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Chester County Press

Fifteen facets of a fantastic festival

08/06/2019 03:15PM ● By Steven Hoffman

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

Most of the activities related to the second annual Connective Festival took place over a 12-hour period on Saturday, Aug. 3, but it took a full year of planning to make the event possible. Here’s a look at 15 different facets of a fantastic festival:

Castle of Ink rules


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Castle of Ink


Castle of Ink impressed everyone who saw them perform at the Battle of the Bands competition and then on the Main Stage on Saturday afternoon. Last year’s Battle of the Bands winner, Half Past Seven, was a hometown favorite. Castle of Ink came from the other side of the state—the Pittsburgh area—to perform at the festival. Mayor Lorraine Durnan Bell said that everyone was completely blown away by the band’s musicianship and performance, earning a perfect score from the judges.


Trout Fishing in America


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Trout Fishing in America


Trout Fishing in America, which has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, attracted an enthusiastic audience to watch the Main Stage performance on Saturday afternoon. Kathy O’Connell, the host of the popular Kids Corner program, talked about the popularity of Trout Fishing in America, and the importance of the band’s music.

“I can remember the first time I heard a band called Trout Fishing in America and it changed my life,” O’Connell said.


Volunteers help make the festival possible


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Eboni, Shylene, Noah, and Barbara were four of the volunteers at the Connective Festival.


A small army of volunteers worked tirelessly to make sure that everyone had a good time at the Connective Festival. Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. executive director Brian Wenzka and Mainstreet Manager Mary Lou Baily estimated that there were between 175 and 200 volunteers helping out at the event.

“It’s amazing,” Baily said. “The Oxford community always comes out in force to help out.”

Wenzka, said that the volunteers probably donated about 1,000 hours of work to the effort. That doesn’t factor in the months of planning that the committee, also comprised of volunteers, put in.


Oxford as a destination


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Oxford Mayor Lorraine Durnan Bell is pictured with Keith Hession and Bill Lamon. Hession came in from West Minster, Maryland, while Lamon came in from Fort Myers, Florida, to see Blind Melon. The Connective Festival is making Oxford a destination for music and art.



The Connective Art & Music Festival has quickly grown into a regional event. As more people learn about all the music and art that can be enjoyed during the day, more and more people will make Oxford a destination. This year, Blind Melon served as the headliner, joining EVE6 as the only acts to headline the festival. Keith Hession and Bill Lamon came in from West Minster, Maryland and Fort Myers, Florida, respectively, to see Blind Melon perform. It’s clear that the festival is accomplishing one of the goals that organizers had: It is putting Oxford on the map as a destination point for people who love music and art.




Oxford is a diverse community and that is reflected at the Connective Festival. One of the original goals of the event is to bring people together through a celebration of music and art. Both music and art have the power to help us understand and appreciate what unites us as people. Having people connect is especially important now when so many people feel disconnected to the world around them. Bringing diverse groups of people together is always important.


…And who doesn’t love art?


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Mikaela Hall working on her entry in the Clash of the Canvases competition.


Oxford isn’t just a place for artists one day a year. The Oxford Arts Alliance has been thriving in the community for more than a decade, and that means that Oxford is a place that is educating, supporting, and promoting artists. The Oxford Arts Alliance recently opened an emerging artist gallery to feature up-and-coming artists—not necessarily students, but young adult artists who need to learn how art galleries work. The first emerging artist whose work was showcased in the new gallery was Mikaela Hall. The artwork of young people who go to the The Garage in Kennett Square was exhibited in the emerging artist gallery during its second month. Next, Tyler Allen, a graduate of Solanco, will be featured in the emerging artist gallery in September.



Graffiti as an art form


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Derrick Noel works on his work of graffiti art celebrating Oxford’s history.


Derrick Noel, a graffiti artist from the Pike Creek area of Delaware, was selected to utilize his talents to decorate one of the buildings in town. Noel said that he walked around town with one of the festival organizers and picked a good wall for the graffiti art—they decided on the WSFS building on Third Street. The resulting work includes the town’s name and a railroad sign with a railroad map, paying tribute to the fact that Oxford Borough is situated right in between Baltimore and Philadelphia, and that the town grew rapidly in its early history because the railroad went through town.


