Creating Karoondinha: Pennsylvania’s Newest Fest Aims for Adventure

Karoondinha Music & Arts arrived in a big way this week, dropping an eclectic lineup and also joining the storied ranks of music festivals with funky names.

But even with heavy hitters like John Legend, The Roots and Odesza set to play, it is never easy to stand out from the pack. So how does a brand new player like Karoondinha Music & Arts separate itself from the music fest masses to become a destination festival?

For Kaleena and Paul Rallis, the brother-and-sister promoting duo behind Hawk Eye Presents, the answer was simple.

“We aimed to make Karoondinha a destination music festival,” Kaleena says over the phone, “by picking a site that’s already a destination.”

That destination is the majestic Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park, an adventure-seeker’s paradise in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. Penn’s Cave boasts over 1500 acres of expansive meadows, open waters, and America’s only all-water cavern. With this location, Karoondinha becomes the only music festival in America offering guided cave tours, endless patches of smiling sunflowers and the opportunity to rock out with roaming bison.

The Rallis siblings are very familiar with Penn’s Cave, having worked there in their younger days. Paul Rallis says “anyone who questioned whether a festival in central Pennsylavania could work was immediately sold upon visiting the site.”

That contagious excitement is what convinced Pennsylvania natives the Roots to sign on, the first band to confirm with Karoondinha.

“[Being a new festival], it was challenging booking acts at first,” Kaleena explains, “but once the Roots showed that confidence in us, our lineup really started coming together.”

In addition to festival staples the Roots, Karoondinha also secured roots legend Mavis Staples and one of the only festival stops this summer by John Legend. X Ambassadors, ChromeoNEEDTOBREATHE, St. Lucia and Alessia Cara are among the other highlights of the initial lineup.

Major additions to Karoondinha’s lineup, including even more headliners, are expected by the end of March.

In total, over 80 acts will play across three outdoor stages and a 12,000 square foot hall. A fifth stage for pop-up shows is also in play, the location of which organizers are keeping a secret. When asked for further details on the undisclosed location, they wouldn’t cave.

Logistically, Kaleena Rallis says Karoondinha has partnered with the same consulting crew that handles community traffic relations for Bonnaroo, ensuring a smooth first-year experience for both Centre Hall citizens and festival-goers.

This may be Hawk Eye Presents’ first foray into the festival game, but their passionate and pragmatic approach to combining music and outdoor adventure makes Karoondinha one of the most unique and exciting fest experiences of the summer.

Karoondinha takes place July 21st to July 23rd, 2017 and tickets are on sale now!

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