect amount. I have always seen a lot of similarities between disc golf tournaments and musical festivals. The camaraderie is at the heart of both, and there is always so much love and respect and life-long friendships formed.”
Headliners for the event include Mr. Blotto, Feed The Dog, and Pine Travelers. Mr. Blotto bills itself as “Chicago’s original jam band” and was formed in 1991. They tour extensively around the Midwest region. Feed The Dog are jam-grass adventurers who formed in 2015. They also tour extensively around the Midwest. The PineTravelers have been a band for a few years and have toured from the East Coast to the Rockies and all over the Midwest. They weave folk/rock/funk together to produce a sound that is uniquely theirs. The Jamboree still has tickets available if you are interested.
DGPT Hires A “Director Of Music”
The DGPT is riding the wave of music meets disc golf as well. They recently hired Cory Wong as their Director Of Music. You may know Wong as a grammy nominated musician, the guitar player for funk group Vulfpeck, or from his numerous solo releases. What you may not know about Wong is that he is an avid disc golfer. “Disc Golf has been such a big part of my life and the way that I enjoy nature and exercise while I’ve been on tour for the last several years. I hope to see the music and disc golf community come together to enjoy these events as much as I will,” said Wong. He did a feature with JoMez where he played a round with multiple top touring pros and then took them to his studio and taught them a thing or two on the guitar. This is a highly entertaining video that I could not recommend more.
Wong was hired to curate a series of six concerts at the DGPT’s Elite Series events. The intention is to “develop more on-site activations for spectators at DGPT events.” There are still three of these concerts left this season, with Wong and his nine-piece band headlining each event following the disc golf action. The tournaments are as follows;
- Des Moines Challenge- August 19-21
- Green Mountain Championship- September 16-18
- DGPT Championship- October 13-16
Bringing It All Together
Disc golf and music have joined forces for the good of humanity. We need the good graces of nature and community via connecting experiences, given the state of the world over the last couple of years. Seek it out! These two forces of nature will fill your cup and send you back home with a lightness in your step. We know not what the future of disc golf and live music holds, but they are in good hands with Cory Wong and Andrew Snippen. I leave you with a message from Snippen, “In a time where we’re flooded with bad news and extreme separation within our communities, a weekend of disc golf and music can do wonders for a troubled mind and wounded soul.”