Architectural styles of Oxford


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Oxford Area Historical Association president Ken Woodward and vice president Gail Roberts stand with part of the exhibit on architectural styles in Oxford Borough.

The Oxford Area Historical Association showcased an exhibit that highlighted the architecture styles that are most common in Oxford Borough. Gail Roberts, the president of the Oxford Area Historical Association, said that the entire board played a part in preparing the exhibit. Roberts said that Abbie McGinnes helped with the research. They walked around town and took pictures of the various styles of architecture, and then researched when the buildings were built. Some of the architecture styles that can be found in Oxford, and are highlighted in the exhibit, include Colonial, Federal, Victorian, Queen Anne, Gothic Revival, and Italianate. Many of the buildings were constructed when the Victorian style was popular, but it can be difficult to distinguish between some of the different Victorian styles.

“It’s given us an appreciation for all the variety of styles in town,” Roberts said.

The Oxford Area Historical Association is looking for opportunities to put the exhibit on display for the public in the future, too.


New business debuts

Ron Hershey, the owner of the Outback Adventure Company, was excited to have a booth set up at the Connective Festival so that people could get a sneak peek at the Outback Trading Company products, as well as other merchandise, that the new store will offer when it opens later this year.

“It’s been a good opportunity to introduce some of the new products,” Hershey said. The new store will feature Outback Trading Company products prominently now that the company has opened a warehouse in Nottingham and closed its main retail outlet store on Third Street.

Hershey said that he hopes that the Outback Adventure Company will open in late September or October time frame.


Downtown merchants play a big role


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Randy Teel, owner of R-n-J Plaques and Engraving, was selling some of his items, including bobble heads of sports team mascots, cups, pictures, and more. Not far away, Randy Grace, the owner of the Maroon Hornet, had a special booth set up selling that store’s offerings, including comic books and games. There was also a display of miniature war gaming models that were made by some of the store’s customers. People come from as far away as Lancaster to play Warhammer and other games at the fun store. It’s important to remember that the merchants in the downtown make a big investment in the community, and a big community event is a good time to support them.


‘WXPN Welcomes’ the Connective Festival

WXPN designated the Connective Festival as a “WXPN Welcomes” event for 2019. The radio station promoted the festival in the months leading up the event, and also had a booth set up at the festival.


Gratitude for police officers, firefighters, and EMTs

While everyone was having a good time at the Connective Festival, some men and women at the event were working to make sure that everyone remained safe and had a good time. Serving and protecting and caring for others is nothing new to members of the local police department, fire department and ambulance division. Mayor Lorraine Durnan Bell expressed her gratitude for the Oxford Police Department, Chester County Sheriff’s Department, Union Fire Company No. 1, and the EMTs for their service to the community during the festival.

Police department, fire department,



Herr Foods was the presenting sponsor of the second annual Connective Festival. Oxford Feed & Lumber sponsored the Americana Stage. The World Stage was made possible by Lincoln University. Oxford Plumbing & Heating sponsored the Main Stage. The Nature Connection was sponsored by the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art. Elk Creek Veterinary Services presented the Art Experience. The Kids Adventure was made possible by Jeff D’ Ambrosio Chevrolet. LCH and the Chester County Food Bank presented The Hangout. Penn Medicine, Family Promise of Southern Chester County, and Armstrong also were important sponsors, as were other local and regional businesses in the area.

The festival would not be possible without those sponsorships.

“There’s a reason that the whole day of events is just $10,” said Brian Wenzka, the executive director of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. “That’s the generosity of our sponsors. They are excited to support the community that supports them.”


Oxford Arts Alliance and Oxford Mainstreet, Inc.

The Oxford Arts Alliance and Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. collaborate on planning a lot of the Connective Festival activities. That collaboration brought something new to the community—an event that brings the community together for a celebration of music and art.

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email editor @ chestercounty .com.

SLUG: Connective Festival facets

